Top footballers with international experience are playing for the Friends of Football All Stars in an effort to encourage up-and-coming youth players.
After a hiatus forced by COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, the All Stars are aiming to play at least half a dozen games against Auckland high school teams in 2021.
The men’s All Stars were formed in 2019 and Friends of Football are now keen to establish a women’s All Stars squad.
How the All Stars started
The Friends of Football All Stars – which include former All Whites and age-group internationals – began playing exhibition matches against Auckland high school teams in 2019.
The All Stars won their opening game 7-2 in an entertaining game against Westlake Boys’ 1st XI. They followed up winning a 6-5 thriller against St Peter’s College, Auckland.
Photographs from the All Stars’ 2019 games (click on image to open to full size):
The games gave high school players the chance to test themselves against top players, and post-game feedback was that the experience was inspiring for the young players. As a result, the All Stars plan to play at least half a dozen fixtures each year.
The All Stars are a squad of players who have all played at a high level in the game and who want to give back to their sport by playing up-and-coming youth players in exhibition games.
The team was launched by Friends of Football in the tradition of the Corinthians, a team that played similar games in Auckland during the 1970s and 1980s.
Both the Corinthians and All Stars include many players who have represented their country and their aim is to inspire the next generation of international footballers.
Friends of Football’s objectives include promoting the sport, protecting its heritage and looking for ways to foster friendship.
Who plays for the All Stars
Our men’s squad includes:
Jacob Spoonley (goalkeeper): All White who has also played for New Zealand at U-20 and U-23 levels. Clubs include Wellington Phoenix, Auckland City, Miramar Rangers and Forrest Hill Milford.
Louie Caunter (goalkeeper): Clubs include Onehunga Sports, Forrest Hill Milford, Eastern Suburbs and Auckland City.
David Mulligan (midfield/right back): Made 28 appearances for the All Whites, and represented his country at U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels. Clubs include Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers , Scunthorpe United, Grimsby Town and Port Vale (all UK), Wellington Phoenix, Auckland City, Waitakere United and Hawkes Bay United.
James Pritchett (defender): All White who also represented New Zealand at U-17 and U-19 levels. Clubs include Aberdeen (Scotland), Football Kingz, Cambridge United (UK), Auckland City and Khonkaen FC (Thailand).
Ian Hogg (left back/midfield): Has represented New Zealand almost 60 times at all levels – U-17, U-20, U-23 and full international. Clubs include Hawke’s Bay United, Auckland City, Wellington Phoenix, Waitakere United and Team Wellington.
Emmanuel Darkwa (defender): Dual Chatham Cup winner (2016 and 2018) with Birkenhead United.
Kris Carpenter (defender): Has played NZ Premiership with Auckland City and Waitakere United and has featured in the OFC Champions League. Nick Forrester (defender): Represented New Zealand at U-17 level. Clubs include Indy Eleven (North American Soccer League), and has played for Buffalo University, New York.
Sam Jasper (defender/midfield): Played for New Zealand Knights in the A-League. He has played for the New Zealand U-16, U-17 and U-20’s teams, and at A International level.
Darren White (defender): Won five OFC Champions League titles with Auckland City and was part of squad that won bronze at 2014 FIFA Club World Cup. Other clubs include Three Kings United, Canterbury United, Blackburn Rovers (UK), FC Hansa Rostock (Germany) and Waikato FC.
Anthony Hagan (midfield): Played NZ Premiership for Waikato FC and clubs include Glenfield Rovers and Waitakere City with whom he appeared in the 2016 Chatham Cup final.
Liam Mulrooney (midfield): Former Auckland City midfielder who has played in the NZ Premiership, the OFC Championship League and at the FIFA Club World Cup.
Chad Coombes (midfield): All White whose clubs have included Football Kingz, Central United, Auckland City, Waitakere United, WaiBOP United and Glenfield Rovers.
James Debenham (midfield): Represented New Zealand at U-17 level and has played for clubs such as Forrest Hill Milford and Western Springs.
Judd Baker (forward): Has represented New Zealand at U-17 and U-20 level. Clubs include East Coast Bays, Hamilton Wanderers, Waitakere and UK club Swansea City.
Damien Mosquera (forward): Scored winning goal for Eastern Suburbs in the 2015 Chatham Cup final. Helped Albany United to promotion and to Chatham Cup semi-final in 2019.
All Stars kit
Friends of Football are grateful to Score Sportswear, distributors of the Lotto brand of football apparel, for helping make our All Stars kit possible.
The dark blue strip bears the Friends of Football logo and our players wear light blue socks as a show of our support for Blue September, the annual campaign by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of NZ to raise awareness of the need for men to test for the disease.
Our choice of light blue socks also serves as a tribute to our friend and Blue September campaigner Steve Sumner who lost his life to prostate cancer in February 2017.