Julia Smith (5), Tiamo Hudspeth (5) and Marissa Wells (5), three of the top-rated female players on Team USPA will join Courtney Asdourian (6), a young, talented female player to compete in the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ at the Houston Polo Club in Houston, Texas. The tournament provides a unique opportunity for women to compete against each other in the highest level of outdoor women’s polo in the country. “It has been great joining with the three Team USPA women players who are all eager and enthusiastic about playing competitive women’s polo,” said Asdourian.
Asdourian, Smith and Wells traveled to Aiken, South Carolina, to play and train under the guidance of former 10-goal players Adam Snow and Owen Rinehart and recently returned to Houston to continue preparing for the tournament. Team Coach, Mason Wroe, is an alumni of Team USPA and now serves as a mentor and coach to younger members of the program. Wroe is focused on providing a structured training experience for the women in the weeks leading up to the tournament. Several inches of rain delayed the first team practice, but Wroe quickly arranged for the team to hit penalties. “He worked us hard,” said Hudspeth laughingly.
Smith has been a member of Team USPA since 2004 and recently graduated from University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she was an integral member of their intercollegiate team. “I am thrilled that Team USPA has put a team in the Women’s Open and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a member of this team!” commented Smith. “I am quite excited to play alongside such young and talented players and to be coached by Mason Wroe in the most prestigious and competitive women’s tournament that we have here in the U.S. I am appreciative of Team USPA’s support of my own personal career as a professional women’s player.” Following the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship, Smith will travel to Argentina to play the Argentina Women’s Open with Goose Creek Polo Team.
Women account for 38% of the USPA membership and the statistic continues to grow. Team USPA aims to provide high-level training and playing opportunities for the women in the program with hopes of increasing the prevalence of well-organized and competitive women’s polo in the United States. Playing in the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship has been a longstanding goal of the Team USPA program. “The Houston Polo Club has done a fantastic job of organizing this tournament each year. We are honored to be a part of it this year and feel fortunate to be able to field a team,” said Director of Player Development, Amanda Snow. “We hope to continue to find opportunities such as these where we can facilitate a period of training with one of our coaches for the players before competing in a tournament. The goal is not just to field a competitive team, but to also work on developing their skills so they can continue to improve their game.”
All photos ©Kaylee Wroe Photography