The team is made up of multiple Olympic athletes, including an American, Ben Hallock, who hopes to be a part of the U.S. men’s national team in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
“When I speak with athletes, I say the same thing. I say two things. Teamwork is the first thing,” the pope said.
“In sport, the biggest defeat for an athlete is to work, to play alone.”
Pope Francis said that his second piece of advice to athletes was not to lose the amateur spirit of sport because this is the true source of the “mystique of sports.”
“That little bit of amateur that must always be there,” he added.
The water polo team from Liguria, northern Italy, gave Pope Francis a pennant signed by each of the athletes. One player also gifted the pope a water polo cap for the Argentine national team.