U.S. Polo Association Adds Twelve New Players to Team USPA
Strong Representation of Intercollegiate/Interscholastic Players to Become
Ambassadors for the Sport
The U.S. Polo Association, the national governing body for the sport of polo, is pleased to announce the selection of twelve new players to Team USPA. The organization established the development program in 2010 to grow and sustain the sport of polo by identifying talented young American players and providing opportunities to develop their abilities.
“These individuals were chosen because they demonstrate outstanding leadership and playing ability, which we feel are essential qualities for Team USPA members,” said Kris Bowman, Executive Director of the USPA Polo Development, LLC. “We’re excited to have these young, talented players representing the next generation of polo.”
Tryouts for Team USPA were held in Wellington, FL on January 10-13, Friday through Monday, and included field training and in-class sessions with inspirational lectures from former 10-goaler, Adam Snow, and a panel of USPA Umpires LLC leaders. The weekend tryouts also consisted of game review video sessions, career development goals, media training and conflict resolution training.
Valiente Polo and Marathon Farms made this year’s try-outs possible by providing the venues for all mounted activities after initial arena and field locations became unavailable due to flooding. International Polo Club Palm Beach, Everglades Polo Club and Jan Pamela Polo Club were also instrumental throughout the event.
Many of the players came from the USPA Intercollegiate/Interscholastic program, which promotes polo to the next generation of players through USPA sponsored competition. To try out for Team USPA, players between the ages of 18 to 23 years old submitted applications, which included an essay, resume and DVD highlighting their playing abilities. After the applications were fact-checked, a committee selected who advanced to the try-outs. The young athletes played on some of the finest polo fields in the nation, and were able to witness the best players in the world in action at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
Senior Team USPA members Mason Wroe, Steve Krueger, Nick Morrison and Kareem Rosser were all involved in the four-day tryouts. Mason gave a lecture on Saturday night, which covered his experience with making the transition from college polo to playing as a professional. Mason and Steve also reviewed the game footage with the players on the last day, breaking down each play, while Nick and Kareem assisted the coaches during the games. Polo Hall of Famers Owen Rinehart, Adam Snow and Charles Smith joined and USPA Umpires, LLC Executive Director, Charlie Muldoon and professional player/umpire, Hector Galindo, in serving as coaches and mentors throughout the clinic.
The following 12 candidates were selected:
Team USPA 2014:
Sebastian Aycinena – Wellington, Florida
Cody Ellis – Norman, Oklahoma
Gates Gridley – Southbury, Connecticut
Wyatt Harlow – Warrenton, Virginia
Max Langlois – Bedford, New York
Loreto Natividad – Midland, Texas
Carly Persano – Somers, Connecticut
Brandon Rease – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Julia Smith – Haverford, Pennsylvania
Branden Van Loon – Ithaca, New York
Russell Stimmel – Bryan, Texas
Jim Wright – Menlo Park, California
The Team USPA program provides Olympic-level caliber training for the sport’s most promising future talent, some of who had never received any formal instruction before. The United States is the only country providing opportunities like this for their future polo players.
“In a single week of training I was exposed to some of the most dedicated, supportive and intelligent polo players in the United States,” said Carly Persano, from Somers, Connecticut. “I look forward to gaining all the knowledge Team USPA has to offer in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The mission of Team USPA is to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher-rated amateur and pro players, and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.
Team USPA is now under the newly formed Polo Development, LLC whose mission is to develop, institute, and manage USPA programs that grow polo through education, development, and assistance thereby fortifying clubs and membership. This includes the training and development of players of all ages and skill; and the training, educating and certification of instructors as well as the administration and evaluation of club development. These programs are the positive face of the USPA for clubs across the country.