Head Coach, 10U CoEd
The Royal 559 Academy coaching staff is comprised of professional coaches with vast and diverse levels of experience, ranging from elite high school and club levels to international and US National Team experience. Our coaches pride themselves in being great role models, mentors and students of the game. They are committed to the holistic mission of the Royal 559 Academy focused on athletes, coaches, and parents.
Natalie is currently the Head Coach of Women's Water Polo at Fresno State University. She also serves as an Assistant Coach for the USA Women's Senior National Team. Coach Benson guides the Royal 559 U10 Boys & Girls Group.
UCLA: Coach Benson won three NCAA championships while playing at UCLA (2001, 2003, 2005). As a freshman in 2001, she helped the Bruins win the first women's water polo title recognized by the NCAA. In 2002, she earned Honorable Mention All-American honors and was named to the NCAA All-Tournament First-Team and All-MPSF Tournament Second Team. In 2003, Golda was named a first team All-American, first team All-MPSF, first team All-NCAA and All-MPSF Tournaments. She also led UCLA with 50 goals. To end her senior year at UCLA, Golda was selected the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championships after leading her team to a 3-2 victory over Stanford in the title game. In 2015, Coach Benson was awarded The Cutino Award for Most Outstanding Player - one of only three UCLA women to have ever won the prestigious award. She also earned in 2015: American Water Polo Coaches Association Player of the Year, MPSF Conference Player of the Year, NCAA Tournament MVP and NCAA first tournament team. Coach Benson was inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame in 2016.
TEAM USA: An integral part of two Olympic medal-winning squads for Team USA at the 2004 (Bronze) and 2008 (Silver) Olympic Games, Benson also led the United States to three FINA World Championship medals (2003, 2005, 2007), including two gold medals. The 2003 FINA World Championship followed a 2001 FINA Junior World Championship title, both which were firsts in program history. Coach Benson was inducted in the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame, as well as the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) Hall of Fame in 2015. Natalie has led various National Pipeline Teams, including the Cadet and Development Teams. She currently serves as an Assistant Coach for the Women’s Senior National Team.
COLLEGE: From 2013-2016, Natalie led the women’s program at Marist College (New York, NY). She helped guide the Red Foxes to Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Water polo regular season championships in 2015, as well as second-place finishes in the MAAC Conference Championships. Golda was named Anaconda Sports Coach of the Year in 2014, and has had five players named All-MAAC First team, six on All-MAAC Second Team, One MAAC Rookie of the Year and 10 All-MAAC Academic Team Honors. In 2017, Coach Benson left Marist College to start the Division 1 women’s water polo program at Fresno State.
PREP/CLUB: Coach Benson founded Huntington Beach Water Polo Club (Huntington Beach, Calif.). From 2011-2013, she guided the U18 Girls Team to 3-straight finals appearances, winning a National Championship in 2011 and finishing runner-up in 2012 and 2013. 2011, she was awarded the USAWP National Doc Hunkler Distinguished Coaching Award, presented annually to the top scholastic coach in the nation.