FOUR LOCAL POLO PLAYERS CHOSEN FOR TEAM USPA FOR FIRST TIME
WELLINGTON — For the first time, Palm Beach County had four polo players selected for Team USPA at the same time.
Team USPA’s mission since it was created in 2010 is “to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the U.S. by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players” while giving back to the sport.
Ganzi, Daniels and Arellano grew up together playing at Grand Champions, which has become a launching pad for youth players.
Ganzi, 20, a third generation polo player, will be a junior this fall at Lynn University. He has represented the U.S. on two winning International Cups and Royal Polo Match in Toronto.
“I was happy to make the team and it was fun to make the team with my friends,” Ganzi said. “It’s something I have always aspired to do ever since I was young and that’s to be able to represent the U.S.
“To have four players from Wellington speaks volumes about Wellington polo and what a great place it is to play year-round and for generating good up-and-coming American players,” said Ganzi, whose U.S. Polo Association team made it to the U.S. Open semifinals before being eliminated. “I’m really proud to be a part of this.”
Calle, 23, recently graduated from Lynn University and is beginning a career in business with two of his former college roommates. The trio have started a high-end furniture business, BlackTree, based in Florida.
“I am just starting my business career but I wish to continue playing polo,” said Calle, who started competing seriously at Grand Champions five years ago and is currently rated 3-goals. “Team USPA will help me facilitate the process to achieve high goal status.”
Calle said he was “excited more than anything else” for the opportunity to try out and enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces.
“It is a small world, you’re always playing polo with friends,” Calle said. “Having them there made the whole experience even greater.”
Daniels, 19, a St. Andrew’s School alum, attends Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter. His father, Bob Daniels, was his mentor and patron of Pony Express and avid polo player. Bob Daniels died in 2016 at the age of 74 from injuries sustained when he was thrown from his horse during a game.
“I am very happy about making Team USPA,” Daniels said. “To make Team USPA means to me that I am supported and that the USPA believes in young players like me and to make our dream of being high-rated American players come true.
“Having my great friends around helped me feel part of a friendly group that are looking to make each other play better instead of just beating each other,” Daniels said. “We want the best for each other.”
Arellano, 18, the son of one of America’s top players, Julio Arellano, is finishing his last year of home school and hopes to attend UC-Aiken in the fall.
“I think I was a combination excited and nervous at the tryout,” Arellano said. “They made me feel very comfortable.
“It definitely means a lot to represent the U.S.,” Arellano said. “It was nice to see players I knew and grew up with. Having familiar faces around made it a really fun experience. It seems like such a great program. I’m glad I made it.”
The foursome was among nine players selected after the final stage of selections on May 18-20. They are joined by Molly Agee, Lauren Biddle, Mia Bray, Jake Klentner and Sloan Stefanakis.
Wellington-based Santa Rita Polo Farm provided horses for Ganzi, Calle and Daniels. Arellano played his own horses.