Polo Players Edition

JAN 2019

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

Issue link: https://polo.epubxp.com/i/1064372

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Page 23 of 67

The United States Polo Association established Team USPA in 2009 to grow and sustain the sport of polo by identifying talented young American players and providing opportunities to grow their abilities. By Hayley Heatley 2019, a window has opened for many young American players looking to step- up into the next level of play. Team USPA currently has four 6-goal players, one 5-goal player and four 4-goal players, in addition to several Team USPA alumni carrying a 4-goal handicap. An unprecedented 16 teams entered the trio of tournaments—the USPA Gold Cup, the C.V. Whitney and the U.S. Open—named the Gauntlet of Polo. A combination of the new handicap level, the American player rule and a limited number of 10-goal players available created the perfect storm for American players looking to prove themselves on a national stage. "The lowering of the U.S. Open from 26 goals to 22 goals is a major victory for American polo. It allows the USPA to enforce rules similar to that of England and Argentina, requiring all teams to have at least one player from the nationality of where the tournament is taking place. Working closely with Mark Bellissimo, it has always been a point of emphasis to create opportunities for up-and-coming American players; whether it be through Gladiator Polo, or the lowering of the high-goal handicap," explained Gates Gridely, a member of Team USPA who helps run Gladiator Polo and is a USPA certified instructor for The Polo 22 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N Opportunity knocks Seven members competing in Gauntlet of Polo Team USPA players took home an impressive number of trophies and titles during the 2018 season. From the USPA Rossmore Cup Skins Tournament and Pacific Coast Open to the U.S. Open Championship, the dedication this group of young American players has to the sport of polo is evident. While each player's individual goals may vary, the general consensus is that the players are eager to compete in the highest level of polo possible in order to continue improving. A smaller pool of teams and limited number of roster slots made breaking into the 26-goal level a challenge. With the U.S. Open Championship, C.V. Whitney and USPA Gold Cup being lowered to 22 goals in Matt Coppola, 4 goals Wesley Finlayson, 4 goals Jesse Bray, 6 goals

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