Defending champion Team USA may have a fight on its hands when it meets France for the first time in the Nov. 30 International Cup at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Philippe Perrier, national technical director of the French Polo Federation announced a six-player roster that ranges from 17 to 20-goal team rating depending who is selected for the four-man team.
Heading the team is 6-goal team captain Pierre Henri (Pedrito) Ngoumou, the best player in France and one of the best in the world.
Ngoumou discovered the sport when he attended a match in Deauville with his father. He went to polo school in Bagatelle and after that turned pro. He is an explosive and entertaining player and one of the key players on the French team.
Ngoumou will be joined by 5-goalers Clement Delfosse and Robert Strom, 4-goalers Julien Reynes and Edouard Pan and 3-goaler Louis Jarrige.
Delfosse, taught by his father, is another one of France’s top players. He has competed in the European Championships and several others around the world.
“I am sure that this International Cup will be a success,” Perrier said. “The French team is very honored by the invitation of Grand Champions Polo Club.”
The U.S. team will put its seven-year winning streak on the line against France.
Last year Team USA ( Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Jeff Blake, Juan Bollini) defeated Azerbaijan (Rashad Hasanov, Elvin Jamalli, Andres Laplacette, Adrian Laplacette, 9-7.5, to win the seventh annual event.
Blake, a three-time U.S. Open champion and Team USA captain, was Most Valuable Player in his International Cup debut. The winningest American-born Floridian in polo was the highest rated player on the team at 6 goals.
The eighth annual game is part of a polo doubleheader, a holiday tradition that ends the biggest week of fall polo and season at the nation’s largest polo club.
Tickets are still on sale and sponsor packages available for the International Cup and Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial.
The opening game of the doubleheader is the Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial at 1 p.m. The game continues the Hall of Famer’s legacy by honoring one of the sport’s greats, who died tragically in February, 2014 at age 53.
In last year’s legends game, Gracida Wine (Julio Gracida, Mariano Gracida, Riley Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida) won 6-2 over American Polo Horse. Carlitos Gracida, the oldest son of Carlos Gracida, was MVP.
It is the eighth time Grand Champions Polo Club will host a major international men’s game in club history.
Since 2012 in front of sellout crowds and worldwide ChukkerTV audience, the U.S. has beaten England, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Uruguay, Brazil and Azerbaijan in the annual battle for the coveted cup.
The Legends game is 1 p.m. followed by the International Cup at 3 p.m. Gates open at 12:30 p.m.
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, ranging from $20 to $1500, are on sale along with various sponsorship packages. They are:
$1,500 VIP Sponsor: Includes one reserved table for eight in the VIP tent, corporate partner signage and parking.
$250 Grand Champions Tailgate Package: Includes a reserved tailgate spot with parking for one car.
$200 VIP Pavilion Tickets: Includes one VIP admission ticket to the VIP tent with a field side view of the game.
$20 General Admission. Field side parking not included.
For tickets, call 561-644-5050 and for sponsorship packages call 561-714-0887.
During the 2019 fall season, the nation’s largest polo club is hosting both medium and high goal polo featuring six medium goal tournaments and two 20-goal tournaments.
The fall season serves as a tuneup for the winter season for players and green horses. The winter season will feature the second season of the highly-successful 26-goal World Polo League at Grand Champions and Valiente Polo Farm with the best polo players in the world.
The well-organized fall tournaments attract players from all over the United States and world including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, England, France, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Uruguay, Switzerland, Nigeria and South Africa.
Grand Champions had its finest fall season in club history last year. It was the only club in the nation to stage two USPA-sanctioned 20-goal fall tournaments and again is hosting 20-goal tournaments this season.
The Grand Champions Fall Invitational League is geared toward improving a player’s polo skills at every level. Roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams featuring pro and amateur players.
Club owners Marc and Melissa Ganzi, both accomplished players, take pride in teaching and sharing the exciting sport of polo with anyone interested in learning. The husband and wife team are coming off their most successful and historical summer season at Grand Champions’ sister club Aspen Valley Polo Club.
The fall league features: stick-and-ball sessions during the week; two tournament games every weekend; ambulance and umpires for all tournament games; world-class polo fields; club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players; and top-of-the-line trophies for all teams every weekend. Food and refreshments are available for players and fans after the finals.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm cater 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 at the turnkey facility.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization and stand-alone USPA club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its’ mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For more information on the Fall Leagues or Polo School contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099.