New Zealand’s most talented young footballers are set to test their mettle against each other in the ASB Youth League competition kicking off on Saturday 3 October.
The 11-round 2015 national league kicks off with Heartland Wairarapa meeting Manawatu United in Masterton as defending champions Nelson Marlborough Falcons return to defend the crown they won in December in dramatic fashion on the final day of the season.
WaiBOP United host the defending champs at the Matamata Domain in our opening fixture, which is set for Sunday October 4.
In the only change to the teams involved in 2014, the Wellington Phoenix join the predominantly U-20 league in place of the Wanderers SC side which competed in the recent versions of the competition.
The ASB Youth League serves as the development pathway towards the ASB Premiership for the country’s top young talent with a host of players making the transition into the top domestic competition in recent times including the likes of All Whites and Men’s U-20s representatives Clayton Lewis, Moses Dyer, Oliver Sail and Sam Brotherton.
New Zealand Football Community Director Cam Mitchell says the ASB Youth League forms a key role in the development of the nation’s best players towards the highest level of the game.
“Over the last several years the ASB Youth League has provided a strong proving ground for our best young players as they look to progress towards the ASB Premiership and beyond,” Mitchell said.
“The players involved in the Men’s U-20 team which made history at the FIFA U-20 World Cup earlier this year broke through at a national level in this competition and we look forward to seeing the next crop of talented players step forward over the next few months.”
Mitchell added the inclusion of the Wellington Phoenix side – who will play as an Under-17 team – further strengthens the competition and the A-League club’s support structure.
“The Wellington Phoenix provide an important pathway towards professional football and their involvement in the ASB Premiership last year reinforced their key contribution to the overall strength of football in New Zealand.”
“Their participation in this year’s ASB Youth League adds another tier to that structure and a further opportunity for our young players to benefit from an involvement in a professional environment as they move towards international football.”