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...
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.