Former professional soccer player, Olympian, On-Camera Host, Social Media Influencer, and currently the In-Stadium Host for the New York Red Bulls. Melissa was born in West Palm Beach, Florida to Colombian parents who immigrated from Colombia to New York City forty years ago. Raised in the USA, her roots and culture make her a proud Colombian-American #latina.
Melissa joined the Colombian Women's National Team in 2008 where she represented the "tricolor" for 7 years. She represented Colombia in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, 2014 Copa America, 2014 Central American Games, and 2010 U20 Women's World Cup. She also played professionally in the Icelandic, American, and Colombian leagues. Melissa hold an undergraduate degree in International Business as well as a MBA in Marketing.
After stepping away from the professional game and national team in 2017, Melissa has fought tirelessly for better playing conditions for the Colombian Women's National Team. She is currently based out of NYC. Check her out on Instagram @melissaortiz5 !
Melissa's love for coffee was influenced by her Colombian heritage which fueled her passion to join forces with her brother, Christian, and Rasha to co-found Kickoff Coffee Co.
Former collegiate soccer player, youth soccer coach, community organizer, and human rights activist. Christian was born in West Palm Beach, Florida to Colombian parents who immigrated to New York City from Bogotá and Cali, Colombia. Christian is also a lifelong advocate of the game through football for social development, and not to mention an avid supporter of his most beloved football clubs: Independiente Santa Fe, Atlético de Madrid, and Newcastle United.
In college, Christian studied International Relations because of his passion for world cultures and international affairs. He commonly pushed his professors to include soccer as a topic in his classes and through his essays. It was also in college and through his community organizing efforts that Christian developed a deep love for coffee. Whether it was sipping on coffee during late-night study sessions or putting together community meetings around a good cause and a great pot of coffee, Christian was always excited about every coffee moment. Later working and living in Colombia further established coffee as a part of Christian's daily rituals.
Christian's life mission is to continue giving back to underprivileged communities through building bridges of friendship, dialogue, and peace among diverse cultures and communities around the world, one football match and one cup of coffee at a time.
Rasha was born in Bethlehem, Palestine and comes from a family of entrepreneurs that migrated from Palestine to Lima, Perú in the mid-1980s. It was this experience that led Rasha to begin a lifelong mission to work for other immigrant communities and human rights.
Rasha continued her journey outside of Perú, to attend college in the United States, and to graduate with honors from Butler University. After working for different NGOs in Washington, D.C., Rasha decided to obtain her Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University. Apart from being a successful entrepreneur, and human rights activist, Rasha has a big passion for world cultures, dance, and art.
Rasha's passion for soccer comes mainly from its power to unite people from around the globe, regardless of who you are or where you come from. She also values the power it has to heal and transform the lives of many refugees and immigrants by connecting the beautiful game and its people. Rasha also shares a deep love for coffee which began as a morning ritual in her family in the form of Turkish Coffee and later evolved throughout her life experiences and contact with other global communities. Rasha's life mission is to continue to contribute to immigrant and refugee communities around the world and find common threads that unite us as one race.