Team USPA recently welcomed four young American players on track to compete as professionals in high-goal polo to the program. Selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants, the four new members of Team USPA demonstrate the talent, grit and determination to excel at the highest levels of the sport and join seven previous members of the program.
The mission of the Team USPA Committee is to improve the sport of polo in the United States by developing the talent/skills of young American players through mentored training and playing opportunities, ultimately leading to a pool of higher-rated American players. The Team USPA program’s focus is the development of higher-rated American players. The age of entry begins at 15 years old and the maximum number of participants in the program is capped at 12 individuals. Criteria has been established for membership in the program, including a benchmark of reaching a 5-goal handicap by the age of 21. Players are evaluated, annually, to make sure they are on track towards the overall goals of the program and for continuation in the program.
Players applying to the Team USPA program must demonstrate their commitment to polo and have clear and specific goals related to their career. Selection criteria includes playing ability, horsemanship, improvement potential, attitude and work ethic.
Handicap: 1, will be moving to 2 in December 2022
Ryan Kerley, a proud West Coast native, demonstrates his poise and composure time and time again as a young player in the 8- and 12- goal levels and as a substitute for the high-goal at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club (Carpinteria, California) and Eldorado Polo Club (Indio, California). His extensive experience bringing along young horses with his father shaped his riding habits from a young age, giving him a solid foundation from which to build. During 2020, Kerley spent two months with Memo Gracida training in Santa Ynez, California, at the La Herradura Polo Club.
After an impressive showing in the 8-goal with Paco de Narvaez’ Sol de Agosto team, winning all four cups and two MVPs, he was invited to travel to their ranch in Argentina for a month of riding. “I met many new people and am excited to come back to play.” Kerley’s next career steps will take him back to Argentina, Florida and beyond as he continues pursuing opportunities to further his development as a player.
Juanse Olivera picked up a mallet eight years ago and committed himself to succeeding in the sport. As a mainstay in Pine Plains, New York, at the Mashomack Polo Club during the summer and traveling to Wellington, Florida, to play in the winter, Olivera has competed in all levels of polo from 4 goal to 20 goal. Playing three tournaments with White Birch and a 16-goal tournament with Altaris helped him establish a name for himself as a competitive player on the East Coast. This summer, Olivera joins a group of 19-and under players rostered for a competitive summer season at Mashomack.
Olivera’s commitment to improving as a player led him to apply for Team USPA. He commented, “Team USPA represents an enormous opportunity for me to truly progress as a player and reach my full potential.” His passion for horses and his desire to improve his string in the coming years illustrate his understanding of what he needs to stand out amongst a competitive field of players.
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Handicap: 1, will be moving to 1.5 in December 2022
Finn Secunda turned heads in Wellington, Florida, with his quiet, yet disciplined manner on the field during the 2022 season playing on the Iconica 16-goal team. As the youngest player to win the National Youth Tournament Series National Championship at 13, Secunda has a track record of exceeding expectations. The Pilot organization took notice of Secunda and invited him to be the official substitute during the Gauntlet of Polo. Practicing with the team at least twice per week provided Finn with consistent high-goal practices and instruction from the sport’s top players.
Off the field, academics remain a priority for Secunda. His notable performance in school balanced with an active polo schedule demonstrate his high level of self-management, ability to receive instruction and his personal pursuit of excellence.
Secunda looks forward to playing polo at a high level and enjoys playing fast polo with excellent horses and players. He is eager to continue playing in Argentina with the help of Team USPA in the hopes of improving his handicap. Finn is currently in England establishing his English handicap and playing horses with the Black Bears organization.
©Global Polo Entertainment
Carrying a 6-goal handicap at the age of 19, it is evident that Mackenzie Weisz is one of America’s top players. Weisz showed an innate talent and intense determination for the sport from a young age. Playing with the Pilot organization in 2019 launched him into several high-goal playing opportunities with prestigious organizations like Las Monjitas, Coca-Cola and Pilot again in this year’s Gauntlet of Polo. He found great success with Pilot on both occasions, first sweeping all three jewels of the inaugural Gauntlet of Polo, then reclaiming victories in the USPA Gold Cup and the U.S. Open Polo Championship this past season.
Jumping into high-goal in Argentina propelled Weisz’s growth forward as a player. With the Metro Alto, Metro Bajo, Copa Dorignac and Copa Gazzoti under his belt, he now has his eyes set on the Cámara de Diputados and Argentine Open. Not to leave a stone unturned, Weisz forged a path to England for the 2021 high-goal season, making his English debut with Monterosso. He is competing again this year with King Power and was recently named MVP in the subsidiary final of the Cartier Queen’s Cup. With specific goals and a well-orchestrated plan in place, Weisz is on his way to achieving his career goals.