The water polo goals they used in the past were too large for young goalkeepers and proved difficult to take on the road for a recent club trip to play water polo outdoors in the Poconos – about two states away.
“We were eager to try out the portability of the Packagoals. I’m sure we will find new uses outside of our current pool environment.
“Having a portable goal that works for our younger kids in particular is beneficial – there’s no question.”
Brooklyn Hustle has a “fantastic” 12-year-old goalkeeper in Julian Gurshumov, who was selected for a USA Water Polo national camp in California. The new goals are part of the club’s efforts to give him the best possible chance of success, Michael says.
“Our head coach, Irakli, said we need to have the right equipment to train the kids to do the right thing… this [Junior Water Polo Packagoal] is the right size goal for a young goalkeeper to learn in.”
Irakli Sanadze, an international water polo player and referee from Georgia, Eastern Europe, coaches the Brooklyn Hustle team and helps promote the club and sport by using his experience as a former head of television.
Word of mouth is key to raising the profile of a niche sport, Michael says, as well as the posting of content – such as short videos created voluntarily by parents who work in the New York film industry – on their various social media channels.
Two Brooklyn Hustle players – Aaron Gershkovich (junior at Stuyvesant High School) and Demyan Kruglov (freshman at Brooklyn Tech) – are also working to create non-profits to start water polo at their schools in New York City.
Michael believes tournaments offer one of the best opportunities to showcase what Brooklyn Hustle has to offer and to attract new players.
“We show up and show you’re committed and make it clear to parents that Brooklyn is a great brand. Wherever we go Brooklyn resonates now… parents are interested and even our opponents are curious about the team from NYC.”
Brooklyn Water Polo Club recently sent 36 boys and girls from three age groups to the 19th South Florida International Water Polo Tournament, competing against top teams from across the Americas. There they partnered up with the Barbados team when in need of extra players.
The Hustle is on a mission to not only win games and beat local rivals, but to “carry the ball” – in terms of retaining and recruiting more players and making the sport more diverse and accessible in one of the world’s most famous cities.
“We are committed as a club to finding athletes who want to try a very different but a very physical, in a good way, sport and learn the ropes,” Michael says.
“If you can play water polo, you can do anything; it’s that challenging of a sport.”
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