The dynamic Morgan Van Overbroek, polo player, club owner and tournament organiser, was the subject of my first interview of this covid-delayed 2020 polo season (August 8 "A Quick Word With Morgan Van Overbroek"). Now, at the end of this season, Morgan has been elected as President of the Swiss Polo Association, the first active female player to take on this position. The time had definitely come to talk with her again.
It was the outgoing President, Martin Luginbühl and Vice-President Sébastian Le Page who suggested that she could take on the presidency. She sees this as an incredible honour and as recognition of her dedication and hard work at her club Polo Park Zürich @poloparkzurich. Being elected unanimously proved that ability was what mattered not gender and provides an inspiration for women to reach out for this type of opportunity. However, she still has to giggle a bit about Sébastain’s statement 6 years ago, that buying Polo Park Zürich would not in any way change her life. How wrong could he be?
Switzerland has seen a lot of polo played from the mid 80s to mid 2000s and Morgan now feels the time is ripe to empower the players, reactivate this spirit and put the country’s polo on the world map. Switzerland has so much to offer and it is important to note that all the clubs have shown resilience during the pandemic, continuing to develop, sending out an amazing message for the future. Morgan is already working on the synergies between the clubs stressing a passion shared.
The International Take
For some years now, Morgan has been involved in the international scene as she and her husband also have a polo club in Argentina saneugeniopoloclub and have set up lines of contact with the AAP and FIP. She is currently working with Dawn Jones, Founder of Women’s International Polo Network promoting women’s polo and helping female polo players discover the amazing worldwide polo family.
With more players per head of population than many other nations, Switzerland is one of the few countries offering all 3 polo types - beach, snow and field polo spread over 9 clubs. There are certain highlights well known on the international circuit, the Snow Polo World Cup in St Moritz being one. Polo Park Zürich is one of the biggest European clubs and holds the second oldest women’s tournament in the world, the International Ladies Tournament hosting some of the world’s best female players. In Gstaad and Veytay players have the opportunity of winning Swiss masterpieces of haute horlogerie and in Ascona players enjoy the Swiss Italian vibe. Every club has its own special identity.
As Morgan says, polo is so much more than a sport. It’s a lifestyle, and she wants to make it more popular and accessible both inside and outside of Switzerland, with locals feeling free to drop by the clubs to watch games, enjoy a tournament lunch, meet players and ponies. For the first time in many years, Swiss polo can field a great selection of players eligible for the National Team. Morgan would just love to see that team win the European Championship and: "Why not host this championship in Switzerland?". Why not, indeed.
Challenges and Projects
While the Swiss Polo Association Board Members provide valuable support, it comes as no surprise that Morgan feels that finding enough time will be her biggest challenge as she just has so many ideas. Martin Luginbühl and Christopher Kiesel have been tailoring the Polo Development App to Switzerland. Morgan wants to push this forward making Switzerland the 4th country after UK, USA, and Argentina to use this. A Newsletter for affiliates and getting more involved in Swiss Equestrian media is on the "to do“ list. Promoting the Swiss National Polo Team on both national and international levels is yet another goal.
In all of this, it's easy to forget that Morgan is, first and foremost, a dedicated, passionate polo player who, on top of all of her duties as SPA President, is keen to play and train as much as she can. Her determination and professionalism is seen in the goals she has set herself and the coaching she has undergone in numerous fields from nutrition, mental and physical fitness, riding and the different aspects of polo. For Morgan, "Polo is a holistic sport...realising this was, for me, like discovering an entirely new galaxy in the
universe“. Madame President, your enthusiasm is energising. We wish you all the very best.