20-year-old Hope Arellano has taken the world of polo by storm. With a myriad of titles, championships and notable victories on her trophy shelf; Arellano’s dominance and dedication to the sport is an inspiration, especially for other young women.
A fourth-generation player, Arellano knew at just nine years old that she wanted to be a professional like her father, Hall of Famer Julio Arellano. Her first adult tournament at the age of 11 served as the catalyst for her polo career, and since then, the phenom is yet to slow down.
At 14 years old, Arellano was rated 3-goals in Women’s Outdoor. Now, six years later, she will achieve the ultimate mark of a professional with the coveted 10-goal handicap in both women’s outdoor and arena handicaps. Set to rise to 9-goals in May and 10-goals in December, Arellano’s achievement also marks a significant accomplishment for American polo. Arellano will be the first American woman to achieve a 10-goal Women’s Outdoor Handicap since the legendary Sunny Hale, and the first American to achieve any 10-goal status since Polito Pieres in 2015. She is also the youngest American to reach a 10-goal women’s handicap.
Arellano’s handicap raise came fresh off of her win in the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship. Competing with La Fe, Arellano’s stellar performance contributed six goals in the final and earned her recognition as the Most Valuable Player. Arellano also won the prestigious tournament in 2017 with San Saba. Just 14 years-old at the time, she is still the youngest player to ever win the tournament.
Arellano also made headlines last fall with her participation in the XII FIP World Polo Championship, making history as the first woman to compete for the United States in the international contest. Her addition to the starting lineup continued USA’s forward momentum, allowing the red, white and blue to emerge with an electrifying 9-8 overtime win against defending champions and competition favorites, Argentina, to advance to the final. Hope’s contributions also helped the USA put forth a strong effort in the final, forcing the game into overtime. While they fell in a narrow 11-10 loss to Spain, the USA’s silver medal finish offered a great deal of hope for the future of American polo on the global scene.
Arellano is also quickly becoming a mainstay in the Women’s Argentine Open, competing the last two years in the prestigious competition. In 2021, she played with La Irenita Libra Seguros, placing third and receiving the Revelation Award for her performance. In 2022, she played with La Irenita E-Movility and advanced to the final, falling to La Dolfina in a hard-fought match. In 2023, she will compete with El Overo Z7 UAE, one of the strongest women’s polo organizations in the world.
A shining beacon of hope for the advancement of American polo, Arellano’s accomplishments pave the way for many other young professionals, showing that hard work and determination can flourish into a successful career in the sport. With a long career ahead of her, the USPA commends Hope Arellano on her soon-to-be 10-goal handicap and looks forward to watching her continue to break barriers and records in the years to come.