Meet Your USA Men's Olympic Water Polo Team
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Thursday, July 28, 2016
By Figge Photography, Inc.
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Meet Team USA!  Now, there's something you don’t find yourself saying every day. Last week we had the honor and privilege of photographing these awesome athletes at their Santa Ana training facility.  John Mann, a past Figge client and Corona del Mar High School Alum, asked us to make portraits of the team and each player.

According to John, “I thought it was really important to document this incredible journey with great photos for ourselves and our families. Figge Photography was the obvious choice.”

Bill and Melba Figge began photographing the University of Southern California football team in the late Sixties; and because we come from a long line of Trojans, it was natural to give back to the university with our photography.

We began photographing the Water Polo program in 2003 when our niece Erika Figge was on the team.  And we have truly enjoyed following the lives and careers of these stellar athletes ever since.  So naturally we were thrilled when John called to schedule a session. 

Top Row/L-R:  Benjamin Hallock, Alex Bowen, Jesse Smith, Alex Obert

Middle Row/L-R:  Bret Bonanni, Luca Cupido, John Mann, Merrill Moses, Tony Azevedo

Bottom Row/L-R: Thomas Dunstan, McQuin Baron, Alex Roelse, Josh Samuels

 

At the core of the team are four Olympic veterans: Tony Azevedo is the Team Captain playing in his 5th Olympic games;  Four time Olympian Jesse Smith plays Utility;  Goalkeeper Merrill Moses makes his 3rd appearance at the Olympics; and Center John Mann is a two time Olympian.

There are nine newcomers on the 2016 team: Goalkeeper McQuin Baron, Defenders Alex Obert and Alex Roelse, Center Ben Hallock, and Attackers Thomas Dunstan, Josh Samuels, Alex Bowen, Luca Cupido and Bret Bonanni. 

What an impressive roster! Let's meet some of the guys...

Tony Azevedo

Position: Attacker

Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Hometown: Long Beach, Calif. 

USA Team Captain...One of the top players in the world today...four-time Olympian...outstanding scorer!

Merrill Moses

Position: Goalkeeper

Birthplace: Harbor City, Calif.

Hometown: Newbury Park, Calif.

High School: Peninsula High School (Palos Verdes, Calif.) ‘95

College: Pepperdine '00, Public Relations 

 

One of the most exciting goalkeepers in the game today. Known for his vocal leadership in the pool as well as his game play.

John Mann

Position: Center

Birthplace: Beverly Hills, Calif.

Hometown: Newport Beach, Calif.

High School: Corona Del Mar High School (Newport Beach, Calif.) ‘03

College: University of California, Berkeley ‘08, International Relations Foreign Language

Favorite Quote: "The glory is being happy. The glory is not winning here or winning there. The glory is enjoying practicing, enjoying every day, enjoying to work hard, trying to be a better player than before." --Rafael Nadal

Luca Cupido  

Position: Attacker

Birthplace: Genova

Hometown: Santa Margherita

High School: Newport Harbor High School (Newport Beach, Calif.) ‘14

College: University of California, Berkeley

Team/Club: Newport Beach WPC 

Luca Cupido grew up in Italy and He was named MVP at the 2015 Intercontinental Tournament in Newport Beach, CA.

 Joshua Samuels

Position: Attacker

Birthplace: Newport Beach, Calif.

Hometown: Villa Park, Calif.

High School: Villa Park High School (Villa Park, Calif.) ‘09

College: University of California Los Angeles ’13, Political Science

Josh most recently competed in the Italian league for Lazio.

Bret Bonanni

Position: Attacker

Birthplace: Newport Beach, Calif.

Hometown: Huntington Beach, Calif.

High School: Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.) ‘12

College: Stanford University ’16, Science, Technology and Society 

Bret's favorite bands are; Social Distortion, Pearl Jam, Sublime, And Rebelution

McQuin Baron

Position: Goalkeeper

Birthplace: Laguna Beach, Calif.

Hometown: North Tustin, Calif.

High School: Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.) '14

College: University of Southern California '18, Business 

Favorite Quote: "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships"-Michael Jordan

Alex Obert

Position: Center

Birthplace: Yorba Linda, Calif.

Hometown: Loomis, Calif.

High School: Del Oro High School (Loomis, Calif.) '10

College: University the Pacific ‘16, Engineering 

Alex started playing water polo in high school to stay in shape for basketball season.

Alex Bowen

Birthplace: San Diego, Calif.

Hometown: Santee, Calif.

High School: Santana High School (Santee, Calif.) ‘11

College: Stanford University ’15, Product Design 

Alex plans to pursue a career in engineering.

Alex Roelse

Position: Defender

Birthplace: Gelderland

Hometown: Westwoods, Calif.

High School: Winford Stebo High School (Utrecht, Netherlands)

College: University of California Los Angeles ’18, Business Economics 

Role Model: My parents. I would only hope that one day I could be that respectable. They are able to find a great balance between work and pleasure while always providing a great life for our family.

 Thomas Dunsten

Position: Attacker (L)

Birthplace: New Cannan, Connecticut

High School: Mater Dei High School 2016

Club: Regency Water Polo Club

Will go to USC for college! Fight On!

 Benjamin Hallock

Hometown: Westlake Village, CA

High School: Harvard-Westlake High School

Benjamin has committed to Stanford University.

 

Head Coach: Dejan Udovicic

Assistant Coaches: Jack Kocur and Alex Rodriguez

Team Manager: Rick McKee

Sports Medicine Manager: Carling McMichael

 

Currently ranked sixth in the world, Team USA is coming off a silver medal performance at the FINA World League Super Final in June. The medal was their first in a major FINA competition since winning silver at the 2008 Olympic Games. The team will open Olympic pool play Aug. 6 vs. Croatia, followed by games against Spain, France, Montenegro and Italy.

We truly enjoyed our time with these guys and wish them all the best in Rio as they go for gold!

Download the Team USA app today for breaking news, the latest Olympic roster, videos and more.

GO USA!

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