A group of young players from the Northern Football Federation will go into the festive period in even higher spirits than usual after taking out the overall prize at the National Age Group Tournament in Wellington.
The event was staged at several venues by Capital Football with the generous support of the New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) and brought together the most promising up-and-comers from the country’s seven federations, who all competed against their peers across five categories – girls 14th and 16th grades, and boys 14th, 15th and 16th grades.
The Federation Cup – awarded to the federation with the highest accumulated points tally across the categories – went to Northern while Auckland and Mainland finished second and third respectively. Northern managed to claim the overall prize despite winning only one of the categories, while Auckland and Mainland took the title in two each.
The main emphasis at the tournament was on player development and talent identification though and New Zealand Football Youth Development Manager Andy Boyens says the five days of action-packed play were hugely beneficial to all involved on both fronts.
“It was a really valuable week and gave the players and coaches the chance to test themselves against others from across New Zealand – it’s great to have everyone competing against each other in one place,” he said.
“The quality of play has improved year-on-year and the 2016 edition showed again that the standard of players coming through the junior and youth game in New Zealand is increasing. New Zealand Football staff were able to view all the games and start identifying players who will one day become All Whites and Football Ferns.”
Boyens was full of gratitude for Capital Football and the NZCT for their hard work behind the scenes to make the tournament, now in its fourth year, so enjoyable for all parties.
“A huge thank you needs to go to Capital for the time and dedication they put towards running such a fantastic event. We are also extremely grateful to NZCT for their contribution to making the National Age Group Tournament happen,” he said.
“Without NZCT’s support, and the endless hours of organisation from the team at Capital, we wouldn’t be able to run this tournament.”
Former All White Boyens was on hand to assist with the post-tournament prize giving and was joined by some other notable names in former Football Fern Maureen Jacobson, NZF board member Phil Barry and interim Wellington Phoenix co-coach Des Buckingham, along with Phoenix players Jacob Tratt and Adam Parkhouse. They all assisted with presenting the players, teams and officials with their trophies and awards.
See below for details of all the award winners from the 2016 National Age Group Tournament.
Winner: Northern Football
Runner-up: Auckland Football
Third place: Mainland Football
Age Group Winners
U-16 Boys: Auckland Football
U-16 Girls: Northern Football
U-15 Boys: Mainland Football
U-14 Boys: Auckland Football
U-14 Girls: Mainland Football
Golden Boot Winners
U-16 Boys: Matthew Palmer (Auckland) – 7 goals
U-16 Girls: Kelli Brown (WaiBOP) – 9 goals
U-15 Boys: Ben Waine (Capital) – 6 goals
U-14 Boys: Oskar van Hattum (Central) and Ryan Verney (Auckland) – 6 goals
U-14 Girls: Jayda Stewart (Mainland) – 12 goals
Tournament Teams (MVPs in bold)
Goalkeeper: Zac Jones (Capital); Defenders: Jacob Richards (Mainland), Alex Meaclem (Mainland), Hugo Kidd (Auckland), Matthew Rayneau (Auckland); Midfielders: Logan Wisnewski (WaiBOP), Matthew Palmer (Auckland), Kieran Richards (Auckland); Forwards: Charles Spragg (Auckland), Seth Clarke (Mainland), Jack Kelly (Northern)
Goalkeeper: Mackenzie Falco (Mainland); Defenders: Casey Klynn (Northern), Tiana Hill (WaiBOP), Jenna Barry (Central); Midfielders: Rose Morton (Central), Toni Power (WaiBOP), Milly McWhirter (Auckland), Arabella Maynard (Northern); Forwards: Dayna Stevens (Northern), Amy Hislop (South), Cara Lonergan (Northern)
Goalkeeper: Thomas Hett (Northern); Defenders: Joshua Toomin (South), Shaun Kiteley (Auckland), Kurtis Mogg (Northern), Jason Nel (WaiBOP); Midfielders: Noah Tipene-Clegg (Central), Thomas Downes (Mainland), Sam Sutton (Northern); Forwards: Haris Zeb (Mainland), William Stephen (WaiBOP), Graylin Chawanji (Central)
Goalkeeper: Thomas Poole (South); Defenders: Ivan Cibilich (Auckland), Braden Fowell (Central), Kris Naicker (Northern); Midfielders: Enoch Chu (Northern), Ben Old (Northern), Sean Bright (Auckland), Ryan Verney (Auckland); Forwards: Taylor Donaldson (South), Bradley Wilson (Auckland), Oskar van Hattum (Central)
Goalkeeper: Rylee Godbold (Capital); Defenders: Elena Firth (Mainland), Zoe Barrot (Capital), Caelin Patterson (Capital); Midfielders: Macey Fraser (Mainland), Kate Duncan (Auckland), Rene Wasi (Northern), Aniela Jensen (Central); Forwards: Ella Fong (Mainland), Alex Gill (Mainland), Jayda Stewart (Mainland)