Traveling between Mashomack Polo Club in Pine Plains, New York, during the summers and Wellington, Florida, in the winters, 19-year-old 3-goaler Juanse Olivera brings experience, dedication and drive to the fresh faces of Team USPA recently welcomed into the program. As he gears up to join the prestigious organization, Olivera is competing and training with a group of 19-and under players for the summer season at Mashomack.
Ecstatic about the opportunity to join Team USPA, Olivera took time to talk with CLICKPOLOUSA about how he got into the sport and what the future holds for him.
How did you get your start in polo?
“I am 19 years old and started playing because my father practiced the sport all his life. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but I came to the US when I was 2 months old and was raised in Wellington. I studied there all my life.”
So you’ve liked polo since you were young?
“When I was little I didn’t like it as much, I played tennis and rugby [more]. When I was twelve, I started enjoying it more and more, and started playing practice matches and tournaments. I played a few of the Argentine Association of Polo’s tournaments in Argentina, between 6 and 14 goals. I also started playing practices for a year or two at Centauros during the high-goal season, and then another year at La Hache.”
Olivera competing for Savanna in the 2021 Northeastern Circuit Officers Cup at Mashomack Polo Club in Pine Plains, New York. ©Milagros Martinez
What playing experiences have you had in the United States?
“In the U.S., the highest I’ve played was being a substitute for the 20-goal tournaments a couple times. In 2020, I played a 16-goal tournament in New York for Altaris, and we won. In 2021, I played three 16-goal tournaments in Greenwich, [Connecticut] for White Birch, and we won one. Ever since I started, I’ve been playing the 8-goal in Mashomack as well. It is very competitive.”
What does being a part of Team USPA mean to you?
“Being part of Team USPA is amazing to keep progressing. It will also help me get my name out there. It is an important step in my career.”
What do you think of polo in America?
“Polo in [the] U.S. is doing quite well, it is very competitive and organizations are growing. There are some really good leagues being put together, such as the Wellington Polo Tour, which gives many young, rising players an opportunity.”
What do you ultimately hope to achieve in polo?
“My dream in polo would be to get as far as I can, and to keep improving my horse lot. I would love to play the big tournaments and compete at a high level.”
Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo