As we are gearing up to “save” the development of polo players in America, has anyone done the math on that prospect?
Do you realize that if the number of American players rated at 5-goals or above represent only 11% of the high goal ranks. More importantly, if you removed all of the foreign players (yes, both Canadians included) from the depleted ranks of 20-goal teams (down to only nine teams in 2009) you would be eliminating 17 positions, with only 15 American players rated at 6-goals or above to replace them. Now the reason this won’t work is because of those 17 foreign players, one of them was rated at 9-goals; three were rated at 8-goals; four were 7-goals; four were rated at six goals and five of them were 5-goalers.
Now neither Nick Roldan nor Adam Snow participated in last year’s 20-goal competition at the International Polo Club, and 7-goaler Tommy Biddle sat it out as well. Six-goalers Joey Casey, Kris Kampsen, Tiger Kneece and Alan Martinez sat out as well, but therein lies the problem.
In order for us to return just nine teams to the fields for the Joe Barry, Ylvisaker and Iglehart Cup, we would need to replace one 9-goaler; three 8-goalers and four 7-goalers. We simply don’t have them, and there aren’t any in the works that I can see developing. Of our current 5-goalers registered with the USPA only nine of forty-four are US citizens!
We have been fed this PTF crap about how “the future of polo is in our youth”, yet we see our grasp on the development of high-goal players continually eroding. The USPA speaks of a membership of 3,000 players yet we find a growing percentage of that to be foreign.
I have no idea why the USPA is unable to look around and review what other associations are doing and try to adapt some of their programs in an effort to develop our players. I don’t know why the marketing wing of the association isn’t actively soliciting corporate sponsorship of international competition (PLEASE take a look at what Hurlingham has accomplished); why our II ranks don’t look to the SUPA program in Great Britain that fields more teams and touches more schools and universities than we would ever consider or the attempted development of SAPA, a program designed to keep young players in the game after they leave school but before they are able to properly afford to support a polo habit.
In the meantime, do the math. It doesn’t work.