THE LATEST

NEWS

MEET THE AMERICANS THAT WILL BATTLE IRELAND IN INTERNATIONAL CONCLUSION TO THE NATIONAL POLO CENTER - WELLINGTON SEASON

Apr 28, 2023 5:32 PM

SHARE
Felipe Viana will represent USA in the USA vs. Ireland International Match hosted by the National Polo Center - Wellington (NPC). ©USPA
Felipe Viana will represent USA in the USA vs. Ireland International Match hosted by the National Polo Center - Wellington (NPC). ©USPA

On Sunday, April 30 at 3:00pm ET, international competition will return to the National Polo Center - Wellington (NPC) to serve as the patriotic conclusion to a stellar inaugural season. Traveling all the way from Ireland, a formidable Irish collective will battle the USA in 17-goal competition on NPC’s U.S. Polo Assn. Field One. Meet the teams that will compete for international glory at NPC one final time this season.

Todd Thurston (0), Santiago ‘Santi’ Torres (6), Felipe Viana (6) and team captain Tomas ‘Tommy’ Collingwood (5) will represent the stars and stripes. A well-decorated team of long-time staples in the sport, USA will draw upon the experience and skill of the four-some to generate success on Sunday.

“The key to beat[ing] Ireland I think is to stick together […] if we come in with the idea of playing as a team, backing each other up and using all the concepts and knowledge that we’ve gathered throughout our careers, we’re going to do well.”  – USA's Felipe Viana

Thurston, Torres, and Viana are all Team USPA Alumni. 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. Thurston and Viana also played intercollegiate polo together for several years at the University of Virginia, triumphing in the Men’s National Intercollegiate Championship twice (2011, 2012).

Viana has previously represented USA twice in the FIP World Polo Championship, delivering the stars and stripes a silver medal in 2015. ©David Lominska
Viana has previously represented USA twice in the FIP World Polo Championship, delivering the stars and stripes a silver medal in 2015. ©David Lominska

Viana, a legend in arena polo with three U.S. Open Arena Polo Championships (2013, 2014, 2015) under his belt, has also shown his prowess in international outdoor competition. A two-time FIP World Polo Championship competitor, Viana helped guide the USA to a silver medal finish back in 2015. He has also competed for multiple teams in the Gauntlet of Polo over the years, including Park Place, Cessna and SD Farms.

Santiago ‘Santi’ Torres competing for Dazos in the 2023 Gauntlet of Polo. ©David Lominska
Santiago ‘Santi’ Torres competing for Dazos in the 2023 Gauntlet of Polo. ©David Lominska

Torres, a former Valiente competitor, won the 2014 C.V. Whitney Cup, 2013 USPA Gold Cup and 2014 USPA Gold Cup with the powerhouse organization. A frequent teammate of Adolfo Cambiaso, Torres also won the 2012 Silver Cup with the 10-goaler. Most recently, Torres competed in the 2023 Gauntlet of Polo with Dazos.

Tommy Collingwood will serve as captain in the USA vs Ireland International Match. ©David Lominska
Tommy Collingwood will serve as captain in the USA vs Ireland International Match. ©David Lominska

Collingwood will lead the team as captain, boasting a long and fruitful career in the sport. His wins include the Silver Cup, Heritage Cup, Regional Classic-Southwestern, Delegate’s Cup, National President’s Cup and many more. Like Viana, he also played with Park Place in the Gauntlet of Polo, competing with the team in blue in 2019. He also competed with Daily Racing Form in 2020.

Thurston, though not as active of a player as he used to be, has been working diligently to get back into the sport. At the same time, he has remained involved with the USPA over the years, and he is currently the Chairman of the Young Players’ Committee with the mission of creating more opportunities for young players.

Todd Thurston competing for La Fe in the 2023 Ylvisaker Cup. ©David Lominska
Todd Thurston competing for La Fe in the 2023 Ylvisaker Cup. ©David Lominska

Evan Power (3), Niall Donnelly (4), Max Hutchinson (4) and team captain Richard Le Poer (6) will play for the green, white, and orange. A well-balanced and highly competitive team, the Irish collective hopes to upend USA on their home turf.

Torres competing for SD Farms in the 2021 Butler Handicap. ©David Lominska
Torres competing for SD Farms in the 2021 Butler Handicap. ©David Lominska

“The key to beat Ireland I think is to stick together, to find a way playing where we all feel comfortable,” noted Viana. “We all get along very well, we’ve all been playing polo for quite a while, so we bring a lot of knowledge into the game. So, I think if we come in with the idea of playing as a team, backing each other up and using all the concepts and knowledge that we’ve gathered throughout our careers, we’re going to do well. I think we fit right on our precisions and so, the period of training is short. That’s the way it is. But we take it as an opportunity to really be focused and concentrated on Sunday’s game and try to do our best and win the game.”

Grateful for the opportunity to compete, Thurston commented, “It’s a huge honor to just play. To have my name in the hat, to be considered as a viable option. I’ve been really lucky this winter to have some opportunities to substitute for some 16- and 22-goal teams.”

Thurston competing for G-Squared in the 2023 Continental Cup. ©Julio Aguilar
Thurston competing for G-Squared in the 2023 Continental Cup. ©Julio Aguilar

He continued, “I’ve [also] been lucky with Carlucho [Arellano] to have some horses to help train on the side to keep my riding legs. So, it’s a huge honor to be on the field, on U.S. Polo Assn. Field One, representing my country. And even better to do it with two of my closest friends and an old teammate as well.”

Don’t miss your chance to end the season on a high note! Tickets for the one-of-a-kind event can still be purchased here.