Over 800 young players involved in New Zealand Football National Youth Futsal Championships

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The seventh edition of the NZF National Youth Futsal Championships took place over the weekend with 60 teams from each of the country’s seven federations battling it out over six competitions at the Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North.

Over 800 young players were involved and many saw their efforts rewarded with titles in one of the categories on offer – U-14, U-16 and U-19 in the boys and U-15 and U-19 for the girls

Youth champs highlight futsal progress in New Zealand

Individual honours were likewise up for grabs in the form of a golden boot, golden gloves and most valuable player award in each age-group.

There was also an U-12 boys’ category but no awards or title were presented with the emphasis instead placed on player development and enjoyment.

As in the previous year, Mainland were the best performing federation overall after claiming three of the five titles and pocketing a batch of individual awards in the process.

Youth champs highlight futsal progress in New Zealand

The girls teams from Mainland pulled off a clean sweep, triumphing in both the U-15 and U-19 age-groups while there was also success for the South Islanders in the boys’ U-16 competition.

The only other federations to earn titles were Capital and Northern, who both returned home with a set of winners’ medals in their luggage, for the boys’ U-14 and U-19 categories respectively.

The champion teams weren’t the only ones to perform strongly and NZF Futsal Development Manager Dave Payne says the quality of play has lifted over the years as the numbers have continued to rise.

Over 800 young players involved in New Zealand Football National Youth Futsal Championships

“We say every year how impressed we are with the standard and this is yet another year where we have to repeat our remarks with a trend that is certainly great to have,” he says.

“Personally, it was very fulfilling to see the U-19 ranks filled with players that have now played in all six previous editions of this tournament. We are creating futsal specialists in New Zealand, not just in players but the whole system of development,” he adds.

“The logistical support of the federations in organising, training and providing the ideal platform on which to perform is just as important and challenging as the game itself. It was a high-performance effort all round, executed as close to perfection as you can get in a fast-paced tournament environment.”

Over 800 young players involved in New Zealand Football National Youth Futsal Championships

Payne says the tournament could not have been so well staged without the support and resources of Central Football, Sport Manawatu and the Palmerston North City Council.

“This was the first year we have run the youth championships at the Central Energy Trust Arena in Manawatu and the support network was unflappable. It was estimated that at any one time there were close to 2,000 people in the arena across the 10 courts being used.”

The event arrived during an exciting time for futsal in New Zealand with two teams, both male and female, having just returned from representing their country for the first time ever at the FISU World University Championships in Brazil while another international series, the inaugural Trans-Tasman Women’s Champions League, was held in conjunction with the youth tournament.

The Trans-Tasman challenge pitted national league winners Central-Manawatu against their Australian counterparts, Football Federation Victoria, and the hosts rose to the occasion on home soil to lift the silverware with a historic 3-0 series win.

Over 800 young players involved in New Zealand Football National Youth Futsal Championships

NZF National Youth Futsal Championships 2016

Boys U-14

Champions: Capital
Runners-up: Auckland
Golden Gloves: Auckland
Golden Boot: Nathan Simes, 19 goals (Capital)
MVP: Rueben Birch (Northern)

Boys U-16

Champions: Mainland
Runners-up: Central-Hawke’s Bay
Golden Gloves: Mainland
Golden Boot: Arzan Todywalla, 17 goals (Auckland)
MVP: Griffin Taylor (WaiBOP)

Boys U-19

Champions: Northern
Runners-up: South
Golden Gloves: Mainland
Golden Boot: Benji Lapslie, 15 goals (Mainland)
MVP: Waikato Ball (WaiBOP)

Girls U-15

Champions: Mainland
Runners-up: WaiBOP
Golden Gloves: Mainland
Golden Boot: Hannah Reddy, 25 goals (Northern)
MVP: Rylee Godbold (WaiBOP)

Girls U-19

Champions: Mainland
Runners-up: Capital
Golden Gloves: Mainland
Golden Boot: Britneylee Nicholson, 9 goals (Mainland)
MVP: Denise Gumabay (Capital)

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