WELLINGTON, FL—Nov. 24, 2017---It's show time on Saturday at Grand Champions Polo Club when Team USA meets Brazil in the sixth annual USPA International Cup.
The U.S. will have one of its strongest teams for this year's game with 20-goal team Mike Azzaro, 6, Julio Arellano, 8, Carlitos Gracida, 4, and Grant Ganzi, 2.
The Brazilian Polo Federation will be represented by 19-goal squad that features Flavio Castilho, 5, Gustavo Toledo, 5, Guilherme Lins, 5, and Calao Mello, 4. Brazil is making its U.S. debut in an international game.
The U.S. will put its five-game win streak on the line against Brazil. Since 2012 in front of sellout crowds and worldwide ChukkerTV audience, the U.S. has defeated England, Chile, Mexico, South Africa and Uruguay.
It is the sixth time Grand Champions, the nation's largest polo club with 11 fields, has hosted a major international men's game in its 10-year history.
At 19, Ganzi is the youngest member of Team USA. The Lynn University sophomore and third generation player is coming off an outstanding fall season. His Casablanca team made six finals appearances and won four tournaments including the USPA North American 20-Goal Cup and USPA National 20-Goal tournament.
Ganzi, playing alongside his father Marc, won his first International Cup last year against Uruguay, along with Nic Roldan and two-time MVP Julio Arellano.
"It means everything to me to represent the U.S.," said Ganzi, who wears a red, white and blue helmet. "I am really proud of being an American. I really want to represent my country and do well.
"Brazil is four nice guys who can play really well and are going to be tough to play against," Ganzi said. "Like every year, it's going to be a tough game. It's going to be open, it's going to be fast. Hopefully, we will get a good crowd and make the U.S. proud."
Legendary American Hall of Famer and former 10-goaler Mike Azzaro will make his International Cup debut. Azzaro, winner of eight U.S. Open titles and rated at 10 goals for 13 years, last represented the U.S. in the Westchester Cup four years ago with Marc Ganzi, Polito Pieres and Nic Roldan.
"It's always great to play with your fellow countryman and represent your country," Azzaro said. "I know all the Brazilian players and they are all great players and nice guys. They are tough players. We are going to have to play really well."
Nicaragua-born Julio Arellano, rated at 8 goals, has been a member of two winning lineups for Team USA in 2016 against Uruguay and 2015 against South Africa where he earned MVP honors both games. The Cardinal Newman and Florida Atlantic University alum is one of America's top-rated polo players.
Carlitos Gracida, 26, the son of legendary Hall of Famer and former 10-goaler Carlos Gracida and fourth generation player, will be making his third International Cup appearance.
In last year's USPA International Cup, Team USA defeated Uruguay, 6-3, to claim its fifth consecutive title. Arellano was named Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row.
The USPA International Cup will be part of a polo doubleheader, a holiday tradition that highlights the biggest week of the fall polo season at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The opening game of the doubleheader is the Carlos Gracida Legends of Polo Memorial, continuing the Hall of Famer’s legacy by honoring one of the sport’s all-time greats, who died tragically in a polo accident in February, 2014 at age 53.
The Legends game is 1 p.m. followed by the USPA International Cup at 3 p.m. Gates open at 12:30 p.m.
The awards for the International Cup have been designed by Brazilian-born renowned artist Romero Britto. The artist-signed framed award features a polo player in full swing on a polo pony surrounded by a palm tree, heart and whimsical designs of color.
Suri West, one of the most popular restaurants in Palm Beach County, will cater the VIP tent. Joining Suri West as event sponsors are Tito's, the official VIP liquor, and Alta Palla flavored sparkling mixers for the VIP bar.
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.
Tickets and tailgates are still available and may be purchased. For ticket information call 561-644-5050.
During fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club, the nation's largest club with 11 well-manicured fields, hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events.
Grand Champions Polo Cup attracted a record 72 teams during its 2017 winter season that featured the $100,000 World Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal, 20-Goal Sterling Cup and 20-Goal Molina Cup, and another 18 teams during the spring season.
The doubleheader will be live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting with cutting-edge technology. ChukkerTV also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
Grand Champions Polo Club 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 unique program.