Fact file: New Zealand football

A brief overview of New Zealand football.

Football is one of New Zealand's most popular sports. With strong ties to the United Kingdom and Europe, it was only natural that football (known nationwide as soccer until 2007) would have an impact on the country.

The capital city Wellington, located at the base of the North Island, is home to New Zealand’s only professional football team; Wellington Phoenix.

Two of the earliest known football clubs in New Zealand are Northern AFC and Roslyn Wakari AFC. Established in 1888, these Dunedin-based football clubs celebrated 125 years in 2013 and even preceded the creation of the New Zealand Football Association (NZFC), formed in 1891.

Founding member

They NZFC became officially affiliated with FIFA in 1948, and was also a founding member of the Oceania Football Confederation, to which it still belongs. The governing body became New Zealand Football in 2007.

The various national football teams of New Zealand are made up of the New Zealand National Football Team - also known as the All Whites - the Football Ferns, NZ U-23, Junior All Whites, Young All Whites, Junior Football Ferns, Young Football Ferns and the Futsal Whites.

The All Whites’ biggest success to-date has been reaching the finals of two FIFA World Cups™ - Spain 1982, South Africa 2010.

Spain gave New Zealand football a chance to shine on the world stage like never before, but it was in at the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010, that the team really made their mark; three draws in three games saw them exit as the only unbeaten team in the 32-nation tournament.

The New Zealand women’s team, the Football Ferns, took things a step further when they reached the quarter-finals of the London Olympics in 2012, only to be ousted by eventual winners USA.

FIFA U-20 World Cup

The 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup is the third major international football tournament to be held in New Zealand after the country hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1999 and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2008.