OFFICIAL USPA SEAL
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ANNUAL REPORT 2017 OF THE
UNITED STATES POLO ASSOCIATION
Hope Arellano shoots on the nearside, Teresa Connelly in defense, during the Florida Circuit Womenâ€™s Challenge at The Villages Polo Club in The Villages, Florida. ÂŠDavid Boege.
USPA VISUAL GUIDELINES / LOGO AND SIGNATURE STRIPE
OFFICIAL USPA SEAL
ANNUAL REPORT 2017 SIGNATURE STRIPE
18% Red Stripe
29% White Stripe
0.25â€? height for general use
53% Blue Stripe
UNITED STATES POLO ASSOCIATION
The Signature Stripe incorporates our red, white and blue color scheme. With the unique proportions, as outlined above, the design is a brand defining statement.
The stripe is a supporting element on our templates for business collateral and can be used
as a design feature on marketing materials.
Table of Contents
Armed Forces Committee
Board & Staff Development Committee
Club & Membership Administration Committee
Equine Welfare Committee
National Handicap Committee
Communications & Marketing
Polo Development LLC
Global Licensing Inc.
Board of Governors
Divisions, Committees & LLCs
Chairman’s Letter On behalf of the USPA Board of Governors and its Chairman, we are proud to present the 2017 Annual Report.
Dear USPA Members, In certain respects, I find that the membership sometimes does not fully appreciate the scope and size of the USPA. There are four wholly owned subsidiaries with their own boards and in excess of 22 different committees with their own subcommittees. Committee volunteers number about 200 strong and there are approximately 60 employees. Annual consolidated expenditures approximate $24 million. All of this is in place to accomplish our mission statement, with the overarching goal to improve the overall polo experience for our USPA membership. Similarly, I don’t believe all members recognize that our organizational documents currently require annual elections which provide for the turnover of half our board every year! This fall at our USPA Board of Governors and Annual Member Meeting, four new officers were elected by the board. I was installed as Chairman, Tony Coppola as President, Stewart Armstrong as Secretary, and Sam Ramirez Jr. as Treasurer. In addition, Robert Puetz was hired as our new CEO. There are many good and positive things happening within the USPA; however, there are also many things that need improvement. In succeeding years as these Annual Reports are provided to the members they should demonstrate marked enhancement in all facets and bodies within the Association. Should any members have any questions please feel free to contact a staff member or reach out to your Circuit Governor. As we all move forward, let’s individually strive to improve our own polo experience by investing and upgrading our clubs, our horse quality and our competition level. If we, as members, focus on these basic things then polo in the United States will improve and the USPA will succeed in its mission.
Edward R. “Chip” Campbell III CHAIRMAN - USPA
Tiffany Busch instructs youth polo school member Saralyn Painter on a gorgeous day at BG Vero Beach Polo Club. ÂŠGail Daman
The Services branch of the USPA functions as the main organizational and operating department within the Association. An on-going effort from 2016, goals were set and accomplished in 2017 in order to provide an excellent experience, along with open communication to all USPA members and Member Clubs. Furthermore, the Services branch continued to improve the essential missions of the USPA by strengthening relationships between the Association and all active participants within the USPA. These objectives were achieved through focused efforts in four distinctive areas: enhancing the membership experience, communications and marketing, tournament support and strategic planning, and leadership.
The Membership Department made many digital improvements in 2017. An enhanced member portal was launched on uspolo. org to ensure that joining and renewing was easier than ever before. Members were given online access to a player search, as well as digitized Bluebooks, enabling them to find information quickly and effortlessly. An online handicap recommendation process was also introduced; this new method for Club Delegates to recommend player handicap changes streamlined the process of handicapping. USPA Members continued to utilize the U.S. Polo Assn. apparel discount and the Polo Plus Discount Program which includes products from John
Deere, Sherwin Williams and more. Communications and marketing experienced growth in 2017. The Association in partnership with ChukkerTV launched the USPA Polo Network with a total of 125 polo games streamed live on uspolo.org, with several streamed on Youtube and Facebook. Additionally, strides were made to serve as the center for polo related news in the United States. Over 500 articles were written, edited and shared on uspolo.org, as well as distributed on the Associationâ€™s social media accounts, that serve to inform, entertain, and inspire over 61,500 followers and fans of polo. A website administrator to manage uspolo.org was added to the Communications team in late 2017 to further develop and grow the department, as coverage of the sport continues to expand. Many improvements were made in 2017 to the methods of
awarding, tracking and covering USPA tournaments. A dedicated Tournament Department was created and a Tournament Coordinator was hired to concentrate on the tournament process. USPA tournaments were covered extensively throughout the year through uspolo.org, press releases, social media and livestreamed games. The scope of coverage was the highest to date, with dozens of USPA and international tournaments highlighted by the Association, resulting in numerous improved relationships with Member Clubs. The USPA also expanded the presence of American players internationally by sending several highly-competitive teams around the world to compete at a global level.
time to his new startup and subsequent decision not to run for a third term resulted in a shift in many governance positions of the Association. USPA President Chip Campbell was installed as Chairman, Tony Coppola was installed as the new president, Stewart Armstrong as Secretary and Sam Ramirez Jr. as Treasurer. Following recommendations from both the Board and Staff Development Committee and newly elected Chairman, the Board unanimously voted to have Executive Director Robert Puetz installed as the new Chief Executive Officer. A new Strategic Planning Committee was formed in August of 2017 to carry out tasks that were created during a Strategic Planning Meeting in Denver, Colorado, in July.
The Association saw significant changes in leadership during 2017. USPA Chairman Joseph Meyerâ€™s announcement to dedicate more
Arena Committee 2017 proved to be an exceptional year for the sport of arena polo which is strong and growing. The year continued the precedent set in 2016 with all national arena tournaments awarded and played throughout the country. In order to facilitate the demand for national tournaments, the Committee inaugurated three new national arena tournaments: Womenâ€™s Arena Open (2016), National Arena Challenge Cup (2016) and the newly formed Womenâ€™s Arena Handicap (2017). The tournaments were highly competitive, showcasing new and talented arena players.
The year continued the precedent set in 2016 with all national arena tournaments awarded and played throughout the country.
2017 also saw the creation of a new high-goal sanctioned event called Gladiator Polo™. Spearheaded by Mark Bellissimo and the International Polo Club Palm Beach (Wellington, Florida), the tournaments were played in Wellington, Florida, and Mill Spring, North Carolina. The events garnered an extraordinary spectator base, in which fans rallied behind the decorated players. Utilizing corporate sponsors, each team consisted of three high-rated professionals competing for prize money. The event proved to be physical, showcasing phenomenal competition. The Arena Committee continued to work to inform the membership on growth and opportunities through a quarterly newsletter. One of the main programs that has been available to clubs hosting arena tournaments is the Arena Incentive Program; the program provides funding for clubs to aid with marketing efforts and the execution of circuit arena tournaments throughout
Women’s Arena Open Champions Ace Sportswear (Julia Smith, Anna Winslow, Demitra Hajimihalis.) © Chris Weber
the year. Additional funds for the Arena Committee have been used to help create and restore perpetual trophies for national tournaments. The Committee also worked closely with the Arena Handicap Subcommittee and Arena Rules Subcommittee to oversee major changes to the rules and handicaps. The National Handicap Committee implemented a “Plus One Handicap Stimulus” to help with the compression issue and re-formed a High-Goal Arena Handicap Subcommittee to evaluate the skills of higher-rated arena players. The Arena Rules Subcommittee revised the Optional
Arena Tournament Conditions to allow for a more open and fast-paced game. The sport of arena polo proves to be thriving across the country at all levels of play. Beginning with middle school and Intercollegiate/ Interscholastic, all the way to the highest levels of play, arena polo is attracting more and more spectators and players. The Arena Committee works to support the endeavors and help see the sport prosper.
Armed Forces Committee The U.S. Military has played a significant and important role in the history and development of polo in the United States. In 1896, the U.S. Army based at Fort Riley, Kansas, took up the game. In addition to improving the riding skills of cavalrymen, polo taught leadership, teamwork and strategy. West Point next introduced polo in 1901. By 1914 there were 17 Army posts playing polo. In 1928, the U.S. Army team made it to the final of the U.S. Open Polo ChampionshipÂŽ, and Army polo had expanded across the U.S., as well as the Philippines and Panama. The other military branches, Air Force, Marines and Navy soon followed suit, and today there are inter-service matches held all over the country, and international matches amongst the military branches played worldwide.
The Armed Forces Committee has been working over the past few years to increase USPA military tournaments and USPA membership. Only seven circuit military tournaments were held in 2016, making growth a focus
The Armed Forces Committee has continued to support numerous additional military events in Washington D.C., Hawaii, Virginia and Texas. Two of the most anticipated events include the annual 25th Infantry
CDR Karl Hilberg, USN (Ret) turning the ball toward goal in the 2017 Southwestern Circuit General Patton. ©Martha Bagley
for the Committee in 2017. The Committee’s hard work and dedication to the cause has raised that number to 13 circuit events in 2017. The Committee will look to continue its expansion of military tournaments with the addition of two new national tournaments (one arena and one outdoor) to be played in 2018, titled the Commander-in-Chief Cup. Additionally, the Committee will be contributing financially to the marketing efforts of two circuit events and one national event per year. In 2016, changes to the USPA ByLaws offering free membership to active duty military players resulted in over 20 active duty player memberships; 15 of these as a direct result of military events in Hawaii and Virginia. Today, the military family makes up 47% of the USPA’s registered players and 24% of the total USPA membership.
Division Tropic Lighting Week in October, and a military arena championship held in November. Polo was a part of the 25th Infantry Division Tropic Lighting Week, which took place in Hawaii, for the fourth year. This year, the military arena championship was played as the General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller tournament, played up to the 7-goal level, and was hosted by the Virginia Polo Inc. (Charlottesville, Virginia); affiliated with the University of Virginia, teams of active duty, reserve, retired and former
military members participated. The 5th annual Teddy Roosevelt Tournament was co-hosted by the Central Texas Polo Association and Texas Military Polo Club (Poteet, Texas) in November with six teams total, including Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and two Navy teams. In 2017 the Armed Forces Committee was involved in several international events throughout the year. In January, the Committee hosted the United Kingdom in a match played simultaneously with the Townsend Cup. The Committee also hosted a Chilean team in Virginia in October, playing alongside the military arena championship. In December, the Committee was thrilled to send a team to Argentina to play concurrently with the Argentine Open. Looking ahead to 2018, the Committee is considering sending teams to Nigeria, Chile, India and Argentina. The USPA selected SGT. Allen Hoe (Honorable Discharge) for the 2017 General George S. Patton Jr. Award in appreciation for his work that has gone above and beyond the call of duty, creating opportunities for military members and their families to become involved in the sport of polo.
All the Military Branches represented in the Fall Fandango Tournament. ©Martha Bagley 9
Audit Committee Member Chuck Stanislawski at Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Florida, during the customary Governor’s game following the USPA Board of Governors Meeting. ©Elizabeth Hedley
Audit Committee The Audit Committee reports directly to the USPA Board of Governors and assists the Board in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities regarding the integrity of the USPA’s financial reporting, compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, independent auditors’ qualifications and performance, and the effectiveness of the internal audit function. This responsibility is particularly important as it relates to accounting matters and actual, potential and perceived conflicts of interest.
The Audit Committee identifies areas of potential financial risk and also leads ad-hoc inquiries into finance-related questions as presented by USPA members, employees and other valid sources. The Audit Committee maintains the confidentiality of all individuals who reach out. Inquiries can be submitted electronically via an independent website for this purpose, accessible only by the Committee. Inquiries can also be submitted by phone call, or email or in writing to any member of the Audit Committee. To submit electronically, the Association offers a link directly to the Audit Committee’s independent site on uspolo.org. While most of the Audit Committee’s work is performed through confidential inquiries, in 2017, the Audit Committee was tasked as part of a Finance Committee Subcommittee to assist with the research and preparation of policies and procedures regarding large dollar asset purchases and entity acquisitions. The Audit Committee is comprised of Chairman Steven Rudolph, and Committee Members Eugene Burk and Charles Stanislawski.
2017 U.S. Open Polo Championship® Winners: Valiente (Adolfo Cambiaso, Diego Cavanagh, Matias Torres Zavaleta, Bob Jornayvaz). ©David Lominska
A young player at Twin City Polo Club. ©Moon Lai Photography
Board & Staff Development Committee The Board and Staff Development Committee (BASDC) functions as the liaison between the Board of Governors and the USPA staff. The Committee’s mission statement encourages the Committee to make recommendations that will enhance the Association’s human relations and technology resources, board and staff member oversight, compensation, development and succession planning. The Committee also makes recommendations and endorsements for periodic strategic planning initiatives to further the Association’s goals and aspirations. The Committee membership includes voting and non-voting representation from various segments of the Association, including Marketing LLC, Polo Development LLC, Umpires LLC, USPA Services and the Executive 12
Committee. The USPA Board of Governors approves the Committee leadership and its voting membership. The Committee leadership and voting membership transitioned during the 2017 USPA Board of Governors and Annual Member
Meeting. The Committee’s opening agenda includes forwarding recommendations related to a major revision to the USPA Employee Manual, review of USPA Officer duties and responsibilities, review of staff job descriptions, titles and positions on the USPA organizational chart, review and implementation of best corporate practices, review of the USPA “gifting” policy and responding to on-going directives and requests for information from the USPA Executive Committee and the USPA Board of Governors.
Roger Williams University players hug coach Ted Torrey while celebrating their semifinal win at the Menâ€™s National Intercollegiate Championships at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California.
The USPA Constitution Committee continued to work closely with the Quarles and Brady Law Firm in order to devise a plan to implement future changes to the governing documents. The Constitution Committee dictated a consolidation of the Constitution and By-Laws, which they will assess in 2018. Throughout the course of 2017, Quarles and Brady Law did an extensive review of the current Rule Book to identify any inconsistencies with the governing documents. After recognizing the discrepancies, it was determined that the best course of action for the future changes involved developing a timeline for 2018 to establish a longterm solution reconciling the Rule Book with the Governing Documents. The Committee will consider revising the USPA Rule Book to eliminate inconsistencies and ambiguities, revise internal references (that are no longer accurate following the consolidation), and incorporate matters from the Constitution and By-Laws that may better fit in the Rule Book. A draft of the changes is projected to be presented to the Board and Delegates for preliminary review in early spring of 2018. 13
The magnificent Mount Rainier presides over the Seattle Polo & Equestrian Club in Enumclaw, Washington. ©Salinas Holcomb
Club & Membership Administration Committee The newly created Club and Membership Administration Committee started the year working diligently to bring clubs into compliance for the April Board of Governors Meeting. A total of 271 clubs were reviewed and presented to the Board at the April meetings. During the USPA Board of Governors and Annual Member meeting in September, thirteen clubs were moved from Provisional Active to full Active Status. During this time, the Committee also agreed to adopt Polo Development LLC’s Club Tier System to evaluate new and existing clubs, based on each club’s ability to grow the sport of polo. This program aids in determining the benefits clubs receive, such as umpire support and Polo Development Initiative funds. 14
Barbeque at Twin City Polo Club in Maple Plain, Minnesota. ÂŠMoon Lai Photography
Throughout 2017, the Committee reviewed and approved 11 new clubs. The process for club approvals has been streamlined such that clubs are aware of all supporting documents they are required to submit in order to apply. This process ensures that only fully-functioning polo clubs equipped to grow the sport of polo are presented to the USPA Board for their approval. The Committee will continue with its mission to review and evaluate all new club applications as well as all existing clubs.
The OKC Polo Club barn in Jones, Oklahoma. ÂŠMichelle La Vasque.
Equine Welfare Committee In 2017, the Drugs and Medications Subcommittee executed a complete review and overhaul of the Equine Drugs and Medications Rules and testing program. Headed by Dr. Mike Manno, DVM, the rules were clarified and a new step-by-step procedure was created describing exactly how the testing process takes place. The Committee hopes that by clarifying the process and rules, testing will continue more efficiently than ever before.
Throughout the year, the Committee received a small number of reports on equine abuse and neglect. Each of these cases warranted an indepth investigation and a small subcommittee was created to review each case and determine if any action was required. In most cases, the group decided to proceed by educating the
members with new and improved methods of horse care. The Committee plans to work on a list of topics they feel could be made into educational articles for Polo Playersâ€™ Edition magazine. At the USPA Board of Governors and Annual Member Meeting in September, the Board appointed Dr. Manno, as the new Committee Chairman. Dr. Mannoâ€™s background
as a veterinarian and experience in polo makes him an excellent candidate to chair the Committee. Dr. Manno plans to focus on the Drugs and Medications Program as a main priority for the Committee. The Committee also wishes to thank Mark Sedacca for his years of chairmanship over the Equine Welfare Committee.
Finance Committee Chairman Samuel Ramirez Jr. competing in the U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship® at Country Farms Polo Club in Medford, New York.
Finance Committee The foundation of the USPA’s investment program includes adherence to the USPA’s approved Investment Policy, the Finance Committee working with an independent fiduciary investment consultant, Meketa Investment Group, and the custody of funds at Wells Fargo bank. During 2017, $8,100,000 was added to the USPA’s investment portfolio, using a Dollar-Cost Averaging (DCA) program of $675,000 monthly. The same DCA amount will be maintained for 2018. DCA funding is derived from the differential between royalty income received from USPA Global Licensing and the amount required to subsidize USPA program operations.
PCO Final Farmers & Merchants Bank Champions Nico Escobar, Felipe Vercellino, Lucas Criado, Danny Walker and USPA Governor-at-Large Dennis Geiler.
In 2017, the Finance Committee and Meketa Investment Group further enhanced the USPA’s investment program by adding active management strategies for bank loans and bonds, which should provide downside protection and the potential for an enhanced return over bond indices. Investments continue to experience positive growth, with returns of approximately 13% for 2017. Early in the budget process for both years 2016 and 2017, the Finance Committee addressed the Association’s long-term goal of increasing the investment balance to an amount capable of selffunding operating subsidies of the USPA and its related entities as well as the importance of following the USPA’s 2015 selffunding mandate. The cornerstone of investment growth is in managing the amount required to subsidize program operations and the expected royalty revenues, which funds the DCA program designed to enhance returns through market cycles.
At the 2017 USPA Board of Governors and Annual Member Meeting in September, the Finance Committee recommended USPA Board approval of the Proposed 2018 USPA Budget at an operating subsidy level of $11,130,173, a $585,799 reduction, or 5%, from the amount originally proposed, with plans for another reduction of up to 10% for the 2019 budget year. This recommendation was based on lower than expected royalty income for the current year due to market conditions. At the 2016 USPA Annual Meetings, the USPA Board tasked the Finance Committee with researching, developing and drafting guidance for policies and procedures for use in large dollar asset purchases and/or entity acquisitions. A subcommittee was established for this purpose, resulting in a recommendation at the 2017 Annual Meeting to require a supermajority vote for any large dollar expenditures or purchases.
Tomas Garcia Del Rio during the East Coast Open at Greenwich Polo Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. ÂŠMarcelo Bianchi
High-Goal Committee The USPA High-Goal Committee met monthly through the course of 2017 to discuss the pertinent issues that arose for high-goal polo. The Committee is comprised of a broad representation of all entities that influence high-goal polo. Two professional players and two team owners are elected to the Committee by their peers. A high-goal club manager is assigned by the Committee Chair. Additional representation is appointed to act on behalf of Marketing LLC, the Umpires LLC, and the USPA Rules Committee. Terms for the elected officials rotate on a yearly basis; one team owner and player remain on the Committee, while the other two seats run for election. The 2017 election was held at the beginning of the year for the team owner and the player/manager that were on their rotation year. Jeff Hildebrand was elected to continue to serve as a team owner alongside Marc Ganzi, and Chris Stratemann was elected as a team manager to serve alongside Roberto Zedda. 20
Gillian Johnston during the Ylvisaker Cup at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. ©David Lominska
The Committee discussed indepth the on-going issue of developing sponsors into highgoal polo in order to retain the highest level of polo in the United States. Throughout the course of the year, the Committee looked at economic models from various clubs on presenting opportunities to potential sponsors. The Committee then drafted a proposal for team owner development to be considered for future USPA budgeting. One of the most heavily-discussed topics involved the goal level of the national 26-goal tournaments. The High-Goal Committee spent a significant amount of time polling team owners to weigh the opinions of those directly involved with the potential idea of lowering the tournaments. A High-Goal Tournament Level Subcommittee was formed to analyze the findings and make a recommendation to the Tournament Committee for the U.S. Open Polo Championship®, the USPA Gold Cup®, the Butler Handicap, and the C.V. Whitney Cup, beginning in 2019. At the USPA Board of Governors and Annual Member Meeting, the Subcommittee recommended to the Tournament Committee that all of the tournaments be lowered to 18-22 goals in 2019, in the hope that the tournaments will be more accessible to all interested in playing. During the Annual Member Meeting, the recommendation passed with Board approval. The Committee also discussed the concept of a two player aggregate handicap not to exceed 17-goals. The aggregate handicap concept was tabled for further discussion.
The Committee worked with Umpires LLC on various issues throughout the year. Following the conclusion of each high-goal tournament in Florida, a survey was sent to the participants asking feedback on officials. Umpires LLC also drafted a transparency policy to be presented. Other projects throughout the year included revising the High-Goal Committee Policy to open the Committee to one more player/manager and one more team owner. The High-Goal Committee concluded the year hosting an election in compliance with the revised HighGoal Policy.
Jeff Hall runs flat out during the Pacific Coast Open at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California. ©David Lominska
Arena 10-goaler Tommy Biddle Jr. prepares for a backshot down the boards, U.K.â€™s Ed Banner-Eve close behind during Townsend Cup competition.
International Committee International Polo in 2017 started off strong. In January, the John R. Townsend International Challenge Cup was played at the WestWorld Equidome in Scottsdale, Arizona, in conjunction with the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction. A 20goal arena match, the tournament is played between the United States and the United Kingdom every other year. The rivalry between the two countries has been fierce and 2017 competition proved to be no exception. Team USA was represented by Tommy Biddle Jr. (10-goals), Shane Rice (7-goals) and Steve Krueger (4-goals). The U.K. brought in Max Charlton (9-goals), Jonny Good (8-goals) and Ed Banner-Eve (5-goals) to compete for the prestigious title. Both teams made impressive high-speed plays throughout the match with multiple two-point shots from the arena.
The USA edged out the U.K. taking the Townsend Cup with a final score of 18-16. Steve Krueger, a member of Team USPA, was named Most Valuable Player. The USA will travel to England in 2018 to play for the Bryan Morrison Trophy, the counterpart to the Townsend Cup. The Federation of International Polo (FIP) awarded the XI FIP World Polo Championship Zone “A” Playoffs to the USPA which were held at the end of April. To prepare for the event, the USPA sent Team USPA members to train in Sydney, Australia, to focus on team dynamics and establish the best combination of players to represent the country in the Zone “A” Playoffs. After the training period, it was determined that the ideal team would consist of Felipe Viana (5-goals) Geronimo Obregon
Florida. The first game of the qualifier pitted Mexico against Guatemala. Mexico defeated Guatemala with a final score of 10-9.5. Later in the week, USA and Guatemala faced off and USA arose victorious, winning with a commanding score of 10-6.5. The final game between USA and Mexico was played on the esteemed Field 1 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. Both countries arrived prepared to compete for the chance to play in the XI FIP World Polo Championship. In the final chukker the score was tied 7-all, but USA furiously battled for two more hard-earned goals. With a final score of 9-7, the United States earned a ticket to represent Zone A and compete in the XI FIP World Polo Championship in Sydney,
Team USA for the XI FIP World Polo Championship Sydney in Australia (Matias Gonzalez, Jesse Bray, Jim Wright, Felipe Viana)
(4-goals), Herndon Radcliff (2-goals), and Remy Du Celliee Muller (3-goals), coached by Joel Baker; alternates for Team USA included Jesse Bray (5-goals), Patrick Uretz (4-goals), Jared Sheldon (4-goals) and Daniel Galindo (2-goals). The preliminary rounds of the tournament were held at the Port Mayaca Polo Club in Okeechobee,
Australia, in October. Due to scheduling conflicts, not every USA Zone “A” Playoff team member was available to return to compete for the World Championship title. Coach Joel Baker utilized additional Team USPA members to bring together a revised team to train at Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Florida, at the beginning of October;
Felipe Viana and all members of the USA XI FIP World Polo Championship team were also members of the Association program Team USPA.
the team consisted of Felipe Viana, Jesse Bray, Matias Gonzalez (2-goals), Jim Wright (2-goals), and Daniel Galindo. Carlucho Arellano also joined the team as a 5-goal alternate and assistant coach. For two weeks before departing for Australia, the team played and trained at Grand Champions Polo Club which provided a solid platform to compete against veteran players to improve their skills. The USA drew a tough bracket and faced off against Argentina in the first match of the XI FIP World Polo Championship at the Sydney Polo Club in Sydney, Australia. In the final chukker the USA rallied, but fell short to Argentina with a final score of 12-9.5. The USA bounced back with victories against Australia and Spain in the following days. Their record gave them the opportunity to play England in the Bronze Medal match. England and USA played an intense game leading to a sudden-death overtime. England was the first to score, claiming the Bronze Medal for their country. Argentina played Chile in the final of the XI FIP World Polo Championship, which also ended in sudden-death overtime, in which Argentina was crowned the World Champions. Overall, the tournament was highly competitive with amazing horses donated by the Australian polo community. The USPA will continue to pursue international opportunities in the future. 23
Courtney Asdourian prepares for a backshot during the U.S. Open Women’s Handicap hosted by Houston Polo Club in Houston, Texas. ©Kaylee Wroe
National Handicap Committee Throughout 2017, the National Handicap Committee made improvements to the system of handicapping for all members. The addition of women’s arena handicaps required an expansion of the online voting system to allow voting across all four committees (National Handicap Committee, Arena Handicap Subcommittee, Women’s Arena Handicap Subcommittee, Women’s Outdoor Handicap Subcommittee). A new system was also created which allows Club Delegates to submit their club recommendations through an online form, which automatically updates online voting pages. Moving these procedures online streamlined the process, making it easier for delegates and handicap voters to submit their information.
Julia Smith carries the ball on the nearside during the Women’s Arena Handicap Final held at Virginia Polo Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. ©Anna Purdy
The Arena Handicap Subcommittee continued to be more active than ever, implementing a “Plus One Handicap Stimulus,” which raised all members rated between B(-1) and 3-goals by one goal to help with the compression. While the Committee recognizes that the adjustment will take time to iron out, the result was beneficial, resulting in more participation in arena polo across the country. The Committee met in early November to review the handicap recommendations and discuss changes. A record of 452 members
without current arena handicaps were recommended to receive a handicap by their Club Delegates. The first year of women’s arena handicapping led to increased participation in women’s arena tournaments. After the first meeting of the Women’s Arena Handicap Subcommittee, a number of ladies were raised to handicaps of five and above. The women’s outdoor handicaps also continues to thrive, providing an even playing field across the country as well as in competitions internationally.
Handicapping is one of the most important aspects of the Association, as it is a players’ “ticket” to participate in competiton ranging from low-goal club tournaments to high-goal national tournaments. Proper handicapping ensures that the playing field is competitive and fair across the board. Each of the handicap committes and subcommittes have dedicated, knowledgeable volunteers who help to review, discuss and vote on the handicap changes multiple times per year.
Over 10,000 spectators at the inaugural Gladiator Poloâ„˘ match at Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina.
Zone 3â€™s Mackenzie Weisz keeps his eye on the ball as he taps it through the air to goal during the National Youth Tournament Series Championship.
Rules Committee In order to improve and unify the game around the world, the Rules Committee continued to collaborate with the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) and the Argentine Association of Polo (AAP), an alliance developed over the past two years. Changes for the year were slight, including only minor adjustments in wording. The International Rules Subcommittee is investigating a restructure to the formatting of the rules for better flow and a reduction in redundancies.
The Rules Committee met in Sheridan, Wyoming, over the summer and made revisions to the Outdoor, Arena Rules and Tournament Conditions. One of the major changes that will be realized in 2018 involves the implementation of the final chukker ending at seven minutes under USPA Rules, as is recognized under the International Rules. The Arena Rules Subcommittee worked diligently throughout the year to refine and revise the Arena Rules and Tournament Conditions. The Subcommittee, led by Chris Green, met regularly to discuss the newly-formed Optional Arena Tournament Conditions. Optional Arena Tournament Conditions are designed to increase the pace of arena polo, thereby making it more appealing to spectators. In April, the Subcommittee made their
recommendation to the Board for revisions for the remainder of the year. The Board approved the revised Optional Arena Tournament Conditions which went into effect on June 1, 2017. The Arena Rules Subcommittee was also successful in creating a set of alternative format arena polo rules which could be used for beach, snow, and stadium polo, beginning in 2018. During the USPA Board of Governors and Annual Member Meeting, the Committee welcomed Chris Green as the new Rules Committee Chairman. Tom Gose will continue to serve on the Rules Committee as a member. His experience and value to the Committee is unparalleled and the Committee would like to thank him for his leadership.
Alan Martinez aims for goal during the U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship® Final at Country Farms Polo Club in Medford, New York.
Mike Azzaro leads the field during the National Twenty Goal® Final at Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Florida. ©ChukkerTV
Jason Crowder sporting a trendy new helmet design during the Pacific Coast Open at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California.
Safety Committee The Safety Committee tested eight helmet models during the summer of 2016 and tested an additional three helmet models in 2017 against the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) ND050 Polo Standard and ASTM F 1163 Equestrian Standard. The testing was conducted at Southern Impact Research Center, a company based in Rockford, Tennessee, specializing in sport equipment testing. The combined results from 2016 and 2017 were presented to the membership; while there is not yet a helmet that passes the rigorous NOCSAE standard, the quality of helmets available on the market appears to be improving.
During the course of 2017, the Safety Committee worked with the Rules Committee to draft and pass a rule that will enforce the use of a NOCSAE approved helmet at all USPA events beginning June 1, 2019.
“ KC Krueger represented the United States in the Kings Head Hotel Ladies International at Cirencester Park Polo Club in England. ©Tom Reynolds
The new rule requiring anyone mounted at a USPA event to wear a helmet took effect beginning in 2017. Players were required to wear helmets during warm-ups and grooms were required to wear a helmet while mounted during games. During the course of 2017, the Safety Committee worked with the Rules Committee to draft and pass a rule that will enforce the use of a NOCSAE
approved helmet at all USPA events beginning June 1, 2019. The launch date of the new rule should provide helmet manufacturers sufficient time to create a NOCSAE approved helmet for production and sale. The Committee also decided that beginning in 2018 there will be a question added to the annual membership renewal form regarding sport related injuries. All renewing members will be asked if they have
had a polo related injury within the last year. If members answer yes, they will then be asked to fill out the USPA Injury Survey to provide additional information. Additional data about the types of injuries occurring in the sport will help the Committee determine if there are ways of preventing injuries thereby making the sport safer.
Grand Champions Polo Club (Wellington, FL) resurrected the National Twenty GoalÂŽ in 2011 and have fielded four to six teams over the past six years. ÂŠChukkerTV
Tournament Committee The Tournament Committee met throughout the year to discuss the awarding of tournaments in order to give an optimal experience for all those involved. The committee considers the location, participation and other aspects when assessing the ideal location to award National Tournaments for the following year.
The major tournament that was up for discussion for 2017 was the awarding of the 2019 U.S. Open Polo Championship®. Both the International Polo Club and Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Florida, applied to host the most prestigious tournament in the United States beginning in 2019. The tournament has been played at the International Polo Club since 2004, however with the club under new ownership there were some uncertainties. The Tournament Committee listened to verbal presentations by both clubs and then received a written RFP outlining the future plans for the clubs with the tournament. At the fall Tournament Committee meeting, by majority vote the committee recommended to the USPA Board of Governors the awarding of
the 2019-2021 U.S. Open Polo Championship® to the International Polo Club. The Board supported the recommendation. In addition to awarding host sites, the Tournament Committee had a discussion on the goal level for the tournament following the recommendation to lower the 20-26 goal national tournaments to 18-22 goals from the High Goal Committee. The Tournament Committee also supported the recommendation and proposed the lowering to the USPA Board of Governors. The Board of Governors approved the recommendation to lower the 26goal tournaments beginning in 2019. The I/I Committee came forward to the Tournament Committee with the concept for two new circuit tournaments to be created for 2018, in order to have more club level
Beautiful trophy spread for the U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship® Final at Country Farms Polo Club in Medford, New York.
tournaments available for school clubs and alumni. The Tournament Committee approved the creation of the Circuit I/I Alumni Tournament and the Circuit JV and Club Level Tournament. Both tournaments have specific tournament conditions tailored to the event. The committee continues to look at improving the prestige of the tournaments and enhancing the sport for upcoming years. 33
Team USA at the Kings Head Hotel Ladies International at Cirencester Park Polo Club in England (Courtney Asdourian, KC Krueger, Maureen Brennan, Erica Gandomcar-Sachs). ©Tom Reynolds
Women’s Committee The committee has continued to focus on its mission statement and encourage and increase participation of women in all aspects of the USPA. They have continued to highlight and support women both on and off the field. The death of Sunny Hale in February was a huge loss to the entire sport of polo and especially all of the women who looked to her as a mentor, role model, pioneer and supporter of women’s polo.
The second annual USPA Woman of the Year Award was presented at the finals of the U.S. Open Polo Championship® in Wellington, Florida. The award was given posthumously to Sunset “Sunny” Hale for her lifelong contributions to the sport of polo, the creation of the Women’s Championship Tournament Series and for being a role model for all women participating in the sport. Two international invitations were presented to the USPA, one for Argentina and one for England. The committee helped to support the teams so they could travel and participate in these events. In May, Tiffany Busch, Kristy Outhier, Julia Smith and Maureen Brennan represented the United States and competed in the Copa de las Naciones in Argentina, where the finals were played on Field 1 of Palermo. In June, a team
comprised of KC Krueger, Maureen Brennan, Erica Gandomcar-Sachs and Courtney Asdourian then participated in the Kings Head Hotel Ladies International against England in June. The committee launched a “Women’s Newsletter” this year which is a way for all news about women’s polo to be maintained in a central location. The newsletter was released in “This Week in Polo.” This newsletter will continue to include stories from women’s events, a calendar of upcoming tournaments and any information the committee wishes to communicate to the USPA membership. The Women’s Arena Handicap was launched this year in an effort to make women’s arena polo more competitive and encourage increased participation. With the addition of this new handicap, two new women’s arena tournaments were held. The Women’s Arena
Open (18- 22 Goals) and Women’s Arena Handicap (12-16 Goals) took place in Charlottesville, Virginia at the Virginia Polo Club. Both tournaments attracted four competitive teams for a weekend of intense women’s arena polo. A number of Intercollegiate/ Interscholastic alumni played in the events, which is a demographic the committee hopes to increase. The Houston Polo Club women’s tournaments have continued to grow, with 79 participants across their five flights this year. The U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ has three teams and the U.S. Open Women’s Handicap brought in eight teams. This year players ranged from 12 to 65 years old and came from not only across the country, but around the world to compete.
Mia Bray (left) and Kendall Plank (right) race downfield during U.S. Open Women’s Handicap competition at Houston Polo Club in Houston, Texas. ©Kaylee Wroe
Communications & Marketing The Communications Department is dedicated to highlighting USPA tournaments, improving the sport related side of uspolo.org and spreading awareness of polo through digital and print platforms. 2017 marked the first year the USPA managed and operated an in-house livestream platform, the USPA Polo Network. The Associationâ€™s website has continued to develop and grow to suit the needs of members and players. In 2017, uspolo.org was visited by 1.4 million people and operated as the hub of information for members and polo fans. The Association made many improvements in 2017 to bring more awareness to Member Clubs, players, horses and stakeholders to the polo community as well as the rest of the world. Both digital and print efforts highlighted Member Clubs, including tournament coverage, online club profiles, tournament detail pages, club videos and club brochures. Players, horses and stakeholders were emphasized on the livestream broadcasts as well as social media, short films and web articles to educate and inform those who were interested in learning more about the lifestyle behind the sport.
USPA POLO NETWORK The USPA’s first livestreaming platform launched at the beginning of January on uspolo.org. It was a successful first year with ChukkerTV serving as the Association’s production company and advisor. All livestreamed games were added to the USPA Polo Network YouTube Channel enabling videos to be added to the on-demand video section of uspolo.org. The first half of the year, the USPA Polo Network livestreamed exclusively on uspolo.org with an average of 500800 unique viewers per game and a peak of over 4,000 for the U.S. Open Polo Championship® Final. In contrast, the last six months of 2017 games were livestreamed on uspolo.org, the USPA Facebook page and the USPA Polo Network YouTube Channel. By livestreaming on three platforms, the average unique viewership increased dramatically to 3,819 with a peak of over 10,000 for the first game of the East Coast Open. In total, the USPA livestreamed 19 tournaments, 125 games and had a total of 229,144 unique visitors to the USPA Polo Network games in 2017.
SHORT FILMS The USPA partnered with Horseplay Productions to create content that supplements the livestreaming of polo matches as well as the Association’s social media platforms in the form of short films. The short films have piqued the interest of the polo community and those outside of the sport of polo. The USPA has launched four films: Flat Out, Jumping into Polo, Pursuit of a Polo Player and Arena Polo. These four short films on social media alone had a total of 299,161 unique views. The volume of views and positive engagement on social media is staggering and more videos are projected to be released in early 2018.
1.4M UNIQUE VISITORS TO USPOLO.ORG +437%
In 2017, the USPA offered Member Clubs a 50% match up to $5,000 to create a video highlighting their facilities, polo school, tournaments, spectating and more. This great resource was used by clubs to market their services to the polo community and fans of the sport. The USPA worked with Empire Polo Club (Indio, California), Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club (Carpinteria, California), Greenwich Polo Club (Greenwich, Connecticut), Arizona Polo Association (Arizona), Port Mayaca Polo Club (Okeechobee, Florida), Country Farms/Bethpage/Meadowbrook (Long Island, New York) and California Polo Club (Los Angeles, California). The club videos were used in between chukkers and during halftime on the USPA Polo Network reaching tens of thousands of people. In 2018, the USPA will continue to work with Member Clubs to film promotional club videos.
The USPA and Global Licensing (USPAGL) launched the new website July 2016, and after six months uspolo.org continued to rank poorly in search results for main keywords: USPA, USPA Polo Network, US polo, sport of polo, etc. The USPA and USPAGL contracted a search engine optimization (SEO) company to improve organic ranking. Since search engines determine the placement for keyword searches, the SEO company attends to both “On-Page” factors and “Off-Page” factors that increase the popularity for the best placement on search results pages. SEO campaigns typically run for 12-16 months before companies see improvements in rankings. The website immediately began to see positive results from the campaign with a major increase in website traffic compared to the previous year.
At the end of August, the newest feature of the uspolo.org website, Club Profiles, was introduced to all Active and Affiliate Member Clubs. The Association’s website receives thousands of daily visitors and Club Profiles were created to leverage this traffic to bring more exposure to clubs nationwide and internationally. Each profile is customized with a unique image header, club logo, contact information, social media accounts, club bio, 12-15 club features, Certified Polo Instructors, USPA tournaments and more. Club Profiles are housed in the Sport section of uspolo.org and users are able to quickly view clubs in their surrounding area as well as conduct a search of all Member Clubs. Active or Affiliate Member Club’s profiles will automatically appear on the website; the majority of information is compiled from the internal database and additional information can be submitted with an easy-to-use JotForm. Club Profiles are expected to launch February 2018.
CERTIFIED POLO INSTRUCTOR PROFILES
Belinda Brody, on her horse Feather, approaches the ball at full speed during the Sarasota Women’s Challenge Final at Sarasota Polo Club in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. ©Eric Nalpas Photography
As the industry standards for teaching the sport of polo increase with the popularity of the Certified Polo Instructors (CPI), a Polo Development LLC program, the USPA recognized the importance of providing a prominent space on the website to showcase all Certified Polo Instructors. The CPI landing page on uspolo.org features all current Certified Polo Instructors with an easy-to-search toolbar, offering clubs and individuals stress-free
access to instructors in their area. CPI Profiles include an instructor headshot, home-base location, contact information and a brief bio allowing prospective students to find an instructor that best suits their needs. CPI Profiles will also link directly from the Club Profiles they are associated with, placing special emphasis on those clubs that are striving to raise the level of polo instruction for the continued sustainability of the sport.
SOCIAL MEDIA The USPA uses social media to connect to fans of polo, both inside and outside the membership, through engaging photos, videos, member generated content and written articles housed on uspolo.org. Using content marketing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the USPA continues to connect with existing and potential players and sport enthusiasts around the world by sharing the unique stories and lifestyles of the game. Keeping on trend with other sports and equine accounts, USPA social media is always evolving and changing in regards to style and post type to foster growth and remain relevant in an everchanging environment. Many new additions were rolledout on the USPA social media channels in 2017. The major changes include: Facebook feed of livestreamed games on the USPA Polo Network, short films produced by Horseplay Productions which have been the top performing posts, Instagram stories for behind-the-scenes coverage of events such as Gladiator Polo™, Florida high-goal, the Pacific Coast Open, Federation of International Polo (FIP) Zone A
The all-American team Santa Maria de Lobos (Erica Gandomcar-Sachs, Clarissa Echezaretta, Tiffany Busch, Dawn Jones) competed in the first Argentine Ladies Open. ©Sebastian Lezica
Playoffs, National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) and the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™, and Instagram story takeovers by Team USPA members, USA players in the FIP Zone A Playoffs, professional players and professional grooms.
reach while steadily growing in followers. All livestreamed events of 2017 were “live tweeted,” providing chukker-by-chukker updates, as well as behind-the-scenes photos and videos with the newly-launched hashtag: #USPALive.
The United States Polo Association Facebook page continues to house the largest following out of the three social media platforms used, with a strong emphasis placed on sharing articles that directly drive traffic to uspolo.org. This emphasis placed on sharing timely coverage, information and interesting stories continues to drive engagement and reach, as the platform steadily grows.
The Association’s Instagram account, @uspoloassociation, continues to be the fastest developing platform, having grown to an impressive 17,571 followers. The addition of Instagram Stories have enabled the Association to give followers exclusive behind-thescenes coverage of tournaments and strong visual content is highlighted each day to drive followers to uspolo.org.
The Twitter platform, @PoloAssociation, has maintained engagement and
NEWS ARTICLES ON USPOLO.ORG The USPA places a strong emphasis on reporting, sharing and explaining concepts, stories, and news, pertinent to the membership and audience for the sport nationwide. Articles written by staff, USPA committees and outside media outlets are housed on uspolo.org, providing the basis for all communications ranging from social media to the weekly member email titled “This Week in Polo.” Out of the 395 USPA tournaments awarded in 2017, 143 were covered in articles on uspolo.org. Additionally, articles housed on uspolo.org were often republished in prominent industry publications such as ClickPolo USA and Hurlingham Polo Magazine, therefore extending the scope and reach of all USPA publications. Many additions and improvements were made to online articles in 2017 such as player quotes in game recaps, improved stats in game coverage, photo captions when possible identifying people and horses, improved layout with pull quotes, proper picture sizes, links and formatting.
EMAIL MARKETING The weekly member email titled “This Week in Polo” has grown this year to include stories, videos and information on all aspects of the sport. The sports industry average for emails similar to “This Week in Polo” have an average open rate of 26 percent and an average click rate of three percent. The Association’s email communications for 2017 averaged a 37 percent open rate and a 33 percent click rate. A wide range of content was 40
included in the weekly email blast in 2017. The email is set up newsletter style, with links to articles and videos hosted on uspolo.org. The USPA Communications staff works closely with clubs, members, LLCs, committees and board members to help facilitate the flow of information to the members of the Association through the weekly email. Committee, delegate and club
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C L I C K R AT E
information; along with safety, equine welfare, elections, and Constitution and By-Law changes are included. Polo Development LLC and Umpires LLC contribute a significant amount of information that keeps the membership informed on all of the USPA programs and clinics offered. Coverage for all national and select circuit and sanctioned tournaments go in each weekly email, along with
Intercollegiate/Interscholastic and NYTS tournament updates. Media articles written by outside publications are included along with in-house written interest stories.
TOURNAMENT DETAIL PAGES In January of 2017, Tournament Detail Pages were unveiled on uspolo.org just in time for the high-goal season in Florida. A one-stop-shop for USPA national tournaments (12-goals and above), the detail pages serve as a valuable resource for polo fans and players alike. Complete with recent tournament news articles, a thorough tournament history, teams and rosters with player headshots, a schedule of tournament games with team or club logos, video footage of USPA Polo Network livestreamed games and a final section dedicated to the venue—they have everything a person would need to know about
a particular tournament. These pages also serve as fantastic avenues to easily publicize the sport with all the necessary information for media in one place. Tournament detail pages are linked directly on the homepage of uspolo.org, depending on the current national tournaments in play across the country.
TOURNAMENT SIGNAGE In 2017, the USPA increased branding at tournaments livestreamed on the USPA Polo Network. Working with the International Polo Club Palm Beach (Wellington, Florida), Country Farms Polo Club (Medford, New York), Aspen Valley Polo Club (Carbondale, Colorado), Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club (Carpinteria, California), Greenwich Polo Club (Greenwich, Connecticut), and Virginia Polo Inc. (Charlottesville, Virginia), to include signs, banners and flags at the venue. Both a mix of USPA Polo Network and generic USPA signs were placed around the fields and arenas. The USPA Polo Network included “livestreaming on uspolo.org” as well as #USPALive so fans can interact with USPA social media accounts. The generic USPA banners included #LearntoPlay for non-polo players to visit uspolo. org and find a club in their area. The USPA will continue to brand more tournaments in 2018.
GRAPHIC DESIGN Graphic design for the sport and the Services Department was previously outsourced to an agency. In 2017 the USPA received brand guidelines from Global Licensing that allowed
several graphic design projects to be done in-house. The guidelines have provided a consistent look and feel for material to keep both the sport and brand consistent. By designing collateral in-house, the USPA has saved over $60,000 in 2017. Major graphic design projects
TOURNAMENTS COVERED ON USPOLO.ORG
include: Annual Report, tournament signage, Club and Spectator Guide brochures, social media graphics, Rulebook, ad placement, USPA Polo Network, FIP brochure, U.S. Open Polo Championship® Press Kit, and more.
SPECTATOR GUIDES AND CLUB BROCHURES In May of 2017, The USPA launched spectator guides available to all Member Clubs. A Club Brochure and Polo 101 Spectator Guide (indoor and outdoor) were designed in-house to reflect USPA branding and provide necessary information in a professional, easy-to-read format. This marketing collateral provides clubs with a tangible hand-out for Sunday games, polo events and/or community outreach. The brochures were designed as a useful tool to brand clubs and generate interest, while also giving spectators a take home souvenir. Each brochure can be customized with club information, logo and photos, and sent to the club in a printable PDF format. Many Member Clubs utilized the
brochures at their events during the summer, and the USPA hopes to continue to provide more clubs with this useful tool in the coming year.
USPA DOCUMENTARY The USPA contracted Selkirk Pictures & Enterprises to produce a comprehensive documentary film about polo in the United States. Titled, “The Perfect Match: The History of Polo in the United States,” the film’s objective is to educate the audience on the sport’s 128-yearold history in the United States. The film will focus on the sport’s origins in Persia, its arrival on U.S. shores via England; as well as the families who earnestly and enthusiastically supported the sport throughout the years. Ultimately, the film seeks to break down some of the stereotypes associated with polo to reveal the diverse backgrounds of the men, women and children from all corners of the United States who revel in playing this dynamic sport. Polo is international by nature. However, with the film, Selkirk Pictures have focused on its rich history and strong following in the United States. Selkirk Pictures has unearthed heartfelt stories of players driven by a passion for the game. The feature documentary will alter previous notions and spark a new curiosity for the sport played by equine and human athletes. The film will be approximately 80 minutes long and will be premiered in various cities across the United States beginning in the spring of 2018. It will then be followed by submissions to film festivals across the U.S. and internationally, and distributed across television and internet platforms.
Team USPA’s Jesse Bray coaching Corey Williams at NYTS Championships.
Polo Development LLC USPA Polo Development, LLC encompasses 34 programs all designed to enhance the “Polo Experience” and grow sustainable polo clubs across the country. The programs are broken down into Club Development, Intercollegiate/ Interscholastic and Player Development. The Polo Development team, comprised of staff, chairs, and volunteers, brings unique and valuable experiences to the table, keeping in mind the common goals of developing, instituting and managing the core Polo Development programs offered to the membership by the USPA. The support offered by the Polo Development team to USPA Member Clubs has been called “an invaluable resource,” with numerous club managers, owners and instructors taking advantage of the open-door policy that has been established under the leadership of Executive Director Kris Bowman. Across the country, club leaders utilize the cumulative knowledge among the Polo Development team if they have questions when considering restructuring their business 42
model, and make Polo Development the first call when looking to fill a position at their club. The launch of the Certified Polo Instructor Program in the winter of 2015-2016 was a major accomplishment for the Polo Development LLC team, as it created a new standard for the polo community. The corresponding manual is an invaluable resource, combining polo knowledge with safety standards, which will help educate the next generation of
polo players and enthusiasts. The program thrived in 2017 with 85 instructors (and growing) involved in the program. Additionally in 2017, Polo Development launched a new program: Player Performance Analysis. This cutting edge program now bridges the gap of polo and science, bringing the world of sports analytics to polo. By utilizing research conducted in conjunction with Auburn University Swing and Movement Lab (an Olympic
Nico Escobar competing for NYTS Zone 3
training center), polo now has standards for swing and riding mechanics. From this partnership, Polo Development has launched a USPA Swing and Riding Analysis Program with a Pre-Riding WarmUp fitness regimen to create success for every player in the sport. The expansion of the National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) is also new for 2017. A second level of NYTS competition, called the East vs. West Challenge, was offered at the Championship featuring eight
CPI Certifier, Erik Wright at IMF
top All-Stars who did not exceeded A.5 goals, with two female players per team represented. The Polo Development LLC programs are constantly evolving and changing to fit the needs of the USPA members and clubs. The thousands of members touched by these programs every year all contribute to the goal of growing stronger players and clubs across the country, promoting the future of polo in the United States.
2017 USPA Intercollegiate International Challenge Cup (Jillian Tietje, Dalton Woodfin, Julia Smith, Liam Palacios.)
Club Development The Club Development Department of the USPA Polo Development, LLC team is committed to USPA Member Clubs, and individuals, who are dedicated to growing the sport of polo at the grassroots level and beyond, by identifying and sharing â€œbest practices,â€? sustainable solutions and networking opportunities. In 2017, the Polo Development Initiative (PDI) again saw record interactions with developing polo clubs across the country. The PDI Program received 115 applications requesting over $1,200,000 in support. The PDI Subcommittee, a committee of the Club and Membership Development Committee, chaired by Denny Geiler, awarded 104 grants totaling $750,000 in funds. PDI clubs account for roughly 60% of new members joining the USPA. For 2017, PDI introduced a 100% online application and reimbursement process. Additionally, three new aspects of PDI were launched: a requirement for PDI recipients 44
to notify their membership and social media following of the award; a series of Memorandum of Understanding with specific awardees that need additional guidance and feedback; and a monthly PDI-specific newsletter highlighting the successes of PDI clubs. The Club Development Department looks forward to helping more clubs reach their potential in the future. The Polo Development Intern Program is aimed at identifying young, talented individuals looking to pursue a career in polo, and providing them with the knowledge, skills and abilities to succeed. In 2017, the Club
and Membership Development Committee established the Intern Subcommittee, chaired by David Ragland. Fifteen young aspiring polo professionals participated in the Polo Development Intern Program, many of which were graduates of the Intercollegiate/ Interscholastic Program. Devan Groves, a junior at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, participated in the Intern Program and is working towards obtaining her Certified Polo Instructor Certification before she graduates and hopefully pursues a career in polo. The Club Polo 101 Program is part of the USPA Polo Development,
Emmalyn Wheaton of Detroit Polo Club receives Polo Developmentâ€™s IMF 2017 Club Excellence Award, LtoR: Charles Smith (PD Chairman), Chrys Beal (PD Player Development Chairman), David Wenning (PD I/I Chairman), Emmalyn Wheaton (Detroit Polo Club), Kris Bowman (PD Executive Director), Justin Powers, (PD Club Development Director).
Annual Instructor and Manager Forum 2017, growing the sport of polo, one club at a time.
LLCâ€™s dedication to the growth of polo, offering programs designed to help polo clubs of all sizes with club development. 2017 marked the development of the Polo Club Governance and By-Laws Guide, a written resource aimed at standardizing the organizational structure of polo clubs across the country. The Polo Club Governance and By-Laws Guide is available on the uspolo.org Bookshelf as well as on poloskilz.com.
The PDI Subcommittee, a committee of the Club and Membership Development Committee, chaired by Denny Geiler, awarded 104 grants totaling $750,000 in support.
2017 Women’s National Intercollegiate Champions: University of Virginia (Mary Collins, Katie Mitcham, Julia Smith, Jessica Schmidt, pictured with coach Lou Lopez).
Intercollegiate & Interscholastic The 2017 Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) Tournament Season was another year for the history books. A total of 97 teams competed across four divisions, and the USPA crowned national champions Garrison Forest School in the interscholastic girls’ division; Maryland Polo Club in the interscholastic open division; the University of Virginia in the women’s intercollegiate division; and Roger Williams University in the men’s intercollegiate division. For the fourth year of its existence, the USPA’s Middle School League took to the scene in the fall, offering 14 tournaments across the country for players ranging from fifth through eighth grade. New host sites welcomed young players including Barrington Hills Polo Club (Wauconda, Illinois), Bluewater Creek Polo Club (Killen, Alabama), Prestonwood Polo Club (Oak Point, Texas), Bloomfield Polo Club (Greenfield Center, New York) and Lakeside Polo Club (Lakeside, California). The USPA I/I program hosted the fifth annual International 46
Intercollegiate Challenge Cup in conjunction with the John R. Townsend International Challenge Cup in Scottsdale, Arizona, during which a USA intercollegiate team competed against a British intercollegiate team. Representing the USA in 2017 was Dalton Woodfin from Texas A&M University, Liam Palacios from Cornell University, Jillian Tietje from Cal Poly and Team USPA member Julia Smith from the University of Virginia. The USA squad was victorious, placing USA in the lead 3-2 in the history of the event. The fourth annual National
I/I Alumni Tournament—the Feldman Cup, was hosted by the Maryland Polo Club in Jarretsville, Maryland. Two flights were held to accommodate the 18 players who participated. Of the 18 participants, 17 were first-generation polo players who jumpstarted their polo careers in the I/I program. College Polo 101 celebrated a strong eighth year, hosting collegiate student representatives from 11 intercollegiate programs from across the country. The event consisted of a three-day intensive workshop with local professionals, guest speakers and USPA staff.
2017 also saw the continuation of “College Polo 101 – On the Road Series,” which sent USPA staff and contract clinicians on-site to visit collegiate programs.
Yi Ting-Lu (Southern Methodist University). The award is automatically renewable for four years, provided the students meet the eligibility requirements.
Continuing to educate and train, 2017 saw the second annual I/I Tournament Manager’s Boot Camp, which brought together 12 top managers for a weekend of intensive training. The camp’s events included an overview of new I/I Tournament Conditions, equine welfare, concussion training and down horse training through the Massachusetts ASPCA.
The I/I Start Up & Enhancement Program which offers funding assistance, fundraising assistance and umpire reimbursement, continues to be a very popular program. 2017 saw the second edition of the Intercollegiate Club Catalog, a resource available in print and online, that showcases each
In 2017, 97 interscholastic students earned their varsity letter in polo through the USPA’s Interscholastic Varsity Letter Program. Student athletes qualify for the program by putting in 100 hours of riding and stick-andballing, regular season game play, and tournament participation. Students earn a varsity patch, pin and bars for each eligible year. Students are recognized on USPA media platforms as well as within their individual schools. The USPA Intercollegiate Polo Scholarship saw strong results in its third year. The USPA awarded seven new collegiate scholarships to student athletes in 2017, based on academics, and participation and excellence in I/I polo, totaling 17 for the 20172018 academic school year. 2017 recipients include: Anders Carlton (University of Connecticut), Jake Klentner (Southern Methodist University), Ashley Dillard (Texas A&M University), Emma Glynn (Texas A&M University), Demitra Hajimihalis (University of Virginia), Raeann Magill (Colorado State University), Mia Sweeney (University of Virginia), Hannah Roman (Cornell University) and
It was also required that all horses partake in a Pre-Tournament Horse Inspection that was performed by an on-site licensed veterinarian; the horses were checked for soundness and an appropriate Body Condition Score. New Initiatives for 2017 include an emphasis on coach education. The I/I program worked with the Certified Polo Instructors (CPI) Program to create I/I Fast Track Clinics to offer a local opportunity for I/I coaches to begin the process
USPA Men’s NIC Winners Roger Williams Ted Torrey, George Hempt, Pedro Cabrera, Daymar Rosser, Brandon Rease.
USPA Open NIS Champions - Maryland Polo
2017 Feldman Cup Winners Berube Polo Nate Berube Liv Berube and Posey Obrecht. ©Mike Ryan
USPA GNIS Champions - Garrison Forest ©Julie Bennett
of the 38 USPA Intercollegiate College Programs. Equine welfare continues to be at the forefront of the I/I program. All horse owners appearing in I/I sanctioned events must provide the USPA, prior to tournament time, a proof of negative coggins, current health papers, and documentation of any host-site health requirements, such as specific equine vaccines required.
of CPI certification without the hassle of travel. New Coaching requirements include CDC Heads Up Concussion Training, United States Olympic Committee Safe Sport Training, a signed USPA I/I Coaches Code of Conduct, and for 2018, coaches will be required to complete the CPI Safety Tutorials available on poloskilz.com.
2017 NYTS Championship Players at Santa Barbara Polo Club.
TEAM USPA Team USPA consists of 35 active members and 44 alumni. Ranging from ages 18-30, this group of young American polo players were selected by the USPA based on their talent, enthusiasm and dedication to the sport of polo. By providing mentorship opportunities with top American professionals, Team USPA members learn from the success of their predecessors. Team USPA members also participate in a variety of clinics, and attend lectures on topics ranging from natural horsemanship to business and communication skills. Members of Team USPA aim to maximize mentorship opportunities across the United States and in Argentina. Showcasing a dynamic group of members, the Team USPA program is now tailored to provide personalized mentoring and training for each individual, while also covering a broad range of topics applicable to all players, instructors and managers in polo. In addition to mentored playing and training opportunities, each player completes a core 48
curriculum in the first year, consisting of umpire training, equine welfare education, and a Polo Business 101 course, before deciding on one of the three training programs. In the first year of the program, each member establishes their goals and selects their desired track. First year core requirements include: participation in Team USPA Tryouts/Clinic, a high school
diploma or equivalent, umpire certification, branding and media training, Body Condition Scoring, communication training, finance management and goal setting. The three individual tracks (Industry Professional, Professional Player, Executive) are designed to provide a personalized mentoring and training experience to maximize the potential of each member in
the polo industry. The Industry Professional Track is designed for aspiring green horse trainers, managers, veterinarians, instructors and coaches. Team USPA members in the Industry Professional Track are required to attend the Instructor and Managers Forum, mentor with an industry professional in their chosen field, learn about sales and negotiating, and complete a Polo Business 101 course. The Professional Player Track is designed for Team USPA members who intend to pursue a career as a professional player. Team USPA members in the Professional Player Track work with a mentor to find the highest-level training and playing opportunities available. Team USPA members in the Executive Track work on building their resume in their chosen industry while maintaining connections with polo. Executives are placed in internships in their desired industry through the polo network, allowing them to stay actively involved in the sport as they develop their professional career. The new Team USPA Executive Training Program has been designed to grow and retain Team USPA members who have decided to pursue non-polo careers through job opportunities, mentorship and club access. Linking Team USPA members to polo playing business owners, the USPA encourages the development of future sponsors and experienced low-goal amateurs, as well as growth in one of the most essential, but struggling, demographics of the sport. Todd Thurston and Pierce Alworth were placed at Joel Baker’s wealth management firm in Santa Ynez, California, during
the summer. Thurston accepted a full-time position with the company. Team USPA alumni Jesse Weaver has championed the Executive Training Program effort and looks forward to seeing the program grow. Team USPA added five new members to the program in 2017 and they did not disappoint, taking advantage of many industry opportunities throughout their first year. Santi Torres applied to Team USPA in search of offthe-field mentoring and training
Florida. He also served as a mentor for two Young Player Outreach (YPO) clinics in Wellington, Florida, and in Sheridan, Wyoming. Team USPA anticipates a bright future for 2-goal player Matias Gonzalez. Gonzalez competed in the National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS), participated in an Umpires LLC intensive boot camp training program in Aiken, South Carolina, and represented the USA as a member of the XI FIP World Polo Championship team in Sydney,
Team USPA Chair Jimmy Newman and Joe Meyer present Costi Caset with the High-Goal Achievement Award.
Australia, in October.
Team USPA’s U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ team (Courtney Asdourian, Julia Smith, Tiamo Hudspeth, Marissa Wells).
opportunities. Torres quickly put his teachings to work after tryouts, searching for a local business to co-sponsor a team for the 50K 12-goal tournament held at Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington,
Matt Coppola spent July and August playing with Restoration Hardware, under the guidance of mentor Adam Snow, in Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club’s 16-goal season in Carpinteria, California. He is focused on climbing the ranks as a professional player and plans to train in Argentina before the Florida HighGoal Season. Juddy Carlton joined Coppola on an 8-goal team for the spring season in Houston, Texas. He is eager to complete the Certified Polo Instructor Program and continue to improve his handicap. Even with a busy school schedule, Marissa Wells managed a month-long mentorship with veteran Team 49
Tenzin Tognini (Zone 4) and Nico Escobar (Zone 3) competing in the 2017 National Youth Tournament Series Championship at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California.
USPA member, Felipe Viana at Myopia Polo Club in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. She also participated in the Umpires LLC intensive boot camp training program in Aiken, South Carolina. Additionally, Wells represented Team USPA in the program’s first U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ team in Houston, Texas. The wide variety of talents, career goals and backgrounds represented by Team USPA members highlights the importance of Team USPA’s new Three-Track Training Program. By first completing the core curriculum and working closely with a mentor in the first year, Team USPA helps guide each member down a successful career path in the sport of polo. Team USPA members continue to give back to the polo community through the (NYTS) program, Young Player Outreach and
volunteering their time at local clubs. All members in the Professional Player Track volunteered at NYTS events in 2017 and two Team USPA members served as coaches at the National Championship. Team USPA has successfully maintained an international presence since the 2015 FIP World Polo Championship in Chile. Team USPA players represented the USA in the XI FIP World Polo Championship in Sydney, Australia, garnering a fourth place finish. Additionally, Jesse Bray received the Sportsmanship Award. Following the XI FIP World Polo Championship Daniel “Cacho” Galindo received a job offer to play in Australia. Highlighting women’s polo, Julia Smith traveled to England to compete in the Thai Polo Club Ladies International Diamond Jubilee Trophy, she also traveled to Argentina for the first Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo Femenino. Several other Team USPA members played in
the Argentine season at various levels, including Jared Zenni who participated in the Copa Municipalidad and Copa Camara de Diputados. Team USPA awarded Felipe Viana with the 2017 $10,000 Team USPA Equus & Co. Award for truly embodying the principles of Team USPA. An ambassador for polo, Viana exhibits dedication to the sport and consistently gives back at USPA clubs. Costi Caset was awarded the 2017 $10,000 High-Goal Achievement Award. Caset’s accomplishments, winning the Pacific Coast Open, where he received both Most Valuable Player and Best Playing Pony accolades, as well as a successful 20-goal season at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, Florida, proved him worthy of the award. For the first time, Team USPA entered a team into the U.S Open Women’s Polo Championship™.
TEAM USPA PROFESSIONAL PLAYER AND HIGH-GOAL OPPORTUNITIES
Team USPA members competed in the 2017 International Polo Club Palm Beach 20-Goal Season.
Team USPA members rated 5 goals or higher in outdoor.
Team USPA members competed in the 12 and/or 16-goal at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club (Carpinteria, California).
Team USPA members won the 100K 0-26 Goal World Cup at Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Florida.
Active Team USPA members with umpire certification.
Percent of Team USPA members that played in a 12-goal tournament polo or higher in 2017.
for all the participants. The four coaches spent a significant amount of time reviewing game tape and refining game strategy with their teams in both levels. All the hard work paid off and it was evident the teams progressed over the course of the weekend. The games were livestreamed on uspolo.org and are available in the archives of poloskilz.com.
USPA REIMBURSABLE CLINIC PROGRAM The USPA Reimbursable Clinic Program is designed to help USPA clubs work one-on-one with qualified instructors to run successful clinics that will meet the needs of players. In 2017, the program was restructured, and thirty-four clubs received funding for clinics. Team USPA members at 2017 Tryouts.
NATIONAL YOUTH TOURNAMENT SERIES Yet another successful NYTS Season is in the books. The 2017 NYTS season boasted 93 teams and more than 250 participants, demonstrating that nearly one third of NYTS players competed in more than one qualifier. Thirtyseven qualifiers produced 166 All-Stars who were eligible to be selected for the Championship. The addition of a second level raised excitement amongst players in the qualifiers and Championship. The 16 NYTS Championship participants and the eight East vs. West Invitational players hailed from 17 different clubs across the country. These 24 youth players participated in NYTS qualifiers at 21 outdoor polo clubs throughout the season.
The 2017 NYTS National Championship for the Cecil Smith Cup was played at the picturesque Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club over Labor Day weekend. Zone 3 (Mackenzie Weisz, Lucas Escobar, Nico Escobar, Justin Daniels) representing the Florida Circuit, rode away with the win. The second level East vs. West Challenge demonstrated the talent of eight additional players, including four females. The first day of play for the second level included a coached practice similar in style to practices held during Team USPA tryouts. The mounted coaches offered direction and guidance throughout the chukkers, providing real-time feedback for players. All 24 competitors participated in the Player Performance Analysis. Having 24 top youth players competing at one venue created a fantastic learning environment
YOUNG PLAYER OUTREACH POP-UP CLINICS The YPO Pop-Up Clinic program grew in popularity during the course of 2017. Clinics were held in Wellington, Florida, Indio, California, Aiken, South Carolina, and Sheridan, Wyoming. YPO targets young, talented players offering a highly-structured clinic program led by senior Team USPA members, former high-goal players and USPA staff. Clinics include lectures, coached practice games, swing and riding analysis, chalk talks, and stick-and-ball sessions with professional players. Participants learn the ins and outs of successfully running a barn while improving their skills on the field.
CERTIFIED POLO INSTRUCTORS
CERTIFIED POLO INSTRUCTOR PROGRAM Established in late 2015, the USPA Certified Polo Instructor (CPI) Program has seen immense growth with 62 instructors currently certified, encompassing all 13 USPA Circuits. The CPI program continues to see vast interest from instructors in all areas of polo ranging from seasoned trainers and coaches to new instructors getting their start and volunteers looking to grow the sport. To date, the average age of CPI Certified Instructors is 41, with 46% women and 54% men. The youngest instructor certified is 23, and the oldest 67. Combining Honorary and Certified Instructors, 85 total, the USPA CPI Program has the following number of instructors per circuit: BORDER: 1
Martin Estrada, Kylie Sheehan, Max
Kim Maguire, Dan Keating, Danny
Scheraga, Paul Kuhn, Patrick Marinelli,
GREAT PLAINS: 1
David Eldredge, Bob Ceparano, Tony
Nadir Khan, Scott Lancaster
Condo, Branden Van Loon, Mario Dino, Mark Tashjian, Jennifer Williams, Peter
Cindy Halle, Juan Martinez-Baez,
HAWAIIAN ISLANDS: 1
Trevor Wells, Jenny Schwartz, Hesham
Ynyr “Khai” Agon
PACIFIC COAST: 15
Elezaby, Minnie Keating, Juan Vidal,
Megan Judge, Heather Perkins, Julie
Savannah Kranich, Frank Stubblefield, Ed
Empey, Kelli Newton, Corky Linfoot, Kathy
Little, Emmalyn Wheaton, Sheila Everett,
Linfoot, Domingo Questel, Fran Finato, John
Emily Dewey, Juliette Powers, Jorge
Westley, Erik Wright, Kimo Huddleston,
Vasquez, Kit Collins, Scott Weir
Rege Ludwig, Jeff Scheraga, Parker Scott
John Gobin, Juan Salinas, Elizabeth Beer, Lou Lopez, Lezlie Hiner, Ed Armstrong, Posey Obrecht
PACIFIC NORTHWEST: 4 Elizabeth Holson, Henri du Toit, Ernie Darquea, Megan Flynn
ROCKY MOUNTAINS: 1 Erica Gandomcar-Sachs
SOUTHEASTERN: 11 Tiger Kneece, Kris Bowman, Cissie Snow, Sue Lukashevich, Samantha Uys, Ken Cresswell, David Brooks, James Armstrong, Frankie Questel, Adam Snow, Stuart Campbell, Robert Lyn Kee Chow
SOUTHWESTERN: 10 Josie Vidic, Barlee Flanders, Molly Musselman, Robin Sanchez, Ethan Galis, Mark Prinsloo, Carolyn Stimmel, Tom Goodspeed, Mike McCleary *Note: Throughout the course of the year many instructors travel between circuits.
In 2017 the program hosted four Certification Field Tests, one each in California and Indiana, and two in South Carolina. Certification Field Tests act as the final exam required for graduation from the program. Instructors teach three mounted lessons, one chalk talk/strategy lesson, and lead one mock coaching chukker. Additionally, the following prep material and coursework must be completed: Certified Polo Instructor Application Form, Certified Polo Instructor Knowledge Test, Rider, Facility and Equine Safety Tutorial, USPA Umpire Test (indoor or outdoor), Center for Disease Control: Heads Up Concussion Class, Polo Business 101, background check, and a CPR Certification. Furthermore, the program conducted five Instructor Skilz
Clinics in California, South Carolina, Connecticut, Florida and Texas. The Instructor Skilz Clinic is an indepth course designed to prepare instructors for CPI testing through understanding and implementing the six pillars of the program: horsemanship, teaching skills, polo knowledge, lesson/group control, professionalism and safety. In order to qualify to attend a Certification Field Test, instructors must score a six or above in each grading area of the program. The PoloSkilz Network (poloskilz. com) serves as the educational platform for the CPI program as well as houses hundreds of polo videos and text resources. USPA members are encouraged to visit the website, learn more about the program, and utilize all of the material, including educational videos, courses, tutorials and the Certified Polo Instructor Manual.
Team USPA members Geronimo Obregon and Santi Torres conduct Youth Player Outreach Clinic in Wellington, FL.
PLAYER PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS PROGRAM Established in 2016, the Player Performance Analysis (PPA) Program came to full fruition in 2017. The need and benefit of analysis in polo was apparent when looking at other sports globally. Baseball, hockey, golf and football have all seen major gains due to the use of performance analysis. In order to fill that need for polo, the USPA Polo Development, LLC teamed up with Auburn University’s Sports Medicine and Movement Lab, School of Kinesiology, based in Auburn, Alabama. Under the guidance of Dr. Gretchen Oliver, PhD, FASCM, ATC, CES, the goals of the partnership were comprised of creating the optimal riding positions, swing mechanics, and injury prevention, by studying and breaking down the mechanics of riding and swinging in polo. Through work with Dr. Oliver, Polo Development launched a program to benefit members with information and clinic resources to utilize findings. In order to validate lab research, which tested top women’s and men’s players from around the country including Maureen Brennan, Adam Snow, Julia Smith, Owen Rinehart and many others, Polo Development began field testing. 56
This, in addition to data initially collected beginning in 2015, provided Polo Development with a library of footage including 200+ swings on file. The first case study, hosted in Sheridan, Wyoming, featured nine players from the USPA Young Player Outreach program. The study lasted six weeks and combined an exercise regimen with riding and swing training. At the end of the study,
both polo professionals and the Auburn analysis team concluded that vast improvements were made to players’ performance in both ground exercises and on horseback. Based on this data, Dr. Oliver was able to develop a “Pre-Riding Warm-Up” as an activation activity for muscles used by polo players. By activating specific muscles before riding, players are able to utilize their strength and stability,
creating optimal performance. To take it another step further, Polo Development continued field research, launching a 12-week study with the interscholastic division of The Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, Maryland. Nine girls, both varsity and junior varsity, are currently participating in the newly developed USPA Pre-Riding Warm-Up. The study has already shown significant improvement in the initial weeks. To achieve proper swing mechanics, Dr. Oliver concluded that utilization of the kinetic chain and the ability to have pelvic stability are key. In order to build pelvic stability, all riders, regardless of age and talent,
should utilize the USPA Pre-Riding Warm-Up. To successfully bring this information to all polo enthusiasts, videos and the USPA Pre-Riding Warm-Up exercise guide have been created.
for success in swing mechanics. Each term is defined, accompanied by an image, and further supported online with a three to five second video of the movement exemplified by a professional in the sport.
Combining the Auburn research, field testing, and the protocols and procedures for successful filming of riders, has allowed Polo Development to bring the cuttingedge technology of sports analysis to polo. Elite clinicians, trained in all facets of the program, are available to host clinics. Resources are also available on poloskilz.com for players to explore the â€œhow toâ€? of Swing and Riding Analysis at their home club. A USPA Swing Glossary was developed covering key terms
Whether utilizing a USPA clinic or learning from resources available, Player Performance Analysis is a program from which all players can benefit, regardless of playing ability, ensuring that those who love the sport will successfully play for years to come with proper mechanics and injury prevention. Thank you to major contributors Adam Snow, Charles Smith, Mason Wroe, Justin Powers, Ethan Galis, Kris Bowman, Jenny Schwartz and Jess Downey.
Umpires LLC The principal responsibility of USPA Umpires, LLC is to recruit, train, and retain the very best professional and certified umpires for members. The polo landscape today is changing with increased emphasis on safety and enforcement of the rules. The role that officials play today is also evolving. Each year the demand from clubs and players for experienced umpires intensifies. Umpires LLC continually seeks out innovative solutions to build upon existing techniques, criterions and overall representation. Umpires LLC strives to have the finest umpires and training program in the world. Umpires LLC has been instrumental in bringing technology to the sport of polo. On-going training and education of professional umpires is aided with drone footage, GoPro cameras, and the use of Dartfish, an analysis company that provides breakdown of calls, non-calls and plays. In high-goal games, teams may request the use of an Instant Replay Official (IRO), who can then make the final call on a play that has gone back to the replay booth. Officiating umpires wear 58
radios during games keeping them in constant communication.
then able to recommend ratings for certified umpires.
Players wishing to become a certified umpire must pass an annual online test for either an outdoor and/or arena umpire rating. The tests now include several video questions. In 2017, there were 331 certified umpires, an increase of 10% from 2016. Staff, along with many professional umpires, conduct Rule Reviews and Umpire Clinics at Member Clubs throughout the year. During these events, umpires are
New for 2017, Umpires LLC hosted spring and fall Boot Camps in Aiken, South Carolina, for certified umpires interested in taking their officiating skills to the next level. Participants umpired alongside the professional umpires or watched and listened to their radio communication on the sidelines. Meetings off the field were compulsory, with rule reviews and â€œcatch-tapesâ€? of fouls and plays.
Maggie Mitchell with “TAPS” mother Deb Argel-Bastain and friends at the Santa Barbara Polo Club.
The PUMP/8 Program continues to excel with a growing number of clubs participating. For a fee of $500, a professional umpire is sent to a USPA club hosting a Circuit or National event 8-goals or under. The umpire’s salary, airfare, accommodations and car rental are covered under the program. Clubs are limited to three PUMP/8 events per year and are required to have a minimum of four teams participating. In 2017, umpires officiated over 110 PUMP/8 tournaments. The definitive success of the program lies in the opportunity for smaller clubs to experience professional umpiring. The genuine appreciation from these clubs demonstrates the benefit of the program. The UMP Reimbursement Program is focused on compensating a portion of umpire fees back to clubs that hire certified umpires. Each USPA circuit is allocated UMP
funds based on the number of Member Clubs, Registered Players and Affiliate Members within their circuit. $78,000 was budgeted for reimbursement to the 13 circuits of the USPA for 2017. Umpires LLC continued its success with the Intercollegiate/ Interscholastic (I/I) Program for the second consecutive year. Umpires LLC was responsible for assigning umpires for 121 games, including all the preliminary, regional and national games. Four I/I umpire clinics were scheduled across the United States in the fall of 2017 for all umpires officiating the 2017/2018 I/I season. Umpires LLC gives back by partnering with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). The mission of TAPS is to provide on-going emotional help, hope and healing to all who are grieving the death of a loved one in military service to the United States.
Umpires LLC was proud to bring a TAPS family to a game at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (Wellington, Florida) in April and another to a game at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club (Carpinteria, California) in July. All USPA professional umpires are members of National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). Each year the staff attends their annual summit. Impressed by the content of these meetings, Umpires LLC sent two professional umpires to the 2017 meeting. The theme for 2017 was “Driven by Data – Analytics Demographics Sports Officials.” This organization represents officiating at all levels and from all sports. In 2017, Umpires LLC’s professional umpires officiated over 2000 games, at over 95 USPA clubs with a team of 26 professional umpires.
USPA Global Licensing Inc. Regional polo development programs throughout the U.S. develop young players into high-level performers, and certified polo instructors create a stream of new players at USPA clubs. Sanctioned tournaments provide an arena for these new players and other USPA playing members to exhibit their skills to an ever-expanding audience. The opportunities to achieve accomplishments such as these are possible year after year, thanks to the royalties generated from U.S. Polo Assn. brand sales of the official licensed product of the USPA. To keep those royalties growing in 2017, USPA Global Licensing Inc. charted an aggressive plan to expand its global reach, increase brand awareness and convert fans of the brand into fans of the sport. Website and social media efforts, combined with strategic broadcasts and event opportunities helped bring the U.S. Polo Assn. brand and the sport into the hearts, homes and wardrobes of fans worldwide. 60
Thoughtfully selected events with which to partner and participate, and well-researched broadcast opportunities helped broaden poloâ€™s exposure and appeal to viewers from varied walks of life.
BROADCASTS AND EVENTS USPA Global Licensing Inc. aired three major broadcasts this year. The U.S. Open Polo ChampionshipÂŽ was broadcast on CBS in April and reached over 1.2 million households. The Julius Baer Dubai Gold Cup and the XI FIP World Polo Championship aired on Eurosport. This channel reaches 151 million homes in 54 countries and in
20 languages. The combined Eurosport broadcasts garnered 3.1 million household viewers, and the three broadcasts totaled 4.3 million household impressions in 2017, vastly surpassing the 2016 domestic broadcast numbers of 566k. The U.S. Polo Assn. brand also served proudly as the official apparel sponsor of the Federation of International Polo and as the official apparel supplier, outfitting teams from 19 countries that competed in five zones around the globe and the eight final teams that succeeded in making it to the XI FIP World Polo Championship. The partnership included official
W David Cummings Chairman
J. Michael Prince President/CEO
Robert Donahey Secretary/Treasurer
Gerry Aschinger, Thomas Biddle, Sr., George Dill, Jack L. Shelton, Charles E. Weaver Directors
Anthony Coppola (USPA President) Robert Puetz (USPA CEO) Ex Officio
team jerseys, equipment bags, hats and vests. Additionally, the U.S. Polo Assn. brand expanded its presence in Australia with a large footprint of merchandise for consumers, which was very well received. This helped USPAGL’s strategy of finding a new licensing partner in Australia. Other important initiatives and events in which U.S. Polo Assn. participated to further the connection with the sport of polo were the launch of Gladiator Polo™ in Wellington, Florida; gifts and equipment bags for the National Intercollegiate Championship; and outfitting all the players for multiple events, including the National Youth Tournament Series, the Armed Services polo match, Beach Polo Cup and the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships.
DIGITAL MEDIA AND GLOBAL BRAND AMBASSADORS Social media platforms are an outlet for connecting with consumers, and the
#RaiseYourGame digital campaign was a rallying cry designed to resonate with millennials. It reinforced the U.S. Polo Assn. brand’s authenticity by building stories around the “raise your game” theme, and by recruiting successful professional polo players Juan Bollini Jr. and Ashley Van Metre Busch to serve as global brand ambassadors. Online video ads featured Bollini and Busch, as well as fashion and travel influencer Kat Tanita, and food blogger Chungah Rhee. The brand ambassadors and social media influencers also provided organic support through their social media channels. This program was developed to connect a new audience to the U.S. Polo Assn. brand through key initiatives in the digital/influencer space.
U.S. POLO ASSN. BRAND GROWTH The U.S. Polo Assn. brand has seen significant sales growth since 2003, and this new strategy of connecting the brand to the sport of polo has seen positive growth and reach.
USPA Global Licensing Inc. initiated entry into the UK market with the introduction of a kids’ clothing line in London. A girls collection is scheduled to launch there in fall/ winter 2018, and babywear will be added in future seasons. 2017 saw the opening of a store in Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumen in Panama City, Panama, which marked the company’s first store in the world located inside an airport. The tourist industry has been a great market for our brand, and we see this as an exciting new opportunity. Three new licensing partners for U.S. Polo Assn. this year will expand the brand deeper into Asia. U.S. Polo Assn. brand children’s footwear, men’s and women’s apparel, and small leather goods were introduced in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Malaysia. U.S. Polo Assn.’s 49 global licensees have retail stores in over 144 countries and retail sales have reached $1.5 billion, with a goal of reaching $2 billion by 2025.
Board of Governors
Chip Campbell III
Samuel Ramirez, Jr.
Dennis L. Geiler
Stephen Orthwein, Jr.
GOVERNOR AT LARGE
Divisions, Committees & LLCs
USPA Mission Statement: The United States Polo AssociationÂŽÂ was organized and exists for the purposes of promoting the game of polo, coordinating the activities of its Member Clubs and Registered Players, arranging and supervising polo tournaments, competitions, and games and providing rules, handicaps, and conditions for those tournaments, competitions, and games including the safety and welfare of participants and mounts.
SERVICES DIVISION ARMED FORCES COMMITTEE
ARENA COMMITTEE Mission Statement: The Arena Committee is the successor of the Indoor Polo Association. Its mission is to manage arena polo within the USPA as well as organize, promote and develop arena polo with member clubs and players. The committee seeks to differentiate arena polo as an exciting, competitive, and alternative version of the sport polo, as well as an invaluable teaching polo format. The committee’s initiatives and responsibilities include arena rules, arena handicaps, high goal arena polo, arena tournaments, international arena polo, I/I, and women’s arena polo. CHAIRMAN: Daniel Coleman
VICE CHAIRMEN: Ed Armstrong, Robin Sanchez
EXECUTIVE STAFF: Robert Puetz
Susan Present, CPA, CGMA, CFE
Eugene Burk, Charles Stanislawski
Matt Baran and James Dodge
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Rob Phipps, Steve Walsh, Peter Rizzo, George Dill, Allen Hoe, Pat Nesbitt, Joe Meyer, Steve Armour, Dan Colhoun, Marissa Tanner, Barbara Donahue, Mike
Lindsey Ebersbach, James Dodge
Yermakov, Elena Wicker, Tony Yahyai,
ARENA HANDICAP CHAIRMAN:
Dean Daggert, Parker Scott.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Daniel Scheraga, David Eldredge, Dennis Geiler, James DeAngelis, Karl Hilberg, Lisa Nousek, Louis Lopez Jr., Mark Gillespie, Megan Judge, Robert Ceparano, Robert Lyn-Kee-Chow, Robin Sanchez, Rodney Fragodt, Tom Goodspeed, Tony Yahyai, Sarah Coleman, Raymond Noh, Jorge Vasquez, Jennifer Williams, Chris Green, Jillian Bowman, Aimee Waters, Mark Bellisimo, Tommy Biddle
Mission Statement: The purpose and primary function of the USPA Audit Committee shall be to assist the Board of Governors of the USPA (the “Board”) in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities for (a) the integrity of the USPA’s financial statements, (b) the USPA’s compliance with any legal and regulatory requirements, (c) the independent auditors qualifications and independence, and (d) the performance of the USPA’s internal audit function and that of the independent auditors. (From the Audit Committee Charter)
Karl Hilberg and Jake Flournoy
Mission Statement: The mission of the USPA Armed Forces Polo Committee, in recognition of the great history and connection between the sport of polo and our Armed Forces, seeks to create opportunities to support and perpetuate the tie between the armed forces and the polo communities through the promotion of events supporting the military community and, “The development of partnerships to increase military participation in the sport of polo.”
BOARD AND STAFF DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
CLUB AND MEMBER ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE
Mission Statement: The mission of the USPA Board and Staff Development Committee is to, on an ongoing basis, study and offer recommendations on the establishment and continuous improvement of an efficient, staff-driven organizational structure. The Committee shall provide advice and support to the Association’s Chief Executive Officer in USPA personnel matters and offer advice and support to the Association’s Chairman in all matters relating to USPA Board of Governors and USPA Limited Liability Companies development. The Committee shall study USPA mission statement objectives and make recommendations to achieve stated goals, correct deficiencies, and ensure consistency, continuity and clarity in all areas of the Association.
Mission Statement: The mission of the Club and Member Administration Committee is to review and evaluate all new club applications to ensure that the applying club complies with the current standards set forth in the Constitution and the policies approved by the Board of Governors. That these clubs are strong enough, have the growth potential and longevity to support the sport of polo and strengthen the Association by its membership and deserve the rights and privileges afforded to member clubs. It is also the committee’s duty to review and evaluate all existing clubs on an annual basis, to confirm their compliance with the existing rules and policies, in order to make recommendations to the Board of Governors on the status of member clubs in the Association.
The Committee’s responsibility (concerning the USPA and subsidiary Limited Liability Companies), includes, but not limited to: human resources, information technology, staff oversight, staff compensation, staff development and succession, strategic planning, Board development and succession planning, and Board and staff evaluation and interaction.
CHAIRMAN: Steven Armour
EXECUTIVE STAFF: Robert Puetz STAFF: Lindsay Dolan
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Edward Armstrong, David Brooks, Avery Chapman, Sheila Everett, George Dill, Denny Geiler
USPA Chairman Chip Campbell presents Joseph Meyer with a bronze thanking him for his service as Chairman.
CONSTITUTION COMMITTEE Mission Statement: The mission of the Constitution Committee is to advise the USPA Chairman, Executive Committee, Board of Governors, Delegates and staff about all aspects of the USPA Constitution, By-Laws, Strategic Planning and Governance. The Committee shall prepare appropriate language to affect changes to the USPA Constitution and By-Laws as directed by the Board of Governors, other Committees, or on its own initiative. The Committee shall prepare other resolutions, opinions, and documentation as required to affect efficient and stable Governance. CHAIRMAN:
Leighton Jordan, Peter Rizzo
Joe Muldoon, Steve Armour, Avery
Liz Brayboy, Sheryl Sick, Daniel Walker
Chapman, Charles Smith, Bill Kirton 65
EQUINE WELFARE COMMITTEE Mission Statement: The Equine Welfare Committee recognizes the value of the polo pony to the sport and advises the Association and its Membership on all aspects of the care and well-being of polo ponies. The Committee develops policies and procedures and executes programs to ensure that polo ponies are treated in accordance with humane guidelines and the highest standards of care. CHAIRMAN: Mike Manno, DVM
EXECUTIVE STAFF: Robert Puetz
STAFF: Lindsay Dolan
SUBCOMMITTEE: Equine Awards:
Mission Statement: The mission of the Finance Committee is to provide the USPA Chairman and Board of Governors direction for the fiscal responsibility of the USPA. This is achieved by a regular review of the organization’s financial statements along with the approval of the annual budget with submission to the full Board of Governors for approval, ensuring all are consistent with the strategic objectives and mission of the USPA. The Finance Committee also seeks to prudently manage organizational investments consistent with the duties outlined by the USPA’s Investor Policy and Guidelines.
Samuel Ramirez, Jr.
Marc Ganzi, Jeff Hildebrand, Chris
Stratemann, Roberto Zedda, James
Newman, Thomas Gose, Scott Devon,
Anthony Coppola, Sam Ramirez,
Chip Campbell III, Avery Chapman, Jake
Stewart Armstrong, Paul Jornayvaz,
Flournoy, Dennis Geiler, Thomas Gose,
Daniel Walker, Stephen Orthwein Jr.,
Joseph Muldoon, James Parr, Hutch Radcliff,
Maureen Brennan, Tom Gose
Robert Puetz – USPA CEO (Ex-officio)
Equine Welfare Publications: Aimee Waters
Distress Fund: Dawn Weber
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Neil Agate, Avery Chapman, Keller Henderson, Sue Lukashevich, Kirsten Ludwig, Bill Mackey, Mary Muldoon, Clint Nangle, Gwen Rizzo, Robin Sanchez, Katherine Snow, Lydia Sudick, Kathleen Timmons, Aimee Waters, Dawn Weber
STAFF: Robert Puetz
Mission Statement: To advise the Chairman and BOG and committee chairs on all aspects of high goal polo in the US. To be the communication channel between the USPA and High Goal community including club managers, High Goal sponsors, and High Goal Professionals. To grow and promote the sport of polo at its highest level around the US. CHAIRMAN: Maureen Brennan
EXECUTIVE STAFF: Robert Puetz STAFF:
NATIONAL HANDICAP COMMITTEE
Mission Statement: The mission of the International Committee is to build and improve USPA membership by facilitating and promoting international polo events, including tournaments, umpire and player clinics to foster international fellowship and sportsmanship. The committee will co-operate with National Polo Associations, The Federation of International Polo, The PanAmerican International Polo Foundation, The United States Olympic Committee and all other interested qualified groups or individuals in achieving its goals.
Mission Statement: The mission of the Handicap Committee is to fulfill the highest standards of selecting an Outdoor/Indoor Handicap in service to any USPA member through the essential practices of honesty and integrity as we utilize the approved system of peer evaluation/ observation by the Delegates of USPA Member Clubs, approved Circuit Handicap Chairman’s, selected National Handicap Committee members and approval of the USPA National Handicap Chairman. To have regular meetings and procedures in selecting handicaps for those USPA members who have competed in the sport of polo in order to create the fairest possible competitive environment within the structure of the USPA and to make those handicaps publically available to all members.
Mission Statement: The Nominating Committee shall consist of seven Registered Players, five of who shall be members of the Board of Governors and four of who shall be Circuit Governors. This committee will meet annually to consider and nominate a slate of Officers. This slate of Officers is to be conveyed to the Secretary of the Association at least two weeks in advance of the Board of Governors meeting prior to the Annual Meeting.
CHAIRMAN: Joseph Meyer
EXECUTIVE STAFF: Robert Puetz
STAFF: Lindsey Ebersbach COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Ed Armstrong, Paige Beard, Bruce Colley, Melissa Ganzi, Glen Holden Sr., Robert Leary, Stephen Orthwein Jr.,
CHAIRMAN: EXECUTIVE STAFF: Robert Puetz
Gontard, Dr. Richard Caleel, Doreen
Ladin, Mark Gillespie, Patrick Nesbit,
Robert Miller, John Klopp
EXECUTIVE STAFF: Robert Puetz
STAFF: Lindsey Ebersbach
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Jake Flournoy, Mark Sedacca, Chrys Beal, Robert McMurtry, Erica Gandomcar-Sachs, Craig Duke
Stephen Orthwein Jr.
Sam Ramirez Jr., Wesley Ru, Paul von
Tony Yahyai, Chris Dawson, Joel Baker,
Arena Handicap: Tom Goodspeed
Women’s Handicap: Maureen Brennan
19 and Under Handicap: Mark Sedacca
RULES/RULES INTERPRETATION COMMITTEE Mission Statement: The mission of the Rules Committee is to advise the USPA Chairman and Board of Governors about all aspects of the USPA Rules and Rules Interpretations. CHAIRMAN: Chris Green
VICE CHAIRMAN: Tom Gose
Pete Alworth, Carlucho Arellano, Kelly
Beal, Tommy Biddle, Graham Bray,
Charles Muldoon, Robert Puetz
Maureen Brennan, Mike Carney, Joey
Casey, Anthony Coppola, Herman-Louis
Steve Lane, Lindsey Ebersbach
DeCoite, George Dill, Luis Escobar,
Thomas Goodspeed, Robert Jornayvaz, Adren Nance, Charles Muldoon, Steve Lane, Martin Pepa, Billy Raab, Peter Rizzo, Trey Schott
Mark Sedacca, Melanja Jones, Mike Carney, Stewart Armstrong, Toby Wayman, Carlucho Arellano, Jeffrey Scheraga, Billy Mudra, Nic Roldan 67
ARENA RULES SUBCOMMITTEE: CHAIRMAN: Chris Green
EXECUTIVE STAFF: Charles Muldoon, Robert Puetz
STAFF: Lindsey Ebersbach, Bradley Biddle
COMMITTEE: Carlucho Arellano, Tommy Biddle, Emily Dewey, David Eldridge, Amy Fraser, Tom Goodspeed, Steve Lane, Robin Sanchez, Danny Scheraga, David Offen
STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE Mission Statement: Under development. CHAIRMAN: Stewart Armstrong
STAFF: Lindsey Ebersbach
SAFETY COMMITTEE Mission Statement: The mission of the Safety Committee is to advise the USPA Chairman and Board of Governors of all safety aspects of polo through injury research, injury prevention and testing of protective gear. As well as communicate safety information and safety recommendations to polo players and polo officials. CHAIRMAN: Dr. Thor Norregaard
EXECUTIVE STAFF: Robert Puetz
STAFF: Lindsay Dolan
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Chrys Beal, Tony Coppola, Avery Chapman, Robert Donahey, Robin Sanchez, Peter Rizzo, Robert Donahey
EXECUTIVE STAFF: Robert Puetz STAFF: Lindsey Ebersbach, James Dodge
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Anthony Coppola, Charles Smith, Peter Poor, Daniel Walker, Ed Armstrong,
James A. Newman, Jessica Bailey,
Robert Puetz, Mike Carney, Britt Baker,
Jennifer McLeavy, Maureen Brennan,
Stephen Orthwein Jr., David Cummings,
Stephen Orthwein, Jr., Steve Armour,
Maureen Brennan, Marc Ganzi, Julio
Graham Bray, Toby Wayman, Stewart
Arellano, Liz Brayboy
Armstrong, Melanja Jones
WOMEN’S POLO COMMITTEE
Mission Statement: To promote the sport of polo in the United States through responsible consideration and recommendation for the approval of tournament matches and events. It is the Tournament Committee’s responsibility to preserve the history and tradition of the sport of polo; encourage interest in the sport of polo; elevate the standards of play; promote involvement and the overall vitality of the game; and stimulate the growth of tournament play at all levels by hosting USPA Sanctioned, Circuit, and National tournaments at USPA member clubs. The Tournament Committee promotes an emphasis on sportsmanship, fairness and safety, while expanding the opportunities for professionals, amateurs, umpires, clubs, sponsors and spectators.
Mission Statement: The mission of the Women’s Polo Committee is to encourage and increase the participation of women in all aspects of the USPA, to improve the standard of women’s polo throughout the USA and to facilitate the communication and networking of women in polo all over the world.
EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS: Tom Gose, David Wenning
CHAIRMAN: Erica Gandomcar-Sachs
EXECUTIVE STAFF: Robert Puetz STAFF: Lindsay Dolan
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Chrys D. Beal, Maureen C. Brennan, Cecelia Cochran, Lesley Ann FongYee, Monica Ganley, Meghan Gracida, Stormie Hale, Clint Nangle, Arshia Rios, Joanne M. Smicklas, Lynn Thompson, Gillian Young
2017 April Board of Governors Meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida.
USPA MARKETING, LLC
USPA POLO DEVELOPMENT, LLC
Mission Statement: The USPA Marketing, LLC will provide and coordinate marketing and public relations services to the USPA; it will evaluate, and when appropriate, will develop and capitalize on income derived from USPA sport and brand sponsorships; and, it will market and promote the sport and brand of the United States Polo Association through any and all means possible, to include television and internet broadcasting opportunities.
Mission Statement: Develop, institute, and manage USPA programs that grow polo through club and player development. Polo Development provides education, development, and assistance thereby fortifying clubs and membership. This includes the training and development of players of all ages, training, educating and certification of instructors, manager training, and the administration and evaluation of the PDI assistance to clubs. These programs will be the positive face of the USPA to clubs, schools, and members across the country.
Mission Statement: The mission of the Club and Membership Committee is to promote the sport of polo in the United States through conceiving and developing programs and strategies to increase membership, improve the quality of the polo experience by its membership and to retain clubs and membership. This will be done by creating programs such as Polo Development Initiative, Regional Polo Centers, and other strategic club and membership programs. Once developed these programs and strategies are disseminated to the membership through our network of clubs.
EXECUTIVE STAFF: Executive Director (TBD)
USPA STAFF: Matt Baran
USPAGL STAFF: Shannon Stilson, Marianne Johnson
BOARD MEMBERS: Leighton Jordon, Erica Gandomcar-
CLUB AND MEMBERSHIP DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Chrys Beal, Dennis Geiler, David
Wenning, David Ragland, Julio Arellano, Tommy Wayman, Robert Puetz – USPA CEO (Ex-officio)
STAFF: Justin Powers
Sachs, Scott Devon, Rosemary
Wayman, Melissa Ganzi, Chris Green,
Lesley Ann Fong-Yee, Steven Armour,
Robert Puetz – USPA CEO (ex officio)
Chrys Beal, Scott Brown, Max Duarte, 69
Julie Empey, Diego Florez, Kyle Fargey, Llene Tognini, Thomas Goodspeed, Jef Graham, Glenn Hart, Jim Huber, Andrew Jasco, Megan Judge, Richard Lara, Scott Lancaster, Erik Wright, Chip McKenney, Mark Nance, Margaret Paur, Amir Ahmad Pirasteh, Robin Sanchez, Scott Walker, Ed Armstrong, Paul Jornayvaz
INTERCOLLEGIATE/ INTERSCHOLASTIC COMMITTEE Mission Statement: The mission of the Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) Committee of the United States Polo Association (USPA) is to promote and grow the sport of polo by providing maximum exposure to the sport; recruiting collegiate and scholastic institutions; coordinating activities of member schools and players; providing for organized competition including sponsoring and administering regional and national tournaments with an emphasis on sportsmanship, fairness and safety; and by effectively utilizing funding for the benefit of I/I activities.
TEAM USPA COMMITTEE:
Mission Statement: To cultivate and promote junior polo throughout the United States by providing the organizational structure to support junior polo clinics, tournaments, and international competition. The program will utilize Regional Polo Center instructors, experienced Team USPA members, and other qualified instructors as mentors and clinicians. Junior Polo will also work with US Pony Club and other youth equestrian organizations to develop new playing members of the USPA.
Mission Statement: The mission of the Team USPA Committee 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 give back to the sport of polo.
COMMITTEE CHAIR: Chrys Beal
EXECUTIVE STAFF: Kristine Bowman
STAFF: Amanda Snow
Paur, Nick Snow, Carolyn Stimmel, Tiger Kneece, Bill Kirton, Sarah Coleman, Kelly Price
NYTS SUBCOMMITTEE: Chrys Beal (Chair), Amanda Snow (Staff),
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: LynKeeChow, Dr. Philip Abel, Liz Brayboy, Mike VanDerwerken, Olivia Stringer, Stan Feldman, Tom Wisehart, Stephanie Massey, Annetta Evans, Carina Deck, Melanja Jones, Posey Obrecht, Sheryl Sick, Daniel Scheraga, Jimmy DeAngelis, Lynn Thompson, Robin Sanchez, Steve Armour, Tom Goodspeed, Megan Judge
STAFF: Amanda Snow
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Steve Armour, Chrys Beal, Thomas Gose, Gillian Johnston, Charles Muldoon, Owen Rinehart, Tommy Wayman, Mason Walker, Red Armour
Nick Snow, Carolyn Stimmel, Bill Kirton,
Miranda Luna, Bob Puetz, Robert
Wroe, Charles Smith, Jesse Weaver, Dan
Amy Fraser, Ali Davidge, Emily Dewey
Jimmy Newman and Adam Snow
Brandon Alcott, Haley Bryan, Margaret
Kris Bowman, Haley Bryan, Kelly Price,
JUNIOR POLO COMMITTEE
USPA UMPIRES, LLC Mission Statement: The mission of the USPA Umpires, LLC is to support all aspects of umpire services and programs within the United States Polo Association. This includes the training and certification, support of the USPA professional umpires, the club and circuit umpire expense reimbursement program along with the umpire exchange program. BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Britt Baker – Chairman, Stewart Armstrong, Thomas Biddle, Sr., Graham Bray, Thomas Gose, Robert PuetzUSPA CEO (ex-officio)
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Charles Muldoon
STAFF: Steve Lane – Head Umpire Instructor Maggie Mitchell - Manager Bradley Biddle – Roving Umpire, I/I Head Umpire Deb Ferro – Assistant
USPA Staff Robert Puetz – Chief Executive Officer
SERVICES TBD – Executive Director Lindsey Ebersbach – Services Operations Manager Matthew Baran – Director ofCommunications Lindsay Dolan – Membership and Handicap Manager Summer Keeney – Communications Coordinator Cristina Fernandez – Club Marketing Coordinator James Dodge – Tournament Coordinator Jewel Connelly – Website Administrator Charlie Bullis – Membership Administrator
CORPORATE-FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION Susan Present, CPA, CGMA, CFE – Chief Financial Officer Kelly Vanderwerff – Controller Deanna Sullivan – Accounting Coordinator Beverly Basist, SHRM-CP – HR Director/IT Barb Dostal – Administrative Assistant Liliana Gopalakrishna – Staff Accountant
POLO DEVELOPMENT LLC Kristine Bowman – Executive Director Amanda Snow – Director of Player Development Elizabeth Hedley – Club Development Coordinator Justin Powers – Director of Club Development Jessica Downey - Polo Performance & Education Manager
INTERCOLLEGIATE/INTERSCHOLASTIC Amy Fraser – I/I Program Director Ali Davidge – I/I Program Coordinator Emily Dewey – I/I Tournament Manager
UMPIRES LLC Charles Muldoon – Executive Director Steve Lane – Head Umpire Instructor Bradley Biddle – Head I/I Umpire Instructor Maggie Mitchell – Umpire Manager Deb Ferro – Administrative Assistant Jennifer Furlow – Umpires Administrator
USPA GLOBAL LICENSING INC. Matthew McCartin – SVP Global Marketing Shannon Stilson – Senior Director Marketing Marianne Johnson – Senior Coordinator Global Broadcast and Events
It is both an honor and a privilege to take on the role of Chief Executive Officer of the United States Polo Association and to be afforded the opportunity to work with a talented group of volunteer leaders and professional staff. In 2017 the USPA saw many changes in leadership. I would like to thank those who have dedicated countless hours of time serving as volunteers and have now stepped aside to allow for new individuals to pick up where they left off.
Over the past year our members elected five new Governors at Large and our Board elected a new panel of officers: Chairman, Chip Campbell, President, Tony Coppola, Secretary, Stewart Armstrong and re-elected Treasurer Sam Ramirez. Additionally, the Board filled a vacancy for Border Circuit Governor. This fall at the USPA Board of Governors and Annual Member Meeting, the new Board approved the chairs of 22 USPA committees, eight of which will be led by new chairmen. Our Board also formed a new Strategic Planning Committee to be chaired by Stewart Armstrong. I am excited to work with the new leadership and volunteers as we continue to support and uphold the mission of our Association. Other accomplishments over the past year include changes to our rules, tournaments, and programs and I would like to take this opportunity to touch on a few of the highlights. 2017 saw a tremendous resurgence of arena polo in the United States. Mark Bellissimo, CEO of the International Polo Club Palm Beach as well as Managing Partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners, created a new professional arena polo league known as Gladiator Polo™ which introduced many medium and high-goal outdoor players to a brandnew game. The all-professional player format has presented new opportunities for many young professionals and Team USPA members to further enhance their careers. The inception of women’s arena handicaps enabled the Association to create two new national women’s high-goal arena tournaments: the USPA Women’s Arena Open and the USPA Women’s Arena Handicap. These tournaments will offer an elevated platform for women of all ages to aspire to. Based on the diminishing number of teams participating in our national 26-goal tournaments, and recommendations from the High-Goal, Rules and Tournament Committees, the Board approved lowering the Butler Handicap, C. V. Whitney Cup, USPA Gold Cup® and U.S. Open Polo Championship® from 20- to 26-goals to 18- to 22-goals beginning in 2019. We anticipate an increase in participation of teams and American players due to the reinstatement of the American Rule and a more accessible goal level. As we have continued to elevate our social media, livestream, broadcasts and electronic communications, the awareness of polo around the world has become increasingly prevalent. Our 2017 U.S. Open Polo Championship® Final, broadcast on CBS national television, was watched by over 1.2 million households, and viewership on the USPA Polo Network and the Association’s social media platforms continue to grow.
Robert Puetz CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
A culmination of these and many other efforts by our Association will expand the accessibility of polo to a wider demographic at a more reasonable financial level which will ensure a brighter and sustainable future for our sport.
The continuing efforts of the USPA, Hurlingham Polo Association and the Argentine Association of Polo have lead the world of polo closer to a unified set of rules with a higher standard developed to ensure open, fair and safe polo for all levels. 73
The Numbers SOCIAL MEDIA TOTAL NEW FOLLOWERS IN 2017
TOTAL ENGAGEMENTS (LIKES, SHARES, COMMENTS)
10,871 460,665 +154%
*NEW FOLLOW ERS W ERE GA INED ORGA NICA LLY
10,871 17 ,589
USPA & POLO RELATED ARTICLES CREATED
USPA TOURNAMENTS COVERED
WEEKLY EMAIL NEWSLETTER
% 10,871 33 37%
AVG. CLICK RATE
385 283 OUTDOOR
TOTAL USPA TOURNAMENTS
PUMP/8 TOURNAMENTS OFFICIATED
CERTIFIED ARENA AND OUTDOOR UMPIRES
GAMES UMPIRED BY PROFESSIONALS
10,871 2,025 75
The Numbers POLO DEVELOPMENT LLC
TEAM USPA MEMBERS
USPA I/I COLLEGIATE SCHOLARSHIPS
10,871 | 44 AlUMNI
FREE PLAYER TRAINING CLINICS
PDI AWARDS TOTALING $750,000 IN SUPPORT
35 REIMBURSABLE YOUTH PLAYER OUTREACH
2017 MEMBERSHIP POPULATION BY CIRCUIT TOTAL USPA MEMBERS
TOTAL USPA CLUBS
810 38 CLUBS
MIDSTATES ROCKY MTN.
139 9 CLUBS
106 8 CLUBS
787 26 CLUBS
175 14 CLUBS
597 28 CLUBS
506 HAWAIIAN ISLANDS
*NUMBERS SPECIFY USPA MEMBERS PER CIRCUIT 77
The Numbers MEMBERSHIP POPULATION BY AGE NO DOB
MALE VS. FEMALE MEMBERSHIP COMPARISON 3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0
2017 HANDICAP RATING BREAKDOWN
US MALE OUT ARENA
OUT ARENA OUT ARENA W. OUT W. ARENA
OUT ARENA W. OUT W. ARENA
5 0 0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0
7 6 0 0 0
0 0 0
0 3 0 0 0
0 0 0
9 4 0 0 1
0 0 3
1 0 0 0 0
0 0 0
0 2 0 0 0
0 0 0
2 5 0 0 1
0 0 0
6 3 0 0 0
0 0 0
7 10 4 7 0 0 1 11 0 1 0 3
60 134 49 55 0 25 68
11 16 22 50
0 0 0 0
0 0 0 1
2 8 13 39
0 0 0 1
1 1 3 7 7
3T 11 12 5 7 0 1 1 0
0 1 0 0
11 17 18 9 0 3 12 4
0 1 1 1
2 n/a 0 n/a n/a n/a
0 n/a n/a n/a
106 184 n/a
24 213 153
1 n/a 0 n/a n/a n/a
10 n/a 75 n/a n/a
13 n/a n/a n/a
760 303 n/a
117 75 n/a
237 380 738 6
0 n/a n/a n/a
137 445 551 699 591 942
SNP 100 100 11 11 81 81 81 81
*A FF (A FFILIATE) = NON-U.S. CITIZEN 79
2017 USPA SPENDING: OPERATIONS/INVESTMENTS INVESTMENT ADDITIONS $
2017 OPERATING REQUIREMENTS PER ENTITY 11% SERVICES $3,410,000
UMPIRES LLC $2,299,000
POLO DEVELOPMENT LLC $4,181,000 CORPORATE $1,225,000
NOTE: THESE NUMBERS A RE PROJ ECTIONS FOR THE 2017 Y EA R.
USPA VISUAL GUIDELINES / LOGO AND SIGNATURE STRIPE
OFFICIAL USPA SEAL
United States Polo Association® 9011 Lake Worth Road Lake Worth, Florida 33467 (800) 232-USPA ∙ uspolo.org
18% Red Stripe 29% White Stripe
33.3% Red 0.25” height for general use