'To Me, He's Like a Brother'
International friendship brings Blosser, Levai to GW
Just off a 12-hour flight, Andras Levai was understandably nervous.
The teenager had traveled to Los Angeles from his native Hungary in the summer of 2014 to spend a few weeks with one of the best water polo clubs in America.
At his father's suggestion, Levai had agreed to leave behind the comforts of home to try to gain exposure in the sport in a country where he knew no one and spoke little of the language.
Now, Levai exited the terminal to find his new host family. He was surprised to be greeted with hugs.
"I'm not used to people being so close to you when you don't even know them," Levai remembered with a laugh. "I was like `Oh my god, what is this?'"
It turned out to be the beginning of a special relationship.
Levai ended up spending three summers living with Jordan Blosser's family. The Chino Hills Aquatics Water Polo teammates quickly became best friends with a bond extending well beyond the pool.
They've reunited this season at George Washington with both playing important roles for a squad aiming to win its first Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference title this weekend.
Levai has appreciated Blosser's support as he's adjusted to college life during his freshman season, while Blosser credits Levai's arrival with helping him become more comfortable in a breakout sophomore campaign.
"It's cool because it kind of came from out of nowhere and turned into this great thing," Blosser said. "To me, he's like a brother."
Levai's journey to GW started with a round of e-mails.
Balazs Levai didn't have any American connections when he reached out to a handful of top clubs, looking for a summer home for his son. CHAWP director Greg Salvinsky responded first, within minutes offering Andras a roster spot and a place to stay.
That's when Blosser's family stepped up, even though they'd never hosted a foreign player before. Looking back, everyone involved is glad they took that leap of faith.
"We were so lucky to get connected with him," Blosser's mother Michelle said. "That's all I can tell you. He's just been great from that very first day."
Blosser and Levai grew close over lazy summer afternoons filled with movies, video games and trips to the beach.
Blosser didn't know much about soccer, but he bought the latest FIFA video game and happily took one loss after another to Levai. He taught Levai the finer points of basketball through the NBA 2K franchise and converted his new pal into a fan of his beloved Portland Trail Blazers.
Each day offered Levai a new chance to hone his English and understanding of American culture.
"He probably got annoyed by me because I asked so many questions," Levai said. "So many questions like `How do you say that?' He was always trying to help me."
Levai headed back to Hungary in August 2014 excited to come back, which he did in 2015 and 2016.
In 2016, Blosser made a trip to visit Levai on his turf. He was struck by Hungary's beauty and quickly got on board with the local cuisine like schnitzel and goulash. He even picked up a little of Levai's native language.
All the while, the pair continued to grow their friendship over FaceTime chats and social media messages. It turned out that teens living 6,000-plus miles apart had plenty of common ground in their day-to-day lives.
"I think our personalities go really well together," said Blosser, who is hoping to visit Hungary again next summer. "We have a lot of the same interests. We're kind of similar people. It just worked out."
In the pool, their polar-opposite styles made for a perfect match. Levai is a skilled lefty with a knack for making the right play, while Blosser is a physically imposing center with a powerful shot.
Together, they helped CHAWP win a handful of major tournaments, including a U.S. club title, and post a Top-10 finish at the prestigious Junior Olympics.
They weren't sure they'd get to continue playing together, though. It worked out that both found a home at GW.
Blosser was a coveted recruit after racking up nearly 500 goals in his career at Santiago High School. He'd been on the West Coast all his life and wanted to try some place new for college. He was drawn to GW because of its sports management program.
On his recruiting visit, Blosser was told the GW staff was actively seeking a lefty to diversify the offense. Without hesititation, he passed on an e-mail address for Levai, who is a year behind Blosser in school.
Soon, they were both Colonials.
"That made my decision a lot easier," Levai said. "It was a really easy decision."
Blosser made his GW debut last season and played a reserve role as the Colonials made it to the MAWPC championship game.
In August, the friends were reunited in Foggy Bottom. Since then, they've both had a hand in helping the Colonials roll up 14 wins and a No. 20 national ranking.
Blosser scored more goals on the opening weekend than he did all of his freshman season. He's up to 34 goals for the fall, which ranks fourth among Colonials.
Levai has made an impact right away, racking up 53 goals, 34 assists and 46 steals. He's twice been honored as the MAWPC Rookie of the Week.
"I think it's been really valuable for both of them," GW Head Coach Barry King said. "Particularly for Andras, it's huge having someone to help show you around and kind of speed up what can be a tough transition."
Indeed, Blosser helped Levai open a bank account and get a new cell phone in his first few days on campus.
Levai's dorm is only a few blocks from Blosser's. He knows he can quickly get an answer to any question that might come about his newfound college life, and he's got a standing invitation to stop by for a movie night at a moment's notice.
It's a bond Levai couldn't have expected when he agreed to spend that first summer in America. He didn't imagine he'd get a brother out of the deal.
"Sometimes," Levai said, "I still don't believe it."
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