Nelsen believes the Football Foundation is key to the sports future

June 10, 2020

Former All White captain and arguably one of New Zealand’s best ever Footballer’s Ryan Nelsen is proud to see the legacy of the historic 2010 All Whites campaign helping foster the next generation of players and is helping cement the sports future in New Zealand.

Nelsen led the All Whites to the World Cup in South Africa back in 2010, a feat only accomplished once before back in 1982. This success saw a surge in new players in the sport throughout the country and Nelsen believes we are now seeing the fruits of that campaign now.

Ryan Nelsen smiles as he waits in the tunnel prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group F match between Italy and New Zealand.. (Photo by Ryan Pierse – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

“Right now, we are seeing some amazing, talented young players coming from New Zealand”

“These players where eight, nine, ten, when we were on the road to South Africa and watching these games it would be something that has stoked a fire for them to work hard”

Nelsen also believes that the standard overall has improved and is “way, way better than it’s ever been”. He puts this down to not only the players, but it’s also down to the infrastructure, the coaching and because there’s more football on TV.

“The whole thing has kind of snowballed and we are now seeing our youth teams getting out of groups. We had a women’s team getting a medal at a World Cup! That is just phenomenal!”

Nelsen has been part of the New Zealand Football Foundation since its inception and believes that the legacy of that inspirational campaign will continue to support the game for years to come.

Ryan Nelsen launches The New Zealand Football Foundation with chairman Mark Stewart at a function at Sky City in Auckland. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/PHOTOSPORT

“When the Foundation was established, and I was asked to be the Patron, it was an easy decision. It just made sense”

“It’s all about helping the next generation of footballers that hopefully inspires the next one and the next one, and the next one.”

“There were a lot of good people involved in setting up the Foundation. And I think we learned the lessons from the past. The Foundation is a great way to solidify the sports future for not just the current generation, but maybe multiple generations.

Celebrating his tenth year as the Patron of the New Zealand Football Foundation, Nelsen said

“It makes me so proud to be the Patron now for 10 years now. Being involved in an organisation that is supporting the growth of the game and helping put young boys and girls on a path to success is just incredible.”

If you would like to find out more information on the New Zealand Football Foundation and the different types of donations that can be made to support the game please visit

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