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American Water Polo Coach Helping Team Korea

Posted January. 28, 2010 14:48,   


“Well, can I train players?”

A 6’3", 242-pound American came to Korea National Sport Univ. professor Choi Kang-jin and volunteered to coach the national water polo team in February.

Though a little bit puzzled, Choi, who was coach of the team, tested the American`s prowess in the sport and assigned him to train the goalkeepers. The American turned out to be a former goalkeeper for the U.S. national team.

Russell David Bernstein, 30, who teaches English in Seoul at Chungdahm Learning, a private English institute, is coaching the Korean team and three goalkeepers at the university two to three times a week.

Bernstein found a way to "continue playing" a sport he has enjoyed since middle school. Since he lived near Olympic Park, he happened to visit the university and saw the national team training, so he decided to volunteer.

Bernstein, who played for the U.S. national team 2003, wrote a thesis based on Erikson’s 8-Stage Child Development Cycle at the University of California at Berkeley. He also holds an MBA from Loyola Marymount University and after quitting water polo, he taught English in Korea from mid-2004 through 2005.

In Asia, Korea ranks third or fourth in water polo, and with the help of Bernstein, the national team is eyeing a gold medal at next year`s Guangzhou Asian Games.

National team coach Ahn Gi-soo said, “To be honest, it costs us hundreds of millions of won (hundreds of thousands of dollars) to recruit a coach like Bernstein. He`s a great help to us since he`s a good player and has lots of strategic know-how.”

The Korea Swimming Federation will hold Tuesday next week a water polo clinic to share Bernstein’s know-how at the Korea National Sport University`s swimming pool.