NZ's All Whites - what you didn't know
24 Jun 2010
White is the new black down-under as the international football frenzy surrounding the All Whites 2010 FIFA Football World Cup feats sweeps through New Zealand, and even into Australia.
The All Whites sporting prowess has made the guys in the white shirts into the Kiwi men of the moment - the local boys that everyone is clamouring to know more about.
So, here’s some insider goss - what you probably didn’t already know - on the All Whites.
Black to white
The All Whites have not always been lily white - in true Kiwi tradition, the national soccer team used to wear all black gear for international matches. Later, they moved to white tops and black shorts, changing to white shorts in 1982.
From less than 200,000 players nationally, the All Whites are selected from a pool of just 25 fully-fledged professionals - somewhat less than their previous opponents Italy which has almost 5 million players (more than New Zealand’s population) including 3541 professionals.
The All White’s 23-member World Cup squad includes at least one amateur player, and five players who are not under contract to professional clubs. Five team members play for the Wellington Phoenix.
Four members of the 23-member All Whites squad are Māori - striker Rory
Fallon, defender Winston Reid, midfielder Leo Bertos and midfielder
New Zealand has only appeared once before in a World Cup tournament - the 1982 event in Spain, and lost all three matches.
Coach Ricki Herbert is on a mission to prove that passionate amateur footballers can cut it with multi-millionaire world champions.
Herbert is New Zealand’s first locally-born national coach. But, it’s only a part-time position that he shares with coaching duties for the capital city’s much-loved Wellington Phoenix.
Herbert earns a NZ$50,000 salary as the All Whites coach which could make him the tournament's worst-paid manager - though he also earns an estimated NZ$200,000 as the Phoenix coach. Post tournament he’s sure to be fielding some pretty good offers.
As a centre back, Ricki Herbert won 61 caps for New Zealand, and had a brief career in Wolverhampton Wanderers First Division.
All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen, who was born in Christchurch, has New Zealand’s highest international football profile - as he also captains the Blackburn Rovers.
Nelsen, formerly of DC United in the United States, had almost given the game away when he was signed to Blackburn Rovers - a career move that soon established him as one of the English Premier League's top performers.
All Whites goalkeeper Mark Paston - a Kiwi hero since his spectacular performance in New Zealand's 1-1 draw against Italy - has a twin brother, Andrew.
Paston and wife Amie also have a son - one-year-old Jack - who at only 10 weeks old had his first taste of World Cup action in Wellington last November. Jack was in the crowd cheering his father’s historic $10 million penalty kick against Bahrain that opened the way to New Zealand’s World Cup entry.
Paston, who made his All Whites debut back in 1997, plays for the Wellington Phoenix. His career has also included stints with Walsall, Bradford City in England, and St Johnstone, Scotland.
Shane Smeltz scored eight goals in the qualifying rounds leading to the 2010 World Cup, making him New Zealand’s leading scorer.
Smeltz - who was born at a US army base in Germany and grew up in Australia - got his chance to represent New Zealand after his uncle told the national football body about his parentage.
Rory Fallon - the son of British-born former NZ coach Kevin Fallon and a NZ Māori mother - left his birth country early in his career to represent England at youth level.
Fallon was on the bench at Plymouth when a recent FIFA regulation change allowed him to return to New Zealand.
His father Kevin Fallon coached New Zealand teams on various occasions, and was assistant coach for the 1982 World Cup appearance.
Chris Killen has put his honeymoon on hold in order to play in the World Cup.
The New Zealand striker missed the warm-up friendly match - against Serbia earlier this month - because he was in Scotland saying his wedding vows to girlfriend Hannah.
Andy Barron, who juggles a full-time job in banking with his football-playing career, has his iPhone on hand in South Africa - to keep an eye on the NZ-billion dollar asset fund he manages for Westpac clients.
Most of Barron’s colleagues had been unaware of his extracurricular activities, until the midfielder was photographed - at home in Wellington - ironing his shirt before work last November. It was the morning after the successful World Cup playoff against Bahrain last November.
Barron, 29, was born in Invercargill in New Zealand’s deep south, and has business finance degree from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Chris Wood, 18, is the youngest All White to play at the World Cup. The All White striker grew up in the Waikato where he played for the Hamilton Wanderers in his teens. He now plays for English Premier League Club West Bromich Albion.
Wood's parents - Julie and Grant Wood - are in South Africa supporting their son in the first leg of what will be a family world cup double. Chris’ sister Chelsey (20) will be playing for New Zealand in the world under-20 womens’ championships next month in Germany.
Ben Sigmund played a leading role on-field in the All Whites qualifying matches, but has been surpassed at the tournament by rising star Winston Reid.
Sigmund's football career includes the New Zealand under-17 campaign at the 1997 World Cup in Egypt, an All Whites debut at age 19 - against Oman in 2000 - and a year playing club rugby in Christchurch. However, Sigmund - who was born in Blenheim, in New Zealand’s Marlborough wine region - eventually found his way back into football.
Following his All Whites recall in 2007, Sigmund was named as the NZFC player of 2007/08. He now plays professionally as centre back for the Wellington Phoenix.
All Whites 2010 World Cup squad:
- Mark Paston (33) GK - Wellington Phoenix
- Ben Sigmund (29) vice-captain / DF - Wellington Phoenix
- Tony Lochhead (28) DF - Wellington Phoenix
- Winston Reid (21) DF - Denmark FC Midtjylland
- Ivan Vicelich (33) DF - Auckland City
- Ryan Nelsen (32) captain / DF - Blackburn Rovers
- Simon Elliott (36) MF - Free agent
- Tim Brown (28) vice-captain / MF - Wellington Phoenix
- Shane Smeltz (28) FW - Gold Coast United
- Chris Killen (28) FW - Middlesbrough FC
- Leo Bertos (29) MF - Wellington Phoenix
- Glen Moss (27) GK - Melbourne Victory
- Andy Barron (29) MF - New Zealand Team Wellington
- Rory Fallon (28) FW - Plymouth Argyle
- Michael McGlinchey (23) MF - Motherwell FC
- Aaron Clapham (23) MF - Canterbury United
- David Mulligan (28) MF - Free Agent
- Andrew Boyens (26) DF - New York Red Bulls
- Tommy Smith (20) DF - Ipswich Town
- Chris Wood (18) FW - West Bromwich Albion
- Jeremy Christie (27) MF - FC Tampa Bay
- Jeremy Brockie (22) MF - Newcastle Jets
- James Bannatyne (34) GK - New Zealand Team Wellington
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