NATIONAL ARENA AMATEUR CUP
The National Arena Amateur Cup (NAAC) is a national arena tournament that was first played in 1987. In 2019 the Tournament and Arena committees launched the new NAAC format, a brand-new initiative aimed to inject excitement into the sport for present and future members. 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 aspiration of the program is to extend local players’ investments into their home clubs and tournament structure and encourage inter-circuit and national play. The innovative 2019 NAAC 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 he or she 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.
The NAAC relocated in 2020 to Legends Polo Club in Kaufman, Texas. In 2021, GET it Done (Maud Eno, James Glew, Carson Tucker) and JD Boss Polo (Javier Insua, Rehan Kumble, Sophie Michels) met to battle for the coveted amateur title. Facing a two-goal deficit entering the final chukker, a focused Insua knocked-in three consecutive goals, among them two separate two-pointers to deliver JD Boss Polo the NAAC title 19-16. Read article here.
The 2022 NAAC edition features a field of six talented teams vying for the title with players participating from clubs nationwide. Teams are responsible for their team names and will be officially assigned prior to the beginning of competition.
Leading the NAAC with 18 points, Rehan Kumble (The Trifecta) returns to defend his title alongside Megan Rahlfs and Amanda Osburn. As point co-leader Don English Jr. (D2J) unites with Don Gruntmeir and Jose Velez. Reigning champion Javier Insua (Proton Partners) will also be returning to compete with Lindsey Bellack and Victoria McGraw. Participating in his fourth year in the NAAC, Mark Osburn (Los Polo Locos) will be searching for his second title teaming up with Sydney Morris and Marcus Murphy. Nearing the top of the season-long NAAC standings, veteran Nacho Estrada will lead Blazing Saddles, as young Mila Slutzky joins the competition for KaBooM! after making a splash capturing the 2022 USPA Women's Arena Open.
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 up to $1,200, 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: 2021 National Arena Amateur Cup (NAAC) Champions: JD Boss Polo - Javier Insua, Sophie Michels, Rehan Kumble. ©David Murrell