USA Men’s National Team To Host Montenegro In Two-Game Set; Jesse Smith To Be Honored

Courtesy: USA Water Polo

Irvine, CA – The USA Men’s National Team will begin their final push to the Paris Olympic Games with a two-game series against Montenegro in Southern California this June followed by a three-game series against Spain in Southern and Northern California. More details on the Spain series will be released soon, but tickets for all five matches are available by clicking here.

The action against Montenegro opens on Wednesday, June 12 at the Mt. SAC Aquatics Complex in Walnut, CA with a 7pm start. From there the two teams head to La Jolla for a meeting on Friday, June 14 at UC San Diego’s Canyonview Aquatic Center. That match will also feature a retirement celebration for San Diego native and five-time Team USA Olympian Jesse Smith. Both matches will stream LIVE at with LIVE stats from 6-8 Sports at  Tickets for both matches can be purchased by clicking here.

Team USA qualified for the Paris Olympic Games following a gold medal run at the 2023 Pan American Games while Montenegro earned their spot at the 2024 World Championships held earlier this year in Doha, Qatar. These matches are also the final competition for Team USA before their Olympic roster is announced on June 18 in Los Angeles, CA.

In addition to the excitement building around the Paris Olympics, the match on June 14 offers a chance to honor a USA Water Polo legend. Only the second member of Team USA to compete in five Olympic Games, Jesse Smith made his debut in 2004 at the Athens Olympics. From there it was on to Beijing, where Smith helped Team USA return to the podium for the first time in 20 years as they won silver. Considered one of the best defenders in international water polo, Smith would cap up three more times in Olympic competition, concluding his career with Team USA following the Tokyo Olympic Games.

A three-time CIF champion at Coronado High School, he was standout in his college days with the Pepperdine Waves. Smith would go on to help Team USA to gold at five Pan American Games while also earning silver and bronze medals in FINA World League play.  A true globetrotter, Smith competed for some of the top club teams on earth venturing to Greece, Croatia, Montenegro, Italy, Turkey, Brazil and Egypt playing in the Champions League for seven years and reaching the final four twice.

“Water polo is one of the most authentic, physically demanding, and awesome sports you can play. I am incredibly grateful for the path this sport has taken me on, allowing me to compete at the highest levels around the world. It has profoundly shaped my life and character,” said Smith. He added, “Thank you to all my coaches and teammates, my family and friends, and everyone who has supported me and our teams throughout this journey. Now, let’s go Team USA!”

“Jesse is one of the all-time greats in USA Water Polo and it’s wonderful to honor him in his hometown. An excellent defender, his ability to play at the highest level for two decades is truly special. I know his passion for water polo remains strong and I look forward to seeing what he does next,” said USA Men’s National Team Head Coach Dejan Udovicic.

Following the conclusion of their series with Montenegro, Team USA will gear up for more competition later in June when they host Spain in a three-game series. More information will be available soon on those matches.

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