He is one of the only athletes in history to compete internationally as a goalie and as a field player. Most recently he was named MVP of the 2012 US Open after he helped Newport Water Polo Foundation win the national championship. Genai has coached at every level, from age group to Division 1 college programs. Over the last 15 years he has run hundreds of camps and impacted thousands of lives.
Surprisingly, Genai got involved in water polo by accident, following the whistles to what he thought was a basketball game and ended up at the pool. He excelled at both water polo and basketball at Coronado High School and received a water polo scholarship to UC Irvine to play under Coach Ted Newland. Genai went on to become a NCAA All-American in 1998 and 1999 and was awarded Big West Conference Male Scholar Athlete of the Year his senior year.
Genai remains active in his community and has become a great role model for aspiring water polo players. He has been a US Ambassador for the USADA (U.S. Antidoping Agency) since 2003 promoting clean sports for young athletes. He was a founding faculty member of the Sage Hill School where he was the Dean of Students, taught art and physical education, and started the aquatic programs. Genai has also created several community outreach programs to help mentor children in lower income households.
A veteran collegiate and national team coach, is currently the High Performance Director for USA Water Polo. In this position Abdou oversee's the Olympic Development Program in addition to coach and referee education and development. Abdou also assists in implementing the technical vision throughout ODP and the USA Water Polo club system.
John was formerly the Associate Head Coach for men's water polo at the University of California-Santa Barbara and Director/Boy's Head Coach of the Santa Barbara Water Polo Club. Prior to his time in Isla Vista, Abdou spent five years at Bucknell University, the last two serving as Head Coach of both the men's and women's programs. Within USA Water Polo, Abdou has remained active in the National Team pipeline in his position as ODP East Region Technical Director since 2008. Since 2010 he has also been a part of the coaching staff of the Men's Senior National "B" Team.
Has been the Head Men's and Women's water polo coach at Brown University since he was hired in the summer of 2007. Mercado spent the two seasons prior to coming to Brown at the helm of the MIT men's varsity and women's club teams after one year as an assistant.
Long Beach, CA
UC Irvine 1998
Height / Weight:
6-6 / 245
Newport Water Polo Foundation
Physical presence at two meters and a key to success for Team USA.
Lead the team with thirteen goals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England... Fired in six goals at the 2012 FINA World League Super Final... Tallied eight goals en route to winning Gold and an Olympic Games berth at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico...Led the team shooting 52% and tied for team lead with 11 goals scored in a sixth place finish at the 2011 FINA World Championships...Was second on the team with seven goals during fourth place finish at FINA World League Super Final in Florence, Italy...Tallied a team high of 12 goals in a fourth place finish at the 2010 FINA World Cup... Registered ten goals in a fifth place finish at the 2010 FINA World League Super Final...Posted five goals in a fourth place finish at the 2009 FINA World Championships, his sixth World Championship, most among USA players... Earned a Silver Medal at 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China scoring seven goals and handing out one assist... One of the premier centers in the water polo world...Tallied seven goals in Silver Medal finish at the 2008 FINA World League Super Final... Scored twice in upset victory over #1 Croatia on May 31... Tied for team lead with seven goals at 2007 FINA World League Super Final... Second on team in scoring with 10 goals at 2007 Pan American Games... Tallied eight goals at 2007 FINA World Championships...Named MVP of 2006 ASUA Cup...Only American to play in final four in European League...Outstanding Offensive Player at the 2006 Premier League Championships...Key player on the U.S. offense for the 2005 FINA World Championships in Montreal, Canada... Scored in two games at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece...Scored in six games at the 2003 Pan American Games, including two in the USA's 13-7 win over Brazil for the gold medal and a spot in the Athens Olympics...Scored six goals in the last four games of the 2003 World Championships...Was named as the 2003 American Water Polo League Outstanding Offensive Player after helping Newport to the championship over New York...Finished with 15 goals in four games, including five in the tournament opener at AWPL...Was named as the USOC Water Polo Male Athlete of the Year in 2001 and 2002...Scored 12 goals in the 2002 FINA World League season from center position...Scored a season-high three goals in USA's upset over Hungary in Moraga (Calif.)...Was a co-recipient of Chuck Metz MVP in 2002...Was named as the Most Valuable Offensive Player in the debut season of the American Water Polo League (18 goals)...Scored eight goals, including the winning goal in the final seconds to beat Croatia at the 2001 World Championships...Scored three goals in his Olympic debut in the 2000 Sydney Games...Holds the team record in the bench press at 385 lbs. and has the fastest recorded shot on the team at 54 mph.
In 2007-2008 played for Partizan-Belgrade in Serbia...Played for Panionios in Greece in 2006...Played for Jadran in Split, Croatia for the 2005-2006 season... Played for Dynamo Moscow in 2004-2005...Played professionally for JUG Dubrovnik in Croatia and played in two European Championships in 2004.
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year in 1998... Four-time All-American at UC Irvine...Tallied 104 goals in his senior season at UC Irvine.
Attended Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA.
Cites Ted Newland, his former coach at UCI, as his biggest influence in water polo....Says his best moment in a game was when he scored the opening goal at the 2004 Olympics... Began playing water polo when his older brother, Joe, began playing for Wilson High School.
- 2013 UANA WORLD AQUATIC CHAMPIONSHIPS, CALGARY, CANADA, 2ND PLACE
- 2012 OLYMPICS GAMES, LONDON, ENGLAND, 8TH PLACE
- 2012 FINA WORLD LEAGUE SUPER FINAL, ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN, 4TH PLACE
- 2011 PAN AMERICAN GAMES, GUADALAJARA, MEXICO, 1ST PLACE
- 2011 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, SHANGHAI, CHINA, 6TH PLACE
- 2011 FINA WORLD LEAGUE SUPER FINAL, FLORENCE, ITALY, 4TH PLACE
- 2010 FINA WORLD CUP, ORADEA, ROMANIA, 4TH PLACE
- 2010 FINA WORLD LEAGE SUPER FINAL, NIS, SERBIA, 5TH PLACE
- 2009 FINA WORLD LEAGUE SUPER FINAL, PODGORICA, MONTENEGRO, 4TH PLACE
- 2009 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, ROME, ITALY, 4TH PLACE
- 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES, BEIJING, CHINA, 2ND PLACE
- 2008 FINA WORLD LEAGUE SUPER FINALS, GENOA, ITALY, 2ND PLACE
- 2007 FINA WORLD LEAGUE SUPER FINALS, BERLIN, GERMANY 5TH PLACE
- 2006 ASUA CUP, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL 1ST PLACE
- 2007 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, 9TH PLACE
- 2006 ASUA CUP, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL, 1ST PLACE
- 2006 FINA WORLD LEAGUE SUPER FINALS, ATHENS, GREECE, 5TH PLACE
- 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES, ATHENS, GREECE, 7TH PLACE
- 2003 FINA WORLD LEAGUE SUPER FINALS, NEW YORK, NY, 3RD PLACE
- 2003 PAN AMERICAN GAMES, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, 1ST PLACE
- 2003 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, BARCELONA, SPAIN, 6TH PLACE
- 2003 U.S. CUP, STANFORD, CA, UNITED STATES, 2ND PLACE
- 2002 FINA WORLD CUP, BELGRADE, YUGOSLAVIA, 7TH PLACE
- 2002 EIGHT-NATIONS TOURNAMENT, NICE, FRANCE, 3RD PLACE
- 2001 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, FUKUOKA, JAPAN, 7TH PLACE
- 2001 PAN AMERICAN QUALIFICATION TOURNAMENT, SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REP., 1ST PLACE
- 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 6TH PLACE
- 1999 PAN AMERICAN GAMES, WINNIPEG, CANADA, 1ST PLACE
- 1998 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, PERTH, AUSTRALIA, 7TH PLACE
FUN FACTS ABOUT RYAN
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Movie: Kung Fu Hustle
Favorite Actor: Will Smith
Favorite Actress: Jessica Alba
Favorite Color: Blue
Best Present Ever Received: A Car
Special Power: To breathe underwater, would help with water polo
Etcetera: Would play football if not for water polo... Best things about water polo are the guys on the team and the chance to travel... Got involved with the spot through his brother and followed in his footsteps... Keeps playing because of the guys on the team