A jam-packed weekend of domestic action is in store with the National Women’s League, Futsal National League and Charity Cup match between Team Wellington and Auckland City all set to take place. Those frontline competitions are all likely to grab the headlines but there is another league also about to kick off that will bring the next generation of stars to attention and help turn them into future All Whites.
Among the throng of exciting activity for lovers of local football, the National Youth League returns with a full round of action and all ten teams looking to emulate the feat of Hamilton Wanderers, who claimed the trophy in their maiden campaign last season.
Wanderers’ first ever title defence gets going at home on Sunday to Tasman United but they won’t have the advantage of playing at their originally chosen venue due to the Porritt Stadium field being unplayable. The game has therefore been shifted to St Peter’s College in Cambridge.
There are two other matches on Sunday with Southern United playing host to Auckland City and Waitakere United joining their crosstown rivals in facing a lengthy trip south to take on Canterbury United.
The honour of raising the curtain on the season though goes to Hawke’s Bay United and the Wellington Phoenix, who will clash in Napier in the early kick off on Saturday, swiftly followed by Team Wellington welcoming Eastern Suburbs to Petone.
While Hamilton will be determined to hang on to their hard-fought crown, Suburbs will surely be among the favourites to take it off them as they boast a number of players who have just starred for New Zealand at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India.
There are also several notable names among the coaching contingent with ex-All Whites Chris Zorocich and Chad Coombes taking charge of the respective campaigns of Suburbs and Waitakere United while former Football Ferns assistant coach Aaron McFarland is doing likewise at Auckland City.
Another pair with experience at international level will drive the challenge from the capital teams with Paul Temple leading the Phoenix and Jose Figueira taking both the senior and youth sides at Team Wellington.
For the full 2017 National Youth League schedule please click here
National Youth League squads
Waitakere United: Michael Williams (GK), Ryan Duthie, Ross Lewis, Moses Akimana, Greg Nimmo, Ardri McArthur, Arzan Todywalla, Sean Green, Matthew Banks, Jordan Lamb, James Green, Bronson Kelly, Oban Hawkins, Aashray Jayapuram, James Barlow, Joshua Peden, Hayden Aish, Osman Rastagar, Glen Lewis, Max Ongley, Tapiwa Mudapakati, Jack Kelly, Niko Steinmetz, Clarke Foulds, Jacob Mechell, Robert Dymond, Jack McQuoid (GK)
Coach: Chad Coombes
Auckland City: Cameron Brown (GK), Robert Tipelu, Sione Fa’Apoi, Dino Botica, Callum McNeill, Wilson Fisher-Van Der Veen, Joshua Jones, Solomon Granger, Matthew Ellis, Seli Fuimaono, Leon Van Den Hoven, Hugo Kidd, Jaylen Rodwell, Oscar Spragg, Zacary Ballantyne, Ricardo Yugovich, James Dunn (GK), Jack Duncan, Thomas Golding, Michael Soffe, Antonio Bonkovich, Oscar Browne, Justin James Bailey, Jack Anderson, Joshua Oliver, Thomas Drillien, Owen Parker-Price, Callum McCowatt, Dalton Wilkins, Nicholas Burke (GK)
Coach: Aaron McFarland
Eastern Suburbs: Henry Evans (GK), Jordan Spain, Ben Deeley, Boyd Curry, George Andrew, Troy Thomas, Kingsley Sinclair, Kieran Richards, Charles Spragg, Luke Clissold, Matthew Palmer, Shaun Kiteley, Elijah Woods, Dane Schnell, Oscar Jeffey, Luke Smart, Jack Cahir, Kyaw San Win (Joe) Mya, Sam Funnell, Kai Gillespie, Sam Bottomley (GK), Thomas McCloy, Max Mata, Maung Saw Khaing (Mong) Mya, Will Sargent, Kelvin Kalua, Campbell Strong, Sam Twigg, Denny Twigg, Oliver Pocock (GK)
Coach: Chris Zorocich
Hamilton Wanderers: Keegan Hansen (GK), Kyle Stead, Joel McMullan, John Clout, Dilan Nanyakkara, Ben Moore, Liam Fellowes, Taylor Evans, Alex Frank, Dallyn Smith, Jamie Woodlock, Owen Comber, Levi Clark, Quinton Kipara, Lachlan McIsaac, William Stephen, Nathan Monne, Thomas Mouncher, Kyle Kirsten, Zachary Newdick, Jack Marden, Liam Cooney, Flynn O’Brien, George Ott, Steffano Riley, Bradley Rae, Liam Steffert, Aaron Bayliss, Luke Woolerton, Jackson Hawke (GK)
Coaches: Michael Built, Juan Roman
Hawke’s Bay United: Wilson McCullough (GK), Dylan Barron, Campbell Hantler, Jackson Durrington, Ethan Ladd, Jackson Ralph, Kaeden Atkins, Sam Murphy, Vince MacKirdy, Josh Murphy, Ben Lack, Karan Mandair, Josh Bowie, Luke Palfreyman, Jorge Akers, Bradley Perks, Harry Mason, Jayson Gerbes, Taylor Monk, Kenny Willox, Luis Toomey, Zac Madsen, Matt Aitchison, Dylan DuRoss, Will Kimber (GK)
Coach: Jamie Dunning
Team Wellington: Marcel Kampman (GK), Tom Schuyt, Jarom Brouwer, Josh Rogerson, Alex Clayton, Matthew Chadwick, Elijah Just, Matthew Garbett, Merlin Luke-Miny, Xavier Green, Tor Davenport-Peterson, Cameron MacKenzie, Ashlen Stroud, Marco Stamenic, Ryan Feutz, Daniel Harford-Silas, Marcus Simmons Godinet, Robert Sabo, Bryn Yates, Nando Pijnaker, Shikane Tuhoro, Frankie Walkington (GK), Brayan Heredia, Oliver Van Rissel, Matthew Hickling, Ahmed Othman, Jakob Moore (GK)
Coach: Jose Figueira
Wellington Phoenix: Zachary Dean (GK), Jake Williams, Liam Moore, Liberato Cacace, Oliver Whyte, Max Batchelor, Willem Ebbinge, Sam Sutton, Oliver Valentine, Noah Tipene-Clegg, Oskar Van Hattum, Tuyi Byamana, Owen Smith, Tommi Joe-McIndoe, Ben Waine, Eric Gromme, Kurtis Mogg, Henry Hamilton, Zac Jones (GK), Josh Wentworth, Adam Hillis, Finn O’Connor, Matthew Braddock, Forbes Nyatsanza, Jackson Manuel, Luke Agalawatta, Thomas Wagner, Braden Fowell, Matthew Conroy, Thomas Poole (GK)
Coach: Paul Temple
Tasman United: Scott Morris (GK), Gavin Peattie, Simon Wilson, Thang Vanuk, David Maisey, Alec Fox, Pirran Stephens, Chester Gaskin, Van Roland Hlawn Ceu, Ben Stanley, Rick Muir, Van Cen Hrang, Christian Benitez, Sam Faulkner, Joe Parker, Keegan Mortimer, Liam Sluiter, Alex Conor-McClean, Josh Creswell, Callan Elliott, Matt Tod-Smith, Lyle Matthysen, Labu Pan, Tullamore MacFadyen, Lachlan Brooks, Joe Robertson (GK)
Coach: Rob Anderson
Canterbury United Dragons: Max Collingwood (GK), Samuel Field, Jacob Richards, Matthew Jones, Celyn Richards, Milan Clarke, Paul Richnow, Liam Gerathy, Mason Stearn, Ryan Nicholson, Aaron McDonald, Byron Heath, Max Chretien, Mikaele Rabuka, Tom Stewart, Luke Tolan, Joshua Paul, Sebastian Schacht, Seth Clark, Michael White, Declan Hickford, Edward Wilkinson, Treye Butler, Conor Clarke, Harris Zeb, Charles Boot (GK)
Coach: Alan Walker
Southern United: Stewart Catto (GK), Kasam Ali, Joseph Carvell, Alex Cox, Andrew Cromb, Samuel Dore, Oliver Dowling, Oliver Elms, Rory Findlay, Ryan Fleming, Max Johnston, Ben Kiore, Josh Lucas, Caleb Mazure, George McCall, Matt Milton, Tom Milton, Cameron Anderson, Karl Northey, Rian Norton, Timothy O’Farrell, Louis Peyroux, Jack Pirie, Rhys Quarrell, Keita Rudd, Kieran Stephenson, Joel Theissen-Papp, Shay Thom, Liam Watson, Benjamin Dubyck (GK)
Coach: Kevin Scoullar