Mar 14, 2018 4:30 PM

julia smith

Julia Smith is forging her own path in Wellington, Florida, working for high-goal operation Goose Creek, and played as the only female in the Grand Champions Polo Club $50,000 National 12-goal tournament. Smith and teammates Felipe Viana, Nick Johnson and Tomy Alberdi won their first match of the knockout tournament against Grand Champions Polo Club and lost in overtime to GSA in the seimifinals.

Julia Smith sat down with Director of Player Development, Amanda Snow, to talk about her journey as a polo player and experience on the Team USPA team.

On her start in polo
“I began playing polo when I was 8-years-old with Lezlie Hiner and the Work to Ride Program. I played several places in high school, Valley Forge, Maryland, Brandywine Polo Club and finally back with Work to Ride where we won the Interscholastic Championships when I was a senior. After graduating high school, I played for the University of Virginia. We were fortunate to win two National Intercollegiate Championship titles while I was there.”

On challenging herself
“I was constantly striving to challenge myself and grow as a player. I often played mixed arena polo, which helped me develop my own style of play. I tried to bring some of those elements to women’s polo and elevate my level of play. I attribute my success as an arena player to being exposed to both men’s and women’s polo.”

Julia Smith

On playing in the $50,000 National 12-goal
“I was super excited when Felipe [Viana] called me to play on the Team USPA team. My role model, Sunny Hale always said she was sure she wanted to be on the field because the best players wanted her on the field with them. I hope to follow in her footsteps and be the player people want on their team.”

On strategy
“We were very fortunate to receive support of the Team USPA Committee to enter the team into the tournament. We weren’t able to get a practice in beforehand, but after two chukkers, the pieces fell into place. Felipe, Nick and Tomy are very experienced and have given me great advice. My strategy is to go into every play, give 110% and just do my job. We unfortunately fell short to GSA in overtime, but playing in the tournament was a great opportunity to be seen and learn from older Team USPA members.”

On future plans
“After Wellington, I am going to play in an 8-goal tournament in Houston with BTA. I also have a trip planned to Barbados to play at Apes Hill with Linda Williams in their women’s tournament.”

All photos ©Shelley Heatley Photography