Football Foundation Launch Women’s Starting Line Up

New Zealand Football President, Dr Johanna Wood
joins the Women’s Starting Line up

The New Zealand Football Foundation have launched their Women’s Starting Line Up, a donation concept targeted at supporting specifically the female game across the country.

The Starting Line Up concept was created in 2017 to recognise the amazing people who have supported the New Zealand Football Foundation with generous donations of at least $20,000.

New Zealand Football Foundation CEO, Dr Michele Cox, believes that the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 is the ideal aspirational showcase to help inspire the next generations of female players in New Zealand.

“We have an opportunity to showcase not only our country to the world, but the game of football to all the young girls who are thinking about playing this beautiful game as a hobby or career.

“The support of those involved in the Women’s Starting Line Up will have a direct impact to helping make the game more accessible and help those who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience the joy of kicking a ball around” said Cox.

Alongside this exciting addition supporting the female game in New Zealand, the Football Foundation has also announced the first players names in the Women’s Starting Line Up.

Current President of New Zealand Football, Dr Johanna Wood, first got involved in football when she was a young girl in Petone, following the footsteps of her parents who were involved in the club.

A few years down the track, Wood, a School Principal by trade, chaired a local sports management group and attended a New Zealand Football Roadshow. It was there that she was asked to join the local federation board, Central Football, which she chaired for eight years.

After her tenure at regional level, Wood joined the New Zealand Football board in 2018, and was elected to the FIFA Council in 2019, the first New Zealander since Charlie Dempsey finished serving in 2000.

Speaking on her donation to the New Zealand Football Foundation, Wood said,

“Football in New Zealand is growing with more and more access to the world’s game. I think we will see the inclusive nature of football welcoming more and more players and the growth in the women’s game will support one of the country’s biggest participation sport”

“The Football Foundation already supports a wide range of inclusion activities and has had a big role supporting women’s game” said Wood.

“To enable the Foundation to continue with its good work it needs to continue to build its capital base and, I wanted to help. It was easy to say yes” said Wood.

In addition to Wood’s generosity, the Football Foundation has also received funds from the former New Zealand Women’s Football Association and the Auckland Women’s Football Association.

Dr Barbara Cox and Carol Waller, who are Trustees for both organisations, started their footballing careers as striker and goalkeeper respectively for the Eden Saints in the inaugural ten team competition organised by the Northern Women’s Football Association (later changed to Auckland).

Little did they realise after their first game in April 1973 that their involvement would continue as players, coaches, and administrators at all levels – club, regional, national and international during the next 47 years. 

The New Zealand Women’s Football Association was formed in 1975, and the fledgling association quickly accepted an invitation to enter a team into the first Asian Cup in Hong Kong. Barbara and Carol were both members of that first New Zealand team. With the success of winning the Asian Cup, and the resultant media coverage, women’s football associations quickly formed throughout the country to promote and foster the game for women and girls.

National tournaments, growth in school and club football all helped reinforce the belief that football was the fastest growing sport for females by the late 1980s. 

In 1993, the Auckland Women’s Football Association came under the umbrella of Auckland Football Association, today known as Auckland Football Federation. And in 1999, the New Zealand Women’s Football Association came under the control of New Zealand Football.

Both organisations held funds to be used specifically for the development, promotion and advancement of the female game. However, up until now, no proposals to utilize this money have been received. 

“After discussing the current and proposed programmes planned by the New Zealand Football Foundation for the women and girls, we believe that it is a suitable vehicle to ensure that this money will benefit the female game, particularly as the Foundation has advocated for support of the female game since its creation” said Waller.

“The determination to see football accepted as a normal sporting activity for females of all ages has been the driving force behind our lengthy involvement in the game” said Waller.

“We believe that the forthcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 will continue to reinforce this acceptance but will also establish new parameters for what females can achieve in football whether by playing, coaching, refereeing or administrating” said Waller.

If you would like to find out more information on the New Zealand Football Foundation Women’s Starting Line Up or the different types of donations that can be made to support the game please visit footballfoundation.org.nz