Brenda Villa (born April 17, 1980, in Los Angeles, California) is an American world-class water polo player for the US National and Olympic teams.

Villa started swimming with a club team, Commerce Aquatics, at the age of six, and followed her brother into water polo at eight years old. She made the girls Junior Olympic Team while in high school. At Bell Gardens High School, Villa played with the boys' water polo team because her school did not have a girls' team, and went on to become a 4-time 1st team All-League, 4-time 1st team All-C.I.F. and 4-time All-American.

Villa came to Stanford in 1998 as the program’s most heralded recruit. Redshirted in 1999 and 2000 to train for the Olympics, she scored 69 goals her freshman year (2001) and was named the NCAA Women’s Water Polo Player of the Year. In the three seasons Villa played for Stanford University, she scored 172 goals. In 2002 she led her Stanford team with 60 goals to win the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship; they had finished second the previous season, the first year the competition was held. Villa was awarded the 2002 Peter J. Cutino Award as the top female college water polo player in the United States.

Olympics and international [edit]Edit

Villa has been on Team USA since 1998. Although the shortest player on the US national women's water polo team at 5'4", Villa has been a prolific scorer at the international level. She scored 10 goals for Team USA at the 2003 Pan American Games, which qualified the team for the 2004 Summer Olympics. As a 20-year-old, she led the US team with nine goals at the Sydney Olympics, where the Americans took the silver medal. She had a team-high 13 goals to lead the US to gold at the 2003 FINA Water Polo World Championship. In June 2004, Villa scored the first goal in overtime, her third of the game, and another in a penalty shootout, to propel the US team past Hungary and win the gold medal at the Women's Water Polo World League Super Finals. She was the US women's team top scorer with 7 goals in 5 games at the 2004 Athens Olympics, earning a bronze medal. Villa was team captain of the 2005 US national team coached by two-time Olympian Heather Moody, winning a silver medal at the FINA World Championship in Montreal.

In 2005, Villa became assistant coach of the women's water polo team at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California. The Falcons ended the season with a 21-11 record, a new school record for most wins in a season. She is now playing with the international club team Orizzonte “Geymonat” Catania (Italy).

In March 2007 Villa led the USA women's national water polo team in Melbourne, Australia, at the 2007 FINA World Water Polo Championships. Villa scored a total of 11 goals throughout the whole tournament helping team USA achieve first place naming them the 2007 FINA World Champions.

In the 2008 China Summer Olympic games, she and the American team lost 8-9 in the championship game to the Netherlands and took home the silver medal.

In the 2012 London Summer Olympic games, she and the American team won 8-5 in the championship game to Spain and took home the gold medal, the Americans' first in 4 Olympics water polo competitions.

Career [edit]Edit

In June 2009, Villa was named to the USA water polo women's senior national team for the 2009 FINA World Championships. In 2010 she became the head coach at Castilleja High School for girls' water polo in Palo Alto, California.

Personal [edit]Edit

  • Villa's parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico and she speaks fluent Spanish.
  • A three-time All-American at Stanford, Villa graduated in 2003 with a degree in political science.
  • Along with some of her teammates from the 2000 Olympic Team, Villa has a small tattoo of the Olympic rings, located on top of her right foot.

International competitions [edit]Edit

  • 1995 FINA Junior World Championships, 3rd place
  • 1997 FINA Junior World Championships, 3rd place
  • 1998 World Championships, Perth, Australia, 8th place
  • 1998 Holiday Cup, Los Alamitos, California, 2nd place
  • 1999 Holiday Cup, Los Alamitos, California, 3rd place
  • 2000 Olympic Games, Sydney, Australia, 2nd place
  • 2001 Holiday Cup, Los Alamitos, United States, 1st place
  • 2001 FINA World Championships, Fukuoka, Japan, 4th place
  • 2002 Holiday Cup, Palo Alto, United States, 1st place
  • 2002 FINA World Cup, Perth, Australia, 2nd place
  • 2003 FINA World Championships, Barcelona, Spain, 1st place
  • 2003 Pan American Games, Dominican Republic, 1st place
  • 2003 Holiday Cup, Los Alamitos, CA, 1st place
  • 2004 FINA World League Series, Long Beach, CA, 1st place
  • 2004 Holiday Cup, La Jolla, CA, 1st place
  • 2004 Olympic Games, Athens, Greece, 3rd place
  • 2005 FINA World League, 5th place
  • 2005 FINA World Championships, Montreal, Canada, 2nd place
  • 2006 FINA World League, Cosenza, Italy, 1st place
  • 2006 FINA World Cup, Tianjin, China, 4th place
  • 2006 Holiday Cup, Los Alamitos, CA, 1st place
  • 2007 FINA World Championships, Melbourne, Australia, 1st place
  • 2007 FINA World League Super Final, Montreal, Canada, 1st place
  • 2007 Pan American Games, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1st place
  • 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing, China, 2nd place
  • 2009 FINA World Championships, Rome, Italy, 1st place

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