Auckland United have announced strategic partnerships with football clubs in Wellington and Christchurch starting in the 2022 season.
Their partners in the capital will be Wellington United and in Canterbury, they’ll team with Coastal Spirt SASFC, which is an alliance between the Spirit and St Albans Shirley clubs.
The four clubs have simultaneously announced their newly-struck relationship, headlining it ‘Family Extension!’ on their various social media channels.
Their joint statement says:
“These connections will provide our players with new playing exchanges and tournaments, as well as development opportunities for our coaches.
“In addition, we will provide reciprocal player placements for players moving around the country through their work or study.
“We look forward to the opportunities that these partnerships provide to our club, our players and coaches.”
Likely benefits for women’s teams
The arrangement is likely to provide significant benefits for the clubs’ women’s teams as Auckland United, Spirit and Wellington United all have top-performing sides.
Auckland United play in the Northern Women’s Premier competition while Coastal Spirit and Wellington United have both reached the semi-finals of the Kate Sheppard Cup and, if results go their way, could be fighting out the final on March 6.
For Auckland United, the strategic alliance continues the club’s ‘big picture’ approach, following the club’s formation from the merger of Onehunga Sports and Three Kings United in 2020.
Christchurch clubs seize ‘fantastic opportunity’
Meanwhile, it’s a big step too for the Christchurch clubs who have increasingly worked together since 2020.
Junior and social grade football will continue to be hosted by the individual clubs in 2022, with the ability to work together where it benefits the players and teams.
Coastal Spirit Director of Football Gary Bennett said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for players and coaches to come together to develop and move the game forward in the region.”
SASFC Director of Football Juan Chang: “Having a complete pathway from juniors to premier football has been our goal from day one and we are very pleased to be joining forces with Coastal Spirit. This is a brilliant opportunity for all of our girls and boys.”
For the 2022 season, the agreement between CSFC & SASFC will be approved by Mainland Football, who are supportive of the initiative.