New Zealand’s national sport is rugby union, but soccer has been popular since the 1880s, and the New Zealand Soccer Association, now New Zealand Football, was formed in 1891. Over the next 50 years, the country’s involvement in global soccer was mostly confined to matches against Australian teams, although there were visits to New Zealand by teams from China (1924), Canada (1927) and England (1937).read more
From time to time, Cambridge Football Club holds the Cambridge Summer League. The primary objective of this event is to encourage players to have lots of fun through football. The teams that take part in this competition are seeded upon their stated objectives. This would include whether they want to be serious, semi-serious or just purely social. The club encourages them to square out within this spirit’s objectives. It provides this set of rules as well as guidelines for the player enjoyment.read more
The Northern League is also known as the Northern Region Football League. Today, it is called Lotto Sports Italia NRFL Premier; however, this is for sponsorship reasons. This is semi-professional and professional association football league in New Zealand. It is currently run by the Auckland Football Federation.
The Northern League is at the first level of the NZ football pyramid. It shared this spot alongside the ASB Premiership, which is a franchise-based. It comprises of various football clubs in the northern part of North Island, from the Auckland, Northland, Waikato as also Bay of Plenty provinces.read more
There are few stadiums in New Zealand that are solely for use by soccer teams. Stadiums are generally shared with rugby teams as well as being open to other sporting events as well as entertainment, with the largest stadium welcoming international musicians.read more
New Zealand soccer teams have regularly been winning awards at all levels within the regional Oceania Football Confederation (OCF) championship titles. FIFA World Cup competitions have been much harder, which is no great surprise as rugby is the national sport in a comparatively sparse population. Yet many New Zealand soccer players are now playing in premier teams in the UK and Europe, bringing that experience home to the national team competitions.
Between 1970 and 2004, the National Soccer League is where New Zealand's top soccer clubs competed against each other on a home and away basis, but also occasionally in championship playoffs. The New Zealand champion was the team that performed the best over the season, with the league working in a similar way to the English Premier League and other European leagues, in that clubs could face relegation or promotion, depending on where they sat at the end of the season. Christchurch United and Mt Wellington were the main winners over the period the league ran.
On 15 October 2004, the New Zealand Football Championship was launched. Unlike the National Soccer League, the Football Championship does not involve traditional clubs, but new teams created solely to compete in this competition made up of just eight teams. Sharing the Championship win six times each are teams University-Mount Wellington and Christchurch United
New Zealand did not enter the FIFA World Cup competition until the Mexico 1970 competition, where it failed to qualify. Qualification for a group position came in the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, though they left the competition in 23rd position, after beating Poland. The next time New Zealand reached the group stage was in South Africa in 2010, leaving the competition in 22nd place. Having not qualified for Brazil 2014 or Russia 2018, it is yet to be determined if New Zealand will qualify for the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
Canterbury United Pride claimed a fourth National Women’s League title in six years with a 3-2 victory over Northern Lights in December 2018. FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup player Gabi Rennie was key to the win, having a hand in all three goals for the Pride. New Zealand’s women’s team had recently won bronze in the FIFA U-17 World Cup before returning to New Zealand to await selection for the Grand Final of the Champions League.
In 2018, New Zealand claimed a fifth OCF championship title in six attempts at U-19 level to earn a place at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019. The September 2018 OCF U-16 Championship final saw New Zealand beat Solomon Islands 4-5. The December 2018 OFC Women's Nations Cup final saw New Zealand beat Fiji a resounding 8-0. The OFC Champions League 2019 semi-finals on 28 April 2019 will see Team Wellington play against Hienghène Sport and Auckland City FC will play against AS Magenta