New Zealand Football has approved the application for WaiBOP United to become one of eight national league football franchises.
The ASB Premiership license provides an exciting opportunity for players, coaches and fans throughout Waikato and Bay of Plenty to experience national league football.
The license provides a clearly defined pathway for the next generation of Waikato and Bay of Plenty stars like Marco Rojas, Tyler Boyd or Chris Wood.
Talented players between the ages of 12 and 16 are selected to attend WaiBOP Federation Talent Centres (FTCs). Upon graduating from the FTC programme, players can now be filtered into the WaiBOP United Youth Team, and then on to the WaiBOP United ASB Premiership team.
The talented player pathway is mirrored for coaches. This is reflected by the current WaiBOP United coaching staff, who have all coached with the FTC before graduating to the national league team.
The regional focus of the franchise will ensure an elite provincial team that is representative of Waikato and Bay of Plenty. Equal opportunities for players and coaches signifies the start of a new era for football in our region.
CEO Cam Mitchell explains how scouting of our local players is already well underway:
“In anticipation of being granted a licence all WaiBOP teams competing in the Northern Regional Football League, and the WaiBOP Federation One league, have already been viewed by WaiBOP coaching staff.”
Mitchell also acknowledges the hard work of previous Waikato Football Club (WFC) members:
“WaiBOP can now build on the good work of WFC; in particular the vision of the founding members.”
The support of Waikato Bay of Plenty Football Federation will ensure the national league side receives the strongest level of admin and support in franchise history.
WaiBOP United has been established following the recent cessation of WFC. WaiBOP was approached by local clubs who felt it was important the region maintained a flagship team. The federation will look to build on WFC’s good work in retaining a top level men’s football team and a youth team in the ASB premiership.