The NZ Football Foundation is pleased to see football in this country finish the year on a high note.
Whist accepting that 2018 was a challenging year for football in New Zealand, the NZ Football Foundation maintained its strategy of supporting Women’s Football and supported NZ Football in this area.
There were two clear highlights to finish the year with the NZ U-17 women making history at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay, by becoming the first national team to claim a bronze medal at a FIFA event, and the Football Ferns securing their place at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
The Foundation, which was created initially with responsibility for managing the $4 million given to New Zealand Football for qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, has grown its profile as it looks to achieve the vision: “To support our game so that more footballers can achieve their dreams”.
The NZ Football Foundation started the year in exciting fashion when they became the first sponsor of the newly-named NZ Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup at a formal function at Parliament. They have signed on to support the competition formerly known as the NZ Women’s Knockout Cup for the next three years.
“Our leading objective is to support the development of the women’s game, and this is an exciting opportunity for the Foundation,” said New Zealand Football Foundation Chief Executive Noel Barkley.
New Zealand Football Foundation Chairwoman Jodi Tong said aligning with the Kate Sheppard Cup was an easy decision for the Foundation.
“Kate Sheppard – the woman responsible for giving New Zealand women the vote – epitomises leadership, strength in belief and making things happen, and so when the opportunity came up for the Foundation to support the women’s game through sponsoring this prestigious cup, we didn’t hesitate,” she said.
Dunedin Technical made history when they won the inaugural NZ Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup for the first time. They beat Forrest Hill Milford United 4-2 in the final.
The Football Foundation, in conjunction with the NZ Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and New Zealand Football, continued to support the Future Ferns Domestic Programme (FFDP) financially in the area of hardship and players’ expenses.
The FFDP has proven to be a huge success. A total of seven players have secured professional deals from the initiative, including CJ Bott, Meikayla Moore, Jana Radosavljevic, Aimee Phillips, Katie Rood, Emma Rolston and Vic Esson.
“We are delighted and feel privileged that the success of the FFDP was clear and evident, as seven players from both the Ferns and U-17s have come through the FFDP to gain professional contracts,” said Barkley.
The Football Foundation have been supporting the women’s game in general since the 2016 Rio Olympics and will continue this support in 2019 as the Football Ferns build towards the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
The Foundation were right behind the Ferns when they took on Japan in an international friendly in Wellington in June. A large contingent of donors, trustees, and guests along with young female players from the Ole Academy attended the historic match which attracted a record crowd for a Ferns game in New Zealand.
The Foundation wrapped up the year with the Annual Charity Golf Day held at the Titirangi Golf Club in conjunction with Friends of Football, with donors, and many alumni members attending. It has been a challenging year for the game in this country but there are plenty of positives to reflect upon as New Zealand Football and the Football Foundation look forward to a big year in 2019.