Let’s get this out of the way – the U.S. men’s water polo team is a collection of 13 very, very good looking American men. Not only is the men’s team vying for an Olympic medal, but they’re also vying for a spot in the heart of Americans everywhere.
The men will begin play in the Olympics on Saturday at 9:20 a.m. Before they begin, let’s all take a minute to admire just how special this team really is.
The 34-year-old captain, Tony Azevedo is playing in his fifth Olympic Games, a record for U.S. Men’s water polo players. His Olympic journey began in 1996 as a ball boy for the U.S. team in Atlanta. He’s clearly come a long way in the last 20 years.
Merrill Moses may be the oldest member of Team USA, eclipsing the youngest member by 20 years, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still important. He will be the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. squad. Moses worked in the mortgage industry after missing the cut for the 2004 Olympic team, but battled back to make the squad in 2006, and we’re all very thankful he did.
John Mann joins Team USA for his second Olympics. Even though he plays one of the most physical positions in the pool, he told The Players Tribune that he is “a teddy bear.” The Cal Bears graduate is known for being a beast in the pool, but out of it, he’s a cuddly cub.
The Rio Olympics will be Jesse Smith’s fourth as a member of Team USA, playing as one of their top and most versatile defenders. Out of the pool, Smith is a doting dad to three children with his wife and high school sweetheart Brittany.
Josh Samuels was a water polo and basketball player as well as a swimmer in high school, but thankfully for all of us he latched on as an attacker with the U.S. men’s water polo team, and will play a big role in Rio. If the water polo thing doesn’t work out, Samuels has some fall backs. He’s a self-proclaimed “excellent chef” and “world class singer/rapper.”
Alex Obert is the first in a trio of Alex’s on the men’s team. The lanky 24-year-old originally started playing water polo because he wanted a way to stay in shape for basketball season. Not only is Obert a smart water polo player, but he’s smart in the classroom, studying bioengineering at University of the Pacific.
Alex Roelse is the youngest of Team USA’s three Alex’s, but don’t let his youth fool you. He’s known worldwide, having previously played for the water polo national team in his homeland of the Netherlands. When he’s not competing with Team USA, he’s a student at UCLA, where he’s already won two national titles.
Alex Bowen was named homecoming king of his high school, and finished his college career at Stanford with 250 goals scored, third most in school history. Bowen has a sensitive side too, bringing a sketchpad with him on trips and making sure to take time to draw every day.
Bret Bonanni and Alex Bowen are very close both in and out of the pool. They were teammates at Stanford, where Bonanni broke the all-time scoring record previously held by teammate Tony Azevedo. The baby faced Bonanni enjoys surfing, and was an avid snowboarder and skateboarder, but gave them up to avoid injury.
At 6-foot-9, McQuin Baron is the tallest member of Team USA. With this being Moses’s final games, Baron looks to be the future at goalkeeper for the American team. Even though he’s a Californian, Baron’s a country boy, with Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, and Miranda Lambert among his favorite musical acts.
Luca Cupido is a second-generation water polo player. His dad was born in Italy and played University of California Berkeley, where Cupido followed in his father’s footsteps. Cupido grew up in Italy, which may explain his model good looks. He had the chance to compete on Italy’s national team, but instead chose to pursue his Olympic dreams in red, white and blue.
Thomas Dunstan and Ben Hallock
The two babies of the team, Thomas Dunstan and Ben Hallock are both just coming off of their high school graduations. Dunstan is not only the youngest player on Team USA, but also the only one not born in California. The Connecticut native moved to Santa Ana, California during his senior year of high school to follow his water polo dreams. When Hallock isn’t in the pool he enjoys endulging in mint chocolate chip ice cream while watching Duck Dynasty.