How did you get involved in polo?
Having been born and raised on a farm in Cañuelas established by my great grandfather in the 1800's, I grew up in an environment where polo was a family sport. My grandfather got involved in polo together with his children, Angel and Tomas de Estrada. I started riding when I arrived from the US where I had lived until I was 5 years old. I would finish school and go to the stables to ride. In 1980 we started La Martina Polo Club at our farm. I played at La Martina together with Adolfo Cambiaso (5) senior, my eldest brother Salvador Socas (7) and Lolo Castagnola (10).
Your half brother Adolfo Cambiaso is the one and only international polo player.How does it feel to be the brother of the famous Dolfi?
Adolfito Cambiaso, son of my mother and Adolfo Cambiaso, was born when I was 10 years old. From the time he was three, he was an excellent rider and he started playing with us. We played together until he was 16. And then he was already starting his professional career.
I can't be objective, but without thinking that he is my brother, he is my idol. He is a player who thinks two steps ahead from the rest. He is a very complete player. He has no weak points.
What was your occupation before being a polo player? And when did you start playing polo professionally?
When I was 18, I had to decide whether to be a professional myself, but I decided to go to college instead of being a professional as my other brothers. I studied Industrial Engineering and had to move to Buenos Aires. Every Friday I would drive to the farm to play polo and returned on Monday mornings.
When I finished my studies I moved back to La Martina, and by that time Adolfito had started to be a professional player and was travelling around the world accompanied by my mother, Martina de Estrada, and Adolfo Cambiaso.
By 1990 my mother offered me to manage the family business, and I was delighted. Polo became then my main focus, I played tournaments, we established the second polo school in Argentina and we started receiving polo guests from all over the world.
You are not only top umpire but also an excellent polo player. How do the players approach you when they face the zebra as an opponent in the field?
I started umpiring in 1992. In Argentina polo is very big, it is a sport that in the last 5 years has become more open, with the result that it is almost impossible for me to umpire games in championships I play. The rules here don't allow this, also not me umpiring in tournaments where members of my family play.
In the Argentine season I umpire three times a week. And I also umpire in many countries around the world, in all of Europe, Brazil, Venezuela, etc.
Being an umpire is not always easy as the emotions are running high, and in the heat of the action there is always a lot of pressure on professional players and they sometimes push the limits, but the umpire has tools to manage the game.
Do they sometimes seek revenge for a tough umpire decision?
No, I am well known and I have earned my reputation.
The names Socas and Cambiaso are also frequently mentioned when people talk about highly valued professionals. What are the players you work or play with the most?
I have played professional since I was 20. I started in Australia, then in the US, England, Jamaica, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Italy, Malaysia and Singapore and in Dubai and China. I played for different patrons in each place. Most recently in China I have played the Sunny Times Beijing Open Polo Tournament for three consecutive years, and we won the tournament in 2013 playing for Xia Yang, the owner of the club, and became second this year playing with the same team, China-Argentina.
What does Marcial Socas say about himself?
I think I am a lucky guy, I work doing what I love which is playing polo and teaching polo and traininig horses. I live on the family farm where I grew up, receive people from all over the world, so it is a cool combination of work and fun.
I relax playing golf and tennis. And of course, whenever I travel for work, I stop by in any of the places I love where I have friends and take some vacations.
But in this part of my life I am more dedicated to my passion, which is not only breeding, but embryo transfer and cloning. I work with a team of top veterinaries specialising in equine biotechnology.
Name: Marcial Socas
Place of residence: Vicente Casares, Cañuelas, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
Marital status: Engaged to Fabiana Dimase my partner in life and business for the last 3 years.