WELLINGTON, FL—Nov. 21, 2016---The United States and Uruguay will meet Saturday in the prestigious International Cup at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Team rosters were finalized and announced Sunday with some of the world’s top players competing.
Nic Roldan and Julio Arellano, the nation’s top-rated players at eight goals, will join father and son Marc and Grant Ganzi on the U.S. roster in the annual battle for the coveted cup.
It will be the second time in two weeks Grant Ganzi, 18, will represent the U.S. The Lynn University freshman led the U.S. to a 10-9 victory over Canada in the Royal Polo Match in front of a sellout crowd of 10,000 at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. Ganzi is the youngest U.S. player to compete in any International Cup.
It will be the fifth time Grand Champions Polo Club will host a major international men’s game in its ten-year history. Since 2012, the U.S. has beaten England, Chile, Mexico and South Africa in International Cup play.
In last year’s International Cup, the U.S. defeated South Africa, 12-7. Arellano, a Cardinal Newman and Florida Atlantic University alum, was named Most Valuable Player. He scored a game-high seven goals including five on penalty conversions.
“It’s always a great feeling to play for your country,” Roldan said. “When you have the U.S. jersey on it has a lot more meaning to it. We take pride in it.”
The International Cup game will be part of a polo doubleheader.
The opening game is the Carlos Gracida Legends of Polo Memorial, continuing the Hall of Famer’s legacy by honoring one of the sport’s greats, who died tragically in February, 2014 at age 53.
The Legends game is 1 p.m. followed by the International Cup at 3 p.m. Gates open at 12:30 p.m.
ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, will livestream the polo doubleheader worldwide.
All four U.S. players have extensive international experience.
Roldan and Ganzi, coming off their runner-up finish in the USPA East Coast Challenge for Audi, competed in the 2013 Westchester Cup in England. Arellano has represented the U.S. several times in international games around the world and also competed in the Westchester Cup in 1997 in England.
Uruguay’s roster features Mauricio Sanchez, 5 goals; Juan Enrique Curbelo, 5 goals; Guillermo Besozzi, 5 goals; and Alexis de Boismenu, 3 goals. Both the U.S. and Uruguay teams are 18-goal rated.
Sanchez, 27, heads the Uruguay team. He has won various tournaments including three Uruguayan national championships. He was also a member of the team that won the last Uruguayan Open. He not only plays but manages the Yellow Rose Polo Ranch in Punta del Este.
Sanchez, who has been playing polo around the world since he was 17, has competed for the national team in the last two FIP playoffs in 2010 and 2014.
At the Sept. 13th BMW International Polo Test at Waterfall Polo Estate in Johannesburg, Uruguay lost a hardfought 7-5 battle with South Africa. A week earlier, South Africa defeated Uruguay, 9-8, at the BMW International Polo Test at Shongweni Club in Durban.
The delegation is headed by Roberto Mailhos, the coach and Uruguay Polo Association representative. Uruguay’s most famous polo player is 10-goaler David (Pelon) Stirling.
“We’re playing for our country and that elevates the importance of the game,” Ganzi said. “There’s no greater honor in polo than to play for your national team. You want to play your best polo and also be a good ambassador. That’s really important in these international matches.”
Proceeds from the doubleheader benefit the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the development, history and tradition of the sport of polo by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport.
The doubleheader is a holiday weekend tradition marking the end of the fall season and one of the biggest social events of the fall in Wellington.
Grand Champions is closing out its most successful season after hosting two USPA-sanctioned 20-goal tournaments, the only club in the nation to offer 20-goal polo in the fall, and eight successful medium goal tournaments.
Grand Champions, with eleven well-manicured fields, is enjoying its finest fall season in the ten-year history of the club.
Grand Champions caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the uniqueprogram.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.
2016 FALL SCHEDULE
USPA National 20-Goal: Wednesday, Handicap Final, Audi vs. KIG/Dutta Corp, 10 a.m.; Championship Final, Casablanca vs. Flexjet, 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 26, Gates Open 12:30 p.m., Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo, 1 p.m.; Fifth annual International Cup, Team USA vs. Uruguay, 3 p.m.
INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere that includes complimentary food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.