Vanguard Aquatics Staff

 

Sasa Branisavljevic
- President, 18/16u Boys Coach 

Contact: sasa@hbvanguard.com, 562.253.8429

Sasa started playing water polo at age 8 in Subotica, Serbia. He has a wealth of playing experience at both on a National and International level. 

He has played in the First Serbian League for several years. At the age of 16, he was the youngest player on Spartak's professional team. At the time Spartak qualified for Len Cup, an Elite Club Championship event that features Europe's strongest clubs.

Sasa has both College and High School coaching experience and worked with many elete-level athletes. He supervises and assists with all other club operations and age group programs. Sasa started coaching in Huntington Beach in 2008. As a coach, he took first place with the 12u boys and second place with 16u boys at the National Junior Olympics in 2014. He led the 12 under boys team to three consecutive bronze medal finishes at National Junior Olympics in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He also led 12u team to 6st place finish at NJO's in 2010.  

 

Djoko Radunovic -  14u Boys Head Coach

Technical Director 

Djoko was born and raised in Montenegro, Europe and played with V.K. Primorac since the age of 8 for 10 years. During that time his team captured numerous top three finishes including several national titles. He played for the cadet and junior national team of former Yugoslavia and later Montenegro. Djoko finished his senior year of high school at San Bernardino High School where he won athlete of the year award. In the United States Djoko also played for Chris Oeding at LBCC. The team at LBCC managed to capture 2 conference and one state championship. Both years at LBCC Djoko managed to make first team all conference, first team all So Cal, first team All-American, and in his second year was also named South Coast Confernce MVP. He now coaches with the HB Vanguard where he oversees the 10u team as well as Huntington Beach High School where he assists with all Boys' teams. Djoko lead 10u team to 3rd place finish at JO's in 2012 and 1st place in 2013.

Recently Djoko returns to Vanguard after living in San Diego for the past 2 years and coaching at the San Diego based club Del Mar Aquatics where he was primarily responsible for the age group and 14u Boys Program.  The Age group nearly doubled under Djoko's watch.  We welcome him back to the Vanguard family.

 

 Brian Anderson

 - 12u Head Coach

 - Website & Social Media Director 

 Brian Anderson enters his 5th year being a Head Coach with Vanguard   Aquatics, currently overseeing the 12u Boys Program.  Brian has coached the   12u Boys to two National Championships (2016 & 2017) as well as the 10u   Co-  Ed team to a National Title (2014) as well.  Brian was awarded the USA   Water Polo Ted Newland Distinguished Coaching Award for his efforts in 2017.   He currently also oversees the Vanguard website and media.  In addition to   working with Vanguard, Brian is the Assistant Boys Coach for Mater Dei High   School.

 Coach Anderson has also played an active role in the USA Water Polo Olympic   Development program being a Head Coach for the SPA Zone.  He has also   served as the Assistant Cadet and Developmental National Team Coach and   helped coordinate the USA Water Polo Holiday Camp in Colorado Springs.

 Brian was the Head Coach at Huntington Beach High School for the girls for   four years and the boys for five.  In that time Brian was selected the Sunset   League Coach of the Year in 2012 & 2014 and took teams on international training trips to Hungary, Croatia, and Slovakia.  Several of Brian’s athletes went on to play NCAA College water polo as well as represent USA Water Polo as members of US National Teams.

Brian Anderson has been a native of the City of Huntington Beach his entire life.  Brian grew up swimming with Golden West Swim Club and played water polo at Huntington Beach High School from 1998-2002.  He is crrently a Teacher at Westminster High School.

 

Joshua Samuels - Head 18/19u Boys Coach 

Josh began playing water polo at the age of 9 and played for 3 different local teams during my age group years: ORCA, Split O.C., and SoCal. During that time he played high school water polo at Villa Park High School, Capturing the CIF Title in 2007.

Josh went on to play college water polo at UCLA under Coach Adam Wright. While at UCLA he played in 3 national championship games, won 2 conference championships, and was twice nominated for the Peter J. Cutino award, given to the Nations top player. Josh finished his UCLA career 4th on the all time Goals Scored list.

After college Josh played internationally in Montenegro, Italy and Brazil. He represented team USA on the National Team level starting at the Cadet age and advancing all the way to the Senior Team culminating in being a member on TEAM USA in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.  Some of his stats are below from international competiton:

Posted seven goals in 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil...Added six goals in 2016 FINA World League Super Final...Dropped 11 goals in 2016 FINA Intercontinental Tournament...Tallied five goals in 2015 FINA World Championships...Recorded 12 goals in Team USA's Gold-medal finish at 2015 Pan American Games...Scored 11 goals at 2015 FINA Intercontinental Tournament in third-place finish...Added three goals in helping Team USA to fourth-place finish at 2014 FINA World Cup...Second on team with 11 goals in fifth-place finish at 2014 FINA World League Super Final...Scored eight goals on way to Gold at 2014 FINA Intercontinental Tournament...Helped Team USA to first-place finish at FINA World Cup qualifier in 2013, scoring three goals...Competed for club team Budva in Montenegro in 2013-2014.

Josh is currently heading up our 18/19u team, and Vanguard is happy to welcome his experience and expertise to the club.

Nick Graffis

- Head Coach 10u Co-Ed & Splash Ball, High School Boys Assistant Coach 

Nick started playing water polo in Long Beach at Shore Aquatics and Long Beach Poly High School where he was All-City for three years. Nick’s team finished first in the Moore League and runner-up three times. He also competed for ORCA and SOCAL where his teams finished in the top 15 at National Junior Olympics each year. 

He coached at his alma mater, Long Beach Poly, for four years and was head coach for one year. As head coach, his boy’s water polo and swim teams each finished second in the Moore League, and his girl’s water polo and swim teams each finished first. Nick also started a water polo and swim club, Long Beach Aquatics Foundation, to support the underprivileged area around the high school and bring more experienced athletes to the school. The club experienced success in many tournaments and at various age groups.  In addition, it supported the communities of North Long Beach, Dominguez Hills, Lakewood and Cerritos with almost thirty new athletes in years one and two – 13 of which entered area high schools and many were selected to the All-City team in their first year. Nick's club also successfully qualified for National Junior Olympics every year. 

Nick has also coached at University High School where his team earned second place in the Pacific Coast League. As the head coach at Mt. Carmel High School, Nick’s team was ranked fifth in Division I and won the Palomar League.  In the two years that Nick coached the UC Irvine Women’s Club team, they ranked seventh in the Nation – the highest in team history – and Nick was named Pacific Coast Division Coach of the year.  As a coach at Orange County Water Polo Club, his team finished in the top 20 at National Junior Olympics.

Nick’s Vanguard coaching responsibilities include working with the 14U Boys Silver team and assisting with several other groups. Outside of coaching, he’s pursuing a career in medicine. 

 

Chris Kaps - "Kaps"

- Assistant Coach High School Boys Programs / Lead Goalie Instructor 

Kaps joined the Vanguard family in 2014 as an Assistant Coach for all age groups, including the 16U Boys team that placed 2nd the 2014 National Junior Olympic Championship in Stanford.  He’s been a great addition to the club and is an important mentor in the development of Vanguard’s goalies across all of its teams.

Kaps has worked for several water polo clubs and teams in Orange County, as well as serving as Head and Assistant Coach in high school programs such as La Quinta, Ocean View, Fountain Valley, and Huntington Beach.  He is also one of the lead Strength Coordinators for the nationally recognized NOVA Aquatics Swim Club, and Assistant Coach to the Fountain Valley High School swim team, which won the Sunset League title in 2015.

 

Laura Huynh

- Splash Ball, 10u Coed Teams, and 12u Girls Team

Laura started playing water polo at Long Beach Polytechnic High School.  She was a three year varsity water polo player and swimmer and also selected for the First Team All-Moore League and the Long Beach Press Telegram’s Dream Team.

Laura played for Goldenwest Water Polo Club under Coach Heather Moody, where her team successfully qualified for Junior Olympics. She went on to play at UC Irvine and UC Irvine’s Collegiate Club where she led her team to 2nd place in Southwest Division of CWPA and 3rd place in CWPA National rankings for the first time in school history. Laura was UC Irvine’s Collegiate Club Athlete of the Year, as well as CWPA First Team All-American, making her the first athlete to be chosen from UC Irvine. 

Laura has coached both swimming and water polo at her alma mater, Long Beach Poly.  She was also a swim instructor for three years and youth water polo coach for two years. 

Laura currently coaches Vanguard’s Splash Ball and 10U teams, as well as assisting with other age groups.  Laura recently lef the 10u Girls team to a Bronze Medal in the National Junior Olympic Championship in 2017. 

In addition to her Vanguard coaching responsibilities, she is continuing to pursue her education as she prepares herself for a career in Pediatric Pharmacy.

 

Milos Skaljac

- Vanguard "Red" and "Grey" Head Coach

Milos brings a wealth of water polo knowledge and experience to the Vanguard family.  

He is a product of Red Star, one of the premier European clubs in Belgrade, Serbia that competes in the competitive Adriatic League.  In addition, he was a member of the Yugoslavian Cadet National Team from 1999 – 2005.

From 2008 to 2014, he was the Head Coach of the Orange County Water Polo Club, which earned over 75 trophies and medals in competitions throughout the nation.  Most recently, he was the Assistant Coach of the nationally ranked University of California, Irvine Men’s Water Polo team in 2014.  During this same period, Milos was also Head Coach of the European Water Polo Academy based in Laguna Niguel.  The academy develops systems of training for boys and girls in preparing them for competition at the high school, collegiate, U.S. National Team and professional levels.

Milos played two seasons at Long Beach City College, which won the state title both years, and in 2006 he was State MVP.  He completed his collegiate career at Concordia University, Irvine where he was the Most Valuable Player in 2009-2010 and also earned All-American honors on the Eagles' National Championship teams in 2009 and 2010.  For the 2011 – 2012 season, he served as an Assistant Coach at Concordia, his alma mater, and the Eagles won the NAIA national championship.

Milos also previously served as an assistant coach at J Serra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, where he helped to develop the water polo program.  He was also the Assistant Coach at USC for both the Mens and Womens programs before he took the Head Boys and Grils Coaching Position at Mater Dei High School.

 

Jovan Jeremic 

- 12u Boys Coach 

Coach Jovan is no stranger to the style and approach of Vanguard, as he himself played under Coach Brian, Coach Sasa, and Coach Djoko in his club and high school water polo days.  Jovan comes from Huntington Beach High School where he was a All County, All CIF, and First Team Sunset League selection.  Jovan was also a member of the National Team Pipeline System for three years competing with the Cadet and Youth National Teams.

From Huntington Beach High School, Jovan went on to star at Princeton University where he played attacker for the Tigers.  He has a prolific career where he earned All-CWPA Southern Honors, ranking himself in the Top 10 of Princeton’s record books for goals scored and assists.  He also played for the National League while being a member of the college team.  He majored in Neuroscience and Minored in Cognitive Science.

 

Chaz Harker 

- 12u/14u Silver Boys Coach 

Bio coming soon !!

 

 

Riley Wilson 

12u Silver / 14u Silver Head Coach 

Riley started playing water polo in Long Beach at Viking Aquatics and Long Beach Poly High School where he was All-City and Moore League 1st Team for two years and All CIF for 1 year. His team finished first in the Moore League and runner-up three times. He coached at Long Beach Poly for the 2011 season. During and since attending Cal State Long Beach, Riley has been active in the Masters Water Polo scene, competing in tournaments with International Water Polo Club, with two first place finishes in the Team Vegas Water Polo Fall Invitational tournament.

Riley joined the Vanguard family in 2017 as the coach of the 14s Silver team and helped lead them to a top 20 finish in the 2017 Junior Olympics. Outside of coaching, he is a professional jazz vocalist and a music teacher at the Orange County School of the Arts.

 

 

Uros Dzelebdzic

Coach Uros played water polo in Serbia for 10 years before coming to Moorpark High School to finish his senior year of high school. He played in many international competitions and earned All-American honors in high school.

He played for Long Beach City College before earning a scholarship to play for Queens College, NY. He has a degree in Exercise and Sport Science and is applying principles of biomechanics, motor control and exercise physiology to all practices and training sessions.

He has been coaching since 2006 and led multiple teams to Top 10 finishes at National Junior Olympics including a JO Championship with 14u boys in 2013. Uros is currently the associate head coach at Cypress College and Age Group Director and 14u Boys Head Coach at Vanguard Aquatics.

Uros is an expert  in strength and conditioning who plans on pursuing a doctorate degree in Exercise Physiology.