NATIONAL ARENA AMATEUR CUP
The National Arena Amateur Cup (NAAC) was established in 1987. However, in 2019, the USPA Tournament and Arena committees launched a new NAAC format. The idea grew out of discussions concerning how to attract and incentivize present players to play more, play longer and invest more time into the sport. The innovative new format created an opportunity to showcase the accessibility of amateur polo and to motivate amateur players to participate longer and more frequently in USPA tournaments, at their home clubs, home circuits and nationally.
All amateur players rated -1 through 3 goals are eligible. In accordance with NAAC rules, no player may have a handicap higher than the upper limit of the event. Eligibility to play in the NAAC is based on a point system. Points are given to individuals playing in all USPA Arena Events–Circuit, Sanctioned and National. Points are based on the number of teams and team standing in each tournament. All points are awarded to each team member, not the team as a whole. The more USPA arena tournaments a player competes in, the more points they will accrue. Once players commit to participate, the National Host Tournament Committee forms teams to compete at the 0- to 3-goal level of the tournament.
In 2022, Blazing Saddles (Mark Osburn, Sydney Morris, Marcus Murphy) faced-off against The Trifecta (Megan Rahlfs, Rehan Kumble, Amanda Osburn). The evenly distributed contributions of Blazing Saddles culminated in a five-goal fourth chukker to deliver a 16-12 victory and the coveted NAAC title. Read article here.
Hosted by Legends Polo Club in Kaufman, Texas, for a fourth consecutive year, the 2023 edition of the NAAC will field eight talented teams with players participating from clubs nationwide.
Mark Osburn, ranked third in the NAAC standings with 15 points, returns to defend his title alongside his wife Amanda Osburn and newcomer Matthew Schloemer (The Team to Beat). Fellow 2023 champion, Sydney Morris, this year's female high-point leader, will unite with Megan Rahlfs and Kimberly Vaughn (Legends Polo Club). Featuring a mix of veterans and newcomers nearing the top of the season-long NAAC standings, Jose Velez will participate for a fourth consecutive year (Cereal Asesinos), as Don English makes his third appearance (Elite Caballos). Each member of Hopward, Patton Polo, C-Horses and Urban Legends makes their NAAC debut and are all hoping to add their names to the list of NAAC champions.
Legends Polo Club will be taking advantage of the USPA's Tournament Support Program (TSP) for the National Arena Amateur Cup (NAAC), which provides eligible USPA Member Clubs with waived tournament fees, trophies or trophy reimbursements, one professional umpire and $2,500 in prize money at no extra cost.
The USPA originally created the Tournament Stimulus Package (TSP) to help member clubs host USPA events when the United States was emerging from the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis. The USPA wanted to continue to support member clubs with TSP benefits in 2022. Therefore, it extended and expanded TSP under a new name - the Tournament Support Program. Each USPA Member Club can obtain TSP benefits for two USPA events, with the option of a third under specific circumstances.
Photo: 2022 National Arena Amateur Cup (NAAC) Champions: Blazing Saddles - Mark Osburn, Sydney Morris, Marcus Murphy. ©David Murrell