Polocrosse in the USA
The American Polocrosse Association has about 300 members from 18 states. There are 18 clubs as far-reaching as Montana in the northwest to Florida in the southeast.
The National Championships occur every two years, with Regional Championships in each region in the years when there is not a National Championship. The country is organized into three regional zones: Eastern, Central and Mountain/Western. There are about 15 sanctioned tournaments each year with many other smaller play day events.
History of Polocrosse in the USA
In the early 1980s, there was a student at Lake Erie College in Ohio who studied abroad in Australia, discovered polocrosse and brought racquets and balls back to the U.S. Around the same time a few Australians came to the US to do some polocrosse clinics in Arizona and Texas.
As a result, the Polocrosse Association of the U.S. was formed in Texas and the American Polocrosse Association was formed in Phoenix, Arizona. Since the IPC only allowed one association in the U.S., the American Polocrosse Association was formalized in 1984.
In the early 1990s, polocrosse was gaining traction in the US Pony Club. The first polocrosse pony club rally was held in 1991 in Pennsylvania, but it was officially recognized as a US Pony Club sport in 1994.
Since polocrosse started in the US, it has migrated east. Currently, the Eastern and Central zone membership numbers are the same.
The Australian Stock Horse breed has helped to increase the level of play in the US since they were first imported and played polocrosse in the mid 2000s.
USA at the World Cup
2003 – 5th place
2007 – 7th place
2011 – 4th place (highest)
2015 – 7th place (current world ranking)
US coaches have included Australians in the past (Joy Poole in 2003 and 2007, and Jane Cooper in 2011), but the US has a South African coach for 2019 (James Hackland).
What is unique about polocrosse in the USA?
In the US, polocrosse is very spread out across the country so many players have to travel long distances to tournaments.
People come to the sport from many equestrian backgrounds (Western, English, Pony Club).
What will give the USA an edge at the World Cup?
The combination of Aussie and African styles.
The US team is committed to work hard over these months leading up to the World Cup and to be in their best shape.
Team members are spread out across the US as far as 24 hours drive from Texas to Maryland so it will be difficult to train together often but the team is going to play together as much as possible.
Who to watch
Youngest player on our team is Kat Liner, aged 19. She has represented USA in several youth tours but will be her first time at World Cup. She is playing in South Africa this summer while on school holidays to prepare.
Youngest male player is Karl Balogh, aged 22, a recent graduate from West Virginia University. 2019 will also be Karl’s first World Cup.
Returning USA World Cup players are Megan Waggener and Braxton Hamlin from the 2015 Cup. Braxton is also getting some time in playing in South Africa this summer.
This will be Rob Shuttle’s fourth World Cup so hopefully his experience will rub off on our first timers! He was the USA umpire and helped coach at the 2015 World Cup and he played at all the others. Rob may be tied for the most cups participated in by any player. Debbie Harris from the UK will beat him with five if she is on a team in 2019.