The number of players registering for football and futsal grew 13% between 2022 and 2023, even before the full impact of the record-breaking FIFA Women’s World Cup, newly-released figures reveal.
New Zealand Football, Futsal and NZ Secondary School registered 164,454 players in 2023, up from 145,724 a year before.
One of the largest growth areas was for girls and women, with a 25% increase in playing numbers from 2022 to 2023.
Most of the registration period was before the start of the Women’s World Cup last July, indicating the full impact of the tournament has yet to be felt.
New Zealand Football CEO Andrew Pragnell said: “The FIFA Women’s World Cup was a game-changer for football in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
“Prior to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, we were already seeing significant increases in playing numbers across the board, especially for girls and women.
“While these figures represent the hard mahi of our football community prior to the event in the build-up to the tournament, 2024 will be the year where we begin to see the true impact of hosting the event and our continued efforts with legacy programmes.
“The 2024 community football and futsal seasons look likely to be our biggest ever as the game continues to go from strength to strength as the largest team participation sport in the country.
“These numbers also reflect the impact of launching our legacy programme in 2021 and our federations and clubs doing great work delivering initiatives across the motu to make it easier than ever for new players to get involved in the beautiful game.”