Ahead of a massive year for football in this country, New Zealand Football is urging even more Kiwis to become involved in the world game with the launch of its ‘Get In’ initiative.
The aim of ‘Get In’ is based on the key strategic objective of ‘more New Zealanders playing and loving football’ and will cover all strands of the game – from playing to coaching and refereeing in both men’s and women’s football, as well as the rapidly-growing sport of futsal.
Over 500,000 people in this country already participate in some form of football, including 6.3 per cent of the adult population, while 71 per cent of boys and 52 per cent of girls also take part.
Those numbers – officially verified by Sport New Zealand – make football the most popular participation sport in New Zealand and the figures are just as impressive in each strand. There are now over 22,000 registered futsal players, over 1,100 registered referees and over 17,000 NZF-registered coaches.
In particular, the grassroots level has experienced unprecedented growth in the last five years with junior and youth participation increasing by 34.6 per cent and nearly 50 per cent respectively, while the girls and women’s game has seen a 30 per cent spike.
“Since the introduction of the award-winning Whole of Football Plan in 2011, New Zealand Football has established the country’s leading community sport system and incredible results are being achieved,” Community Director Cam Mitchell says.
“But the sporting landscape in New Zealand is constantly evolving and we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. For further growth to occur, we must put the participant at the centre of our decisions and actions. The ‘Get In’ campaign is based on that ethos and will be used to attract additional people into the game.”
The first phase of ‘Get In’ will focus on driving registrations for the upcoming winter season – an area in which Mitchell says New Zealand Football is keen to provide more support to its nearly 500 clubs.
“Clubs have one main window to drive registrations at the beginning of the year and we’ve identified that we should be more involved in this process in order to attract non-footballers and new club members to sign up,” he says.
“Clubs and traditional memberships are changing due to the limited available resources and the time volunteers have to commit towards sports and recreation organisations. As a governing body, we therefore need to take more responsibility by aligning, coordinating and leading the registration window annually.”
The initial stage of the ‘Get In’ campaign will be digitally-based with New Zealand Football looking to promote the registration window across all of its online platforms while marketing collateral will be provided to federations and clubs to use and incorporate into their own initiatives.
The intention is for ‘Get In’ to become an over-arching brand, under which many of New Zealand Football’s other numerous activations and programmes – including the McDonald’s Junior Football Roadshows, FIFA Live Your Goals and Injury Prevention – will be promoted and rolled out in an aligned manner.
“This is an exciting time to be involved with football and we are confident the ‘Get In’ campaign will encapsulate that excitement to entice even more New Zealanders to fall in love with our great game,” Mitchell says.