Sep 14, 2022 7:24 PM
The United States Polo Association, U.S. Polo Assn., the official brand of the USPA, the National Polo Center – Wellington (NPC) and Valiente Polo Farm are making final preparations to host the XII Federation of International Polo (FIP) World Polo Championship in Florida this fall. Welcoming the international contest to the United States for the second time in the competition’s history, the tournament will take place from October 29 – November 6.
Held every three to four years, the international tournament was originally scheduled for 2021 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Representing the top 10- to 14-goal teams from around the world, eight countries will grapple for international polo glory, including Argentina, Australia, Italy, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain, the United States and Uruguay.
To qualify as one of the eight teams to advance to the FIP World Polo Championship, the road begins with five zone playoffs and includes more than 25 countries vying for the opportunity of a lifetime to represent their nation on an international stage. The defending champions (Argentina in 2017) and host country (United States) automatically qualify, and the remaining six teams have been decided from zone competition. Teams advancing from zone playoffs to the FIP World Polo Championship include Mexico (Zone A – North America and Central America), Uruguay (Zone B – South America), Spain and Italy (Zone C – Europe), Australia (Zone D – Asia and Oceania) and Pakistan (Zone – Africa, Pakistan and India).
The strengths of the United States lie in both high-quality horses and a prime location featuring world-class fields and facilities. Home to the Gauntlet of Polo, NPC is the ideal venue for the event, attracting South Florida’s passionate polo and equestrian community. Featuring top-rated polo fields, VIP experiences for both fans and players, and unrivaled corporate hospitality, the XII FIP World Polo Championship promises to be an exceptional and unforgettable global event for players, sponsors and spectators.
Preliminary games will be held at Valiente Polo Farm and the opening ceremony, semifinals and final will take place at NPC. Ticketed NPC events will include the Opening Ceremony on Saturday, October 29 and the XII FIP World Polo Championship Final on Sunday, November 6.
Tickets will become available mid-September at nationalpolocenter.com. The 2022 tournament will draw the eyes of the global polo community to the winter equestrian capital of the world with the FIP World Polo Championship semifinals and final broadcast on ESPN for the first time. All games will also be available for free on GlobalPolo.com.
Saturday, October 29
Game 1 Valiente Polo Farm
Game 2 Valiente Polo Farm
Game 3 Valiente Polo Farm
Game 4 & Opening Ceremony: USA Team vs. TBD NPC, U.S. Polo Assn. Field One*
Monday, October 31
Game 5 Valiente Polo Farm
Game 6 Valiente Polo Farm
Game 7 Valiente Polo Farm
Game 8 Valiente Polo Farm
Wednesday, November 2
Game 9 Valiente Polo Farm
Game 10 Valiente Polo Farm
Game 11 Valiente Polo Farm
Game 12 Valiente Polo Farm
Friday, November 4
1:00pm ET – Semifinal 1 NPC
3:00pm ET – Semifinal 2 NPC
Sunday, November 6
1:00pm ET – Third Place Match NPC
3:00pm ET – XII FIP World Polo Championship Final NPC, U.S. Polo Assn. Field One*
*Denotes a ticketed event.
“We are putting in a lot of resources to make this a world class event,” shared FIP United States Ambassador and USPA President Tony Coppola. “No stone has been left unturned. The string of horses we are going to provide will be great and the facilities will be fantastic and at their prime. The USPA’s goal is to make this a world-class tournament and showcase what we have now that we own NPC.”
A defining feature of the XII FIP World Polo Championship are the 176 exceptional horses representing some of the best bloodlines in the world from sole horse provider J5 Equestrian. USPA Executive Director of Services, Carlucho Arellano, noted the importance of having such high-quality horses for a competition of this caliber, sharing, “Providing good horses is one of the three key ingredients to quality polo, along with great fields and solid management.”
Further detailing how the horses will be preparing for intense competition, he continued, “The horses are currently in several different locations and have been played during the summer in California and Colorado. They will get some rest time and then come to Wellington a month in advance of the Championship for the legging-up process. The final two weeks of that process will consist of practices that increase in intensity. The teams all arrive by October 26, and they will get to ride their string once and play them in one practice before their first game on October 29.”
Leading up to the tournament, the horses will also be evaluated and ranked in October by FIP horse master Adam Snow. Snow is a former 10-goaler and Hall of Famer. His experience both in the saddle and in the barn will make him an invaluable asset throughout the event. Snow will rank horses based on their ability and then place them into evenly matched strings. Each team will be assigned a group of 22 horses and teams will draw to select their pooled polo ponies in person on Wednesday, October 26.
In 1982, to broaden the scope of international polo and restore the sport’s Olympic status, Marcos Uranga created the Federation of International Polo, officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Five years later, Uranga and American polo player Glen Holden organized the inaugural FIP World Polo Championship in Argentina. Aware of the challenges of fielding high-goal teams worldwide, FIP organizers decided to limit the competition to teams rated 10 to 14 goals.
Capturing the title in Germany in 1989, the United States Polo Association has selected the most talented players to represent the USA team. Selected as the coach for the USA team, former 9-goal professional Julio Arellano was on the winning team in 1989 and is humbled at the opportunity to lead the United States for a FIP title on home soil.
Ranging in age from 17 to 25, the eight American players vying for a spot on the starting roster include Nico Diaz Alberdi*, Agustin Arellano, Hope Arellano*, Joaquin Avendaño, Lucas Escobar*, Nico Escobar*, and Jake Klentner*. Of this extremely accomplished roster, Hope Arellano stands out, as she is the first woman to ever be considered for the American team. Players will train together in weekly practice games and stick-and-ball sessions for a month in Argentina beginning in September to determine the team’s final lineup. Once the U.S. team returns home, they will begin practicing in Wellington, Florida, and exercising and preparing J5 Equestrian horses for competition leading up to the championship.
Outfitting the teams with official performance jerseys and equipment as the Official Apparel Partner and Presenting Sponsor, U.S. Polo Assn. is proud to join forces once again with the FIP World Polo Championship to promote the brand during the pinnacle of international polo competition. “This is truly a global event that will resonate with our consumers and sports fans around the world, across 190 countries. We are also excited our partners at ESPN will broadcast the opening ceremony featuring the USA team,” said J. Michael Prince, President and CEO of USPA Global Licensing.
For more information and updates, please visit the FIP World Polo Championship landing page.
*Nico Diaz Alberdi, Hope Arellano and Lucas Escobar are Active Team USPA Members. Nico Escobar is a Graduating Team USPA Jake Klentner Team USPA alumnus. Team USPA is a program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.
Effective Date: Saturday, May 16, 2020
The suspension of USPA Tournaments and Events will be lifted for USPA Member Clubs in locales where hosting polo matches and tournaments is permitted under applicable state and local laws, executive orders and similar decrees. The USPA Member Clubs in these locales are encouraged to follow all such requirements of their state and local authorities with respect to polo operations. In addition, we also encourage all USPA Member Clubs to take the precautions recommended by the CDC. We are preparing a detailed list of best practices for USPA Member Clubs as they return to hosting USPA Tournaments and Events and plan to circulate these guidelines within the next week. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will notify you if we determine a different course of action is necessary.Read More