USA Men’s Water Polo Depart for 2003 FINA World League

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., June 24. THE U.S. men’s water polo team departed California today for Europe to participate in a series of World Championship warm-ups.

The men will tackle the 2003 FINA World League in Budapest, Hungary from June 27-29 before moving on to train with the Italian National Team in Spilimbergo (Italy) from June 30-July 7.

Team USA will compete in the Jobo Curtini Tournament in Croatia from July 8-10 before finally heading off to the 10th FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, which runs from July 13-27.

This year will mark the sophomore season of the FINA World League, which debuted in 2002. The league was designed to give international water polo a yearly stage where the world’s best teams could compete in a more entertaining environment. Television contracts, live halftime shows, and fan contests were a few of the benchmarks established in the league’s first year.

Russia took the top spot at the FINA World League Super Final in Greece last season, beating out Spain for the $100,000 in prize money.* Hungary took third in the league, while host Greece finished fourth.

Team USA didn’t make it out of its regular season bracket, posting a 4-8 record by season’s end against Croatia, Hungary, and eventual champion Russia. The U.S. hit its high mark in one of its last home games of the season, topping reigning Olympic gold medalist Hungary, 14-11, before a crowd of over 2,500 spectators in Northern California.

This year’s league will take on more of a tournament look, due to the busy international water polo schedule this summer. The 2003 season will be split between two venues a half a world apart this weekend (June 27-29), with four teams playing in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and four in Budapest.

Team USA will participate in the latter and more talented of the two pools (Group B) against World Cup silver medal winner and Olympic champ Hungary, World Championship bronze medallist and World Cup bronze medallist Serbia and Montenegro (formerly Yugoslavia), and a much-improved Australia squad.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, perennial power Italy, Greece, Netherlands, and host Brazil comprise the other field of four (Group A).

The first three teams from Group A will qualify for the Super Final. Given that Team USA will host this year’s Super Final from August 22-24 in New York (N.Y.), only the top two teams from Group B will advance. The league’s top six teams will then churn the water at New York’s Eisenhower Park Aquatics Complex for a shot at the six-figure first-place prize.

U.S. head coach Ratko Rudic named the roster of 15 eligible players for the 2003 FINA World League last week. Thirteen of those players will also represent the U.S. at the World Championships and Pan American Games this summer.

The U.S. team will train with Italy in Spilimbergo from June 20-July 7 and compete in the Jobo Curtini Tournament in Croatia July 8-10 before moving on to the World Championships.

* Russia and Hungary were both penalized 50% of their league winnings after FINA had determined that they fixed the outcome of their semifinal meeting at the 2002 FINA World League Super Final.

- Team USA roster and schedule-

Team USA Roster for FINA World League, Training in Italy, and Jobo Curtini Tournament
Name Position
Ht.
Wt.
Hometown Education
Club

Omar Amr
Driver
6-0
195
Fullerton, CA
UC Irvine ‘97
Newport Water Polo Foundation

Tony Azevedo ^
Driver
6-0
195
Long Beach, CA
Stanford ‘04
Long Beach Shore

Ryan Bailey ^
2M Offense
6-5
245
Long Beach, CA
UC Irvine ‘04
JUG Dubrovnik (Croatia)/NWPF

Layne Beaubien
2M Defense
6-5
205
Coronado, CA
Stanford ‘99
Olympic Club

Brandon Brooks
Goalkeeper
6-6
235
Honolulu, HI
UCLA ‘05
Los Angeles Water Polo

Larry Felix
Driver/LH
6-3
190
Anaheim, CA
Pepperdine ‘96
Los Angeles Water Polo

Peter Hudnut
2M Offense
6-5
220
Encino, CA
Stanford ‘03
Los Angeles Water Polo

Genai Kerr
Goalkeeper
6-8
220
Imperial Beach, CA
UC Irvine ‘00
Newport Water Polo Foundation

Dan Klatt
Driver/2MD
6-5
200
Fresno, CA
UC Irvine ‘01
Newport Water Polo Foundation

Brett Ormsby
Driver
6-3
190
El Cajon, CA
UCLA ‘05
Bruin Water Polo

Jeff Powers
2MO/2MD
6-6
225
San Luis Obispo, CA
UC Irvine ‘03
Newport Water Polo Foundation

Chris Segesman
Driver/2MD
6-5
210
Santa Barbara, CA
CSU Long Beach ‘02
Los Angeles Water Polo

Jesse Smith
Driver/2MD
6-4
240
Coronado, CA
Pepperdine ‘05
Malibu Water Polo

Wolf Wigo * # ^
Driver
6-3
195
New York, NY
Stanford ‘96
Ethnikos Piraeus (Greece)/NYAC

Adam Wright
Driver
6-3
200
Seal Beach, CA
UCLA ‘01
New York Athletic Club

Head Coach Ratko Rudic
Assistant Coach
Dan Leyson
Assistant Coach
Ricardo Azevedo
Video / Scout Coach
Bill Barnett (Hungary, Spain)
Manager
Barbara Kalbus
Referee
Aaron Chaney
Trainer
Dan Bailey (Hungary, Italy, Croatia)
Trainer
Ken Schroeder (Spain)
Team Doctor
Dr. Robert Jones (Spain)

Group A – Sao Paolo, Brazil Group B – Budapest, Hungary
Brazil Australia
Greece Hungary
Italy Team USA
Netherlands Serbia and Montenegro

Group A Schedule – Sao Paolo, Brazil
Date Team vs Team
June 27, 2003 Greece vs Brazil
Italy vs Netherlands
June 28, 2003 Greece vs Netherlands
Italy vs Brazil
June 29, 2003 Brazil vs Netherlands
Greece vs Italy

Group B Schedule – Budapest, Hungary
Date Team vs Team
June 27, 2003 Serbia and Montenegro vs Hungary
Australia vs Team USA
June 28, 2003 Serbia and Montenegro vs Team USA
Australia vs Hungary
June 29, 2003 Hungary vs Team USA
Serbia and Montenegro vs Australia

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Author: Archive Team

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