The Continental Cup, formerly known as the Fourteen Goal, is a national USPA tournament. Reintroduced in 2022 at the 16-goal level, the Continental Cup hosted by Sarasota Polo Club (Sarasota, Florida) served as one of three tournaments in the inaugural Wellington Polo Tour (WPT) (State of Florida Cup, Outback Invitational).
Continuing the USPA's initiative to bring competitive polo at the 16-goal level to clubs across South Florida, the Continental Cup will join the ranks in the brand new Florida Circuit 16-Goal Super-Series. The Continental Cup will serve as the final qualifying leg of four prestigious national tournaments (Joe Barry Memorial, Ylvisaker Cup, Iglehart Cup), with each winning team moving on to the final event.
Should a team win more than one qualifier, that team will automatically advance to the Florida Circuit 16-Goal Super-Series Championship Final. Claiming both the Joe Barry Memorial and Ylvisaker Cup, Iconica, has become the first team to secure a spot in the Championship on April 9, 2023 at the National Polo Center – Wellington (NPC).
An innovative effort spearheaded by Tournament Committee Chairman, Stevie Orthwein, to draw more teams into medium-goal competition than in previous years, the Super-Series will be played at participating clubs Port Mayaca Polo Club (Okeechobee, Florida) and Sarasota Polo Club, as well as the Wellington Polo Tour (WPT) led by Patagones Polo Club (Wellington, Florida) and a series of private fields falling under the WPT umbrella. Read more about the Super-Series here.
To reinforce the idea that all participation is encouraged, players may compete in as many events as they would like on either the same team or on different teams. Yet, if a player triumphs in more than one event but on different teams, that player must choose which team he or she would like to compete with in the Florida Circuit 16-Goal Super-Series Championship and the other team may use a substitute. Qualifying teams must maintain at least two of their original members in order to play in the Championship.
In 2022, Tonkawa (Kylie Sheehan, Matt Coppola, Ezequiel 'Gallego' Martinez Ferrario, Ignacio 'Nacho' Badiola) met Patagones (Benjamin Avendaño, Joaquin Avendaño, Jesse Bray, Santiago Wulff) in the anticipated Continental Cup finale. Leading Patagones with five goals on the day, Wulff stepped up once more in overtime to tap in a Penalty 2 and seal the nail-biting 9-8 win. Read article here.
Returning to Sarasota Polo Club for a second consecutive year, this year's edition will feature a field of four teams, including newcomers Hillcroft and Barefield joining current 16-Goal Super-Series competitors G-Squared and La Fe, with each team competing for the opportunity to advance to the Florida Circuit 16-Goal Super-Series Championship. Representing Team USPA is alumnus Mason Wroe (Hillcroft).
Sarasota Polo Club will be taking advantage of the USPA's Bridge to High Goal Initiative (B2HG) for the Continental Cup, which provides eligible USPA Member Clubs three USPA Professional Umpires (two mounted officials and one third man) at 50% of the regular cost to the club.
The Bridge to High Goal Initiative (B2HG) has been created to support outdoor mixed polo between 12 and 16 goals, an under-supported level of polo in the United States. The goal of the program is to build a bridge from low-goal polo to high-goal polo that provides a safe environment for competition, which will allow for the cultivation of sponsors and the advancement of aspiring professionals.
Photo: 2022 Continental Cup Champions: Patagones - Benjamin Avendaño, Joaquin Avendaño, Santiago Wulff, Jesse Bray. Pictured with team owner Gonzalo Avendaño. ©Global Polo Entertainment/Agustina Fonda