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Daniel Leyson enters his second season as an assistant coach with the UCLA men's water polo team in 2012. He joined the program in February 2011 and made an immediate impact with the Bruins during his first season.
Leyson's work in 2011 was critical in helping UCLA finish 24-5, win the MPSF Tournament and advance to the championship match of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. His efforts working with the team's four goalkeepers paid major dividends, as UCLA posted the conference's third-lowest goals against average (6.17).
Upon arriving in Westwood, Leyson brought significant coaching experience to the program. He had previously served as an assistant coach with the USA Water Polo Men's Senior National Team and head coach of Rose Bowl Water Polo Club in Pasadena, Calif., since 2005.
Leyson coached the USA National Team from 2002-04 under the leadership of the most successful coach in Olympic water polo history, Ratko Rudic, a three-time Olympic gold medal winning head coach. He served as an assistant to Rudic on the USA National Team that placed seventh in Athens in the 2004 Olympic Games.
Since his experience with the USA National Team in 2004, Leyson has served as the director and head coach of Rose Bowl Water Polo Club. He has helped take Rose Bowl Water Polo Club from a grassroots level to emerging as one of the nation's strongest water polo programs.
In 2011, Leyson received the Bill Barnett Distinguished Men's Coaching Award (Scholastic) from USA Water Polo. He served as an assistant coach for the 2010 USA Youth National Team. As coach of the 16U and 18U boys' teams, Leyson had teams among the top 10 at the Junior Olympics while also claiming first place at the South Florida International Tournament, US Club Championships and City of Commerce International Tournament. He guided the 16U squad to a first-place finish in the Ironman League where a Rose Bowl athlete was named MVP.
In addition, Leyson led his team to the gold medal at the 2007 Pan America Maccabiah Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was an assistant coach at Los Angeles Valley College from 2006-08 and was named the 2006 Coastal California Development Coach of the Year.
Serving as the coach of the Coastal California Zone Youth Team, Leyson guided his team to a first-place finish at the 2007 National Youth Camp Tournament and to second place in 2006.
He has participated in countless common training sessions and friendly matches, including at the FINA World League, 2003 World Championships, 2003 Pan American Games and the 2004 Olympics. He has helped organize the Olympic Water Polo Academy, a clinic for young players that featured instruction from USA National Team players and coaches.
Leyson served as head coach at Loyola High School in the fall of 2002 and was an assistant coach with the men's and women's water polo programs at USC from 2000-02.
A four-year starter (1989-92) and three-time All-America selection at USC, Leyson captured first-team All-America honors as a senior in 1992. He was the leading scorer at the 1992 NCAA Tournament, leading the Trojans to a third-place finish at the national tournament that fall.
After graduating from USC in 1992, he competed with the USA National Team in 1994 and 1995 and played professionally in Europe from 1995-98 for Club Natacio and Atletico Barceloneta, a first-division Spanish club team. Leyson played in the LEN Trophy games in Barcelona, Spain and Belgrade, Serbia.
Leyson earned his Master's degree in physical education from Ball State University in 2008.
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