When you hear the word polo, the things that pop to mind almost always include golf shirts and Veuve Clicquot, but there’s something else to add to that list: the U.S. Polo Assn., the official licensed brand for polo in the United States. Its main mission: to keep the sport alive and thriving by generating funds through branded items of clothing, luggage, accessories and shoes that go back to the United States Polo Association (USPA).
Recently, the U.S. Polo Assn. launched a fall/winter 2014-15 ad campaign starring seven up-and-coming polo players. “We are the authentic brand for the sport of polo and so it was important that we would use authentic polo players,” says Jacqueline Harrigan of USPA Properties.
There’s a certain camaraderie that shines through each uniquely American snapshot—the players, who range in ages 18 to 24, have grown up and learned how to play the sport together from a young age. Decked out in U.S. Polo Assn. attire and mallets, the rising athletes look comfortable in their own skin. “We really wanted to support players who were interested in pursuing the sport as part of their career path,” says Harrigan.
There’s 23-year-old Isabella Wolf, who comes from an equestrian family, has been playing for 14 years and is a member of the Inter-Collegiate/Interscholastic team through the University of Virginia and Ashley Van Metre, who’s training to go pro. Herndon Radcliff, Julia Steiner, Juan Bollini, Jonny Lavine and Wesley Finalyson are among the other players featured. “I’ve worked on a lot of shoots with models and these players are fun and casual—they’re youthful and so passionate about the sport. They’re such a tight-knit community,” says Harrigan. “It’s also the only where sport you can speak to the players. You can walk right up to them after the game to speak with them about the sport. There’s a real sense of community.”
With the spring/summer campaign launching in the new year—which marks their 125th anniversary—the U.S. Polo Assn. continues to build visibility around polo, working hard to support the sport and develop the players. “[The campaign] also speaks to the fact that polo is a sport of the youth. Now more so than ever, there’s a lot more youth in the sport, which is helping to educate young players to get involved.”