The country’s most talented young futsal players are in the midst of an exciting period with the New Zealand Secondary Schools Futsal Championship having just wrapped up and the tertiary equivalent kicking off today in Christchurch, as well as the selection of age-group national futsal teams on the horizon.
Both tournaments have proved hugely popular as futsal continues to experience unprecedented growth. Nearly 100 teams competed in the secondary schools competition at the ASB Sports Centre in Wellington last weekend while this year’s National University Futsal Championship has almost doubled in size from the 2016 event, attracting eight entries in the male tournament and seven in the female.
“The National University Futsal Championship is an important link in New Zealand’s complete futsal pathway,” says Kevin Forde, who has recently been appointed as New Zealand Football’s Futsal and Women’s Competitions Manager.
“Similar to the role university plays in bridging the gap between school and employment, the national championship bridges the gap between youth and senior futsal.”
The teams involved will fight it out over the next four days across two venues in the Garden City – the Ara Institute of Canterbury and St Thomas of Canterbury College – and will be looking to follow in the footsteps of those that achieved success just days earlier in the secondary schools tournament.
In the fifth New Zealand Secondary Schools Futsal Championship to be staged, 91 teams competed but only three were able to claim the honours. Wellington’s St Patrick’s College dominated the male section with title wins in both the junior and senior boys competitions while Mt Albert Grammar of Auckland won the senior girls competition for the fifth year in a row. Hillcrest High School took the junior girls title with them back to Hamilton.
A key part of the event was also the opportunity it provided for members of New Zealand Football’s technical department to cast their eye over the action and identity players in preparation for the launch of under-18 national teams for both boys and girls, as well as ear-marking some who could go on to star for the Futsal Whites and Futsal Ferns senior sides.
“We have yet again witnessed an outstanding event that schools can be proud of,” New Zealand Football Head of Operations Dave Payne says.
“The level of futsal on display clearly indicates that the college futsal programme delivered by the futsal development teams in the federations and partnered schools is producing ‘in-house’ futsal development systems. Seeing student players, coaches, referees and administrators in a youth-led approach is providing the holistic vision we have for futsal to become the nation’s leading small-sided sport and for our futsal development system to be a world leader.”
A selection of games from the National University Futsal Championship will be live streamed and are available to watch by clicking here
New Zealand Secondary Schools Futsal Championship Results
Champions: Hillcrest High School
Runners-up: Papanui High School
Most Valuable Player: Joint winners Brooke Teear (Papanui High School), Tyde Ivatt (Long Bay College), Eve Barry (New Plymouth Girls High School)
Golden Boot: Brooke Teear, 14 goals (Papanui High School)
Golden Gloves: Olivia Gillard (Hillcrest High School)
Champions: Mt Albert Grammar
Runners-up: New Plymouth Girls High School
Most Valuable Player: Macy Fraser (Rangiora High School)
Golden Boot: Grace Jale, 19 Goals (Mt Albert Grammar)
Golden Gloves: Hamilton Girls High School
Champions: St Patrick’s College
Runners-up: Hamilton Boys High School
Most Valuable Player: Joint winners Scott Grager (Wellington High School), Jackson Manuel (St Patrick’s College), Jamaya Shearer (Kapiti College), Yun Chang (Otago Boys High School)
Golden Boot: Jesse Randall, 15 goals (Rongotai College)
Golden Gloves: St Patrick’s College
Champions: St Patrick’s College
Runners-up: Napier Boys High School
Most Valuable Player: Joint winners Kees Tweed (Bethlehem College), Avishak Kumar (Hamilton Boys High School)
Golden Boot: Liberato Cacace, 20 goals (St Patrick’s College)
Golden Gloves: Joint winners Hamilton Boys High School, St Patrick’s College