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The Most Famous

SOCCER PLAYERS from New Zealand

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This page contains a list of the greatest New Zealander Soccer Players. The pantheon dataset contains 16,880 Soccer Players, 35 of which were born in New Zealand. This makes New Zealand the birth place of the 67th most number of Soccer Players behind Angola and Venezuela.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary New Zealander Soccer Players of all time. This list of famous New Zealander Soccer Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of New Zealander Soccer Players.

Photo of Wynton Rufer

1. Wynton Rufer (1962 - )

With an HPI of 50.16, Wynton Rufer is the most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 49 different languages on wikipedia.

Wynton Alan Whai Rufer (born 29 December 1962) is a New Zealand retired professional footballer who played as a striker. He spent more than a decade of his professional career in Switzerland and Germany, achieving his greatest success at Werder Bremen, where he won a total of four major titles and finished the top scorer in the UEFA Champions League 1993–94 season. He was also a member of the New Zealand national team in its first FIFA World Cup appearance in 1982. He was named the Oceania Footballer of the Century by the Oceania Football Confederation.

Photo of Ricki Herbert

2. Ricki Herbert (1961 - )

With an HPI of 37.07, Ricki Herbert is the 2nd most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Ricki Lloyd Herbert (born 10 April 1961) is a New Zealand former footballer and manager. He is the current technical director at Cambridge FC. Herbert was formerly head coach of the New Zealand national team, stepping down after the side failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Herbert represented his country at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain and coached the New Zealand national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, famously leading them through the tournament unbeaten. His most recent role in international football was as the head coach of the Maldives national football team.

Photo of Chris Wood

3. Chris Wood (1991 - )

With an HPI of 34.86, Chris Wood is the 3rd most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 36 different languages.

Christopher Grant Wood (born 7 December 1991) is a New Zealand professional footballer who plays as a striker for Premier League club Newcastle United and the New Zealand national team. Wood was born in Auckland and started his senior career with Cambridge FC, Waikato FC and Hamilton Wanderers before moving to England to play for Premier League side West Bromwich Albion. He spent his time on loan to six different clubs before joining Leicester City in 2013. After a loan spell with Ipswich Town in 2015, he signed for Championship club Leeds United where he became top scorer in the 2016–17 season. He then joined Burnley for a club record fee; Wood became a consistent goalscorer for them in the Premier League, notching up 49 goals in 144 matches over four-and-a-half seasons. Wood has been capped 70 times for the New Zealand national team and scored 33 goals to become the men's leading goalscorer, overtaking previous holder Vaughan Coveny. He played for the side at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and was part of the squad that won the 2016 OFC Nations Cup.

Photo of Archie Thompson

4. Archie Thompson (1978 - )

With an HPI of 34.32, Archie Thompson is the 4th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Archie Gerald Thompson (born 23 October 1978) is an Australian former professional footballer. He also is serving as a club ambassador for Melbourne Victory FC.Born in New Zealand, Thompson played youth football at the New South Wales Institute of Sport before going on to play numerous seasons in the National Soccer League and A-League. After eleven seasons with Melbourne Victory, he moved on to play for Heidelberg United in 2016. Thompson also played overseas, for Belgian Pro League side Lierse and for Dutch Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven. Thompson has played over 50 times for Australia, scoring 28 goals. He was in the squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the 2001 and 2005 FIFA Confederations Cups, the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, the 2008 Summer Olympics and the successful 2004 OFC Nations Cup. He holds the all time goal scoring record for a single international match, where he scored 13 goals in a 31–0 victory against American Samoa in 2001.

Photo of Ivan Vicelich

5. Ivan Vicelich (1976 - )

With an HPI of 34.28, Ivan Vicelich is the 5th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Ivan Robert Vicelich (Croatian: Vicelić, Croatian pronunciation: [vitselitɕ]; VISS-ə-litch; born 3 September 1976) is a former New Zealand professional footballer who is currently assistant coach at Auckland City FC in the ASB Premiership. He is his country and Oceania's most-capped international of all time with 88 caps between 1995 and 2013, and featured at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Photo of Mark Paston

6. Mark Paston (1976 - )

With an HPI of 32.07, Mark Paston is the 6th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

Mark Nelson Paston (born 13 December 1976) is a New Zealand former football goalkeeper who most recently played for the Wellington Phoenix in the A-League before announcing his retirement from professional football at the end of the 2012/13 A-League season.

Photo of Winston Reid

7. Winston Reid (1988 - )

With an HPI of 31.26, Winston Reid is the 7th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.

Winston Wiremu Reid (born 3 July 1988) is a New Zealand professional footballer who last played as a defender for Premier League club West Ham United. He captained the New Zealand national team. He has also played for Midtjylland with loan periods at Sporting Kansas City and Brentford.

Photo of Vaughan Coveny

8. Vaughan Coveny (1971 - )

With an HPI of 30.78, Vaughan Coveny is the 8th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Vaughan Coveny (born 13 December 1971) is a retired football player who frequently represented New Zealand in international matches. Coveny's senior club career spanned 20 years, with his most notable stint being at South Melbourne during their National Soccer League era. He was primarily a striker although he also played as a winger. After retiring from playing, he pursued a coaching career.

Photo of Simon Elliott

9. Simon Elliott (1974 - )

With an HPI of 30.76, Simon Elliott is the 9th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Simon John Elliott (born 10 June 1974, in Wellington) is a retired New Zealand International footballer who most recently served as head coach of USL Championship side Sacramento Republic FC.

Photo of Michael McGlinchey

10. Michael McGlinchey (1987 - )

With an HPI of 29.33, Michael McGlinchey is the 10th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.

Michael Ryan McGlinchey (born 7 January 1987) is a New Zealand international footballer who plays for Weston Bears in the National Premier Leagues. McGlinchey played youth football with Scottish club Celtic, where he made his professional debut. After spending time on loan to Dunfermline Athletic, he joined Central Coast Mariners in the A-League, where he made over 100 appearances. In his time at the club he spent periods on loan at Motherwell in 2010 and with Vegalta Sendai in 2014. He joined Wellington Phoenix in 2014 after securing a release from the Mariners. He returned to the Mariners in 2018, before returning to Scotland with Queen's Park and then Clyde in 2020. He then returned to Australia in 2022, to play for Weston Bears in the National Premier Leagues. McGlinchey represented Scotland at under-20 and under-21 level, but changed allegiance to New Zealand, his country of birth, at senior level. He was a member of the New Zealand national team at the 2010 World Cup and was one of New Zealand's over-age players at the 2012 Summer Olympics. He made over fifty appearances for New Zealand, scoring five goals.

Pantheon has 35 people classified as soccer players born between 1961 and 1999. Of these 35, 35 (100.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living soccer players include Wynton Rufer, Ricki Herbert, and Chris Wood. As of April 2022, 3 new soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Stefan Marinovic, Amber Hearn, and Sarpreet Singh.

Living Soccer Players

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Newly Added Soccer Players (2022)

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