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New Zealand soccer is based on a large number of juniors playing (120000), with higher numbers than even our 'national sport' rugby. However with the small population base (N.Z. 4 million) the senior sides are underdogs compared with many other countries. Women's and girls' soccer have grown rapidly over the last few years and are developing good quality.

New Zealand has been in several Confederations Cups as Oceania champions. In November 1999, N.Z. hosted the Under 17 World Champs, gaining better than expected public interest and crowd support. N.Z.'s first full time professional side, the
Football Kingz played five seasons in the Australian domestic competition (NSL). The first coach of the Kingz was N.Z.'s best known player Wynton Rufer, who made his name playing for Werder Bremen. In 2005 the Kingz were rebranded New Zealand Knights for the new Hyundai A League in Aussie. In 2007 the NZ A League franchise went to the Wellington Phoenix, and the support has made it worthwhile.
New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen is currently the best performed Kiwi overseas. He is doing well for Blackburn Rovers in the English premier League, Chris Wood plays for West Brom and Winston Reid for West Ham. In 2009 a record NZ crowd 35194 watched the All Whites beat Bahrain to qualify for World Cup 2010.

Highlights:

1982 After the longest road of any team, N.Z. got to the World Cup finals in Spain...    Scoring twice against Scotland
1999 N.Z. played in the Confederations Cup tournament
1999 hosted the
Under 17 World tournament here in November, Junior All Whites beat Poland 2 - 1 to finish 3rd in their group. N.Z.'s first ever win in a major FIFA tournament. Over 22000 people watch Australia lose 8 - 7 on penalties to Brazil in the final.
1999 N.Z. awarded FIFA's 1999 Fair Play Award "to the entire New Zealand football community".
Press release.
2002 N.Z. won the Oceania Nations Cup to secure another berth in the Confederations Cup. NZ shot up to its highest ever World ranking - 47th. Oceania granted automatic entry to FIFA World Cup (later with drawn).
2003 NZ played in the Confederations Cup tournament in France.
2004 NZ Sec Schools beats England 1 - 0, away. NZFC begins as NZ's national league.
2005 The NZ Knights are one of eight teams in the inaugural Australian A League
2006 Auckland City, as Oceania champs, compete in World Club Champs in Japan. Knights finish 8th in A League.
2007 Knights licence withdrawn as they, despite a strong late rally, finish 8th again, a point behind Perth. Wellington Phoenix eventually awarded the franchise after Terry Serepisos puts his money in. Phoenix finish last but have good crowds, ave 11000, and hit headlines playing David Beckham's LA Galaxy in front of 32000 in Wellington.
2008 Phoenix finish 6th in A League.

2009 NZ All Whites beat Bahrain 1 - 0 to qualify for World Cup, crowd over 35000. Drawn in Group with holders Italy, Slovakia and Paraguay.
2010 NZ proudly unbeaten in World Cup finals, finish higher than World Champs Italy but exit after pool play. NZ 1 Slovakia 1, NZ 1 Italy 1, NZ 0 Paraguay 0. Phoenix 4th in A League.

Structure - History
    Oldest competition is the Chatham Cup, a knock out similar to F.A. Cup.
    Various National Leagues have been run, both the traditional winter and also, recently, in the summer. Cost difficulties have prevented these leagues from continuing consistently. The latest version the NZ Football Championship started late in 2004. Franchises from the various federations won the right to be included in an 8 team league.
The winners of the first NZFC were Auckland City.


NZ Soccer History Time-line

Click here to follow soccer in Aotearoa from its beginnings to today.


Present Structure
- from highest to lowest

   NZ Football Championship
     (
8 teams in a league and finals format )
   Northern / Central / Southern Leagues
     (
e.g. Northern has Premier, 1st divisions)
   Federation Leagues (2 divisions)
   Local Leagues.
     (
e.g. Bay of Plenty has 2 divisions)

Hence Plains Rangers
AFC is playing 5 divisions below the top football in New Zealand. So we are seven grades below the NZ Phoenix! The closest National League club geographically to Plains Rangers, is now Waikato FC, based in Hamilton.

Click below to view results and highlights of the Wellington Phoenix in the Aussie A League
in the 2010 - 2011 season
in the 2009 - 2010 season
in the 2008 - 2009 season
in the 2007-2008 season
before them,
the NZ Knights in the A League
in the 2006 - 2007 season
in the 2005 - 2006 season
and before them, the Football Kingz in the Australian NSL
in the 2003 - 2004 season
in the 2002 - 2003 season
in the 2001 - 2002 season
in
the 2000 - 2001 season
in
the 1999 - 2000 season

Click here to find out more about Wynton Rufer.

Confederations Cup

Click here to see the 2003 Confederation Cup results. New Zealand were in Pool A with France, Japan and Columbia

July 24 1999
New Zealand 1, U.S.A. 2
Captain Chris Zorocich scored with a magnificent free kick. Keeper Michael Utting in outstanding form.

July 29 1999

New Zealand 0, Germany 2
About equal possession with the Germans. Lines should have had a penalty, but denied.

July 31 1999

New Zealand 0, Brasil 2
Utting brilliant again. Che Bunce has powerful header saved. Aaran Lines shaves the post.

Click here for the 1999 Under 17 World Champs details

Click here for the results from the 2002 World Cup

Click here for the results of 2004 Oceania Nations Cup

Click here for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa

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