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 16,923 Soccer Players, 32 of which were born in New Zealand. This makes New Zealand the birth place of the 67th most number of Soccer Players behind North Macedonia 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 61.53, Wynton Rufer is the most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages on wikipedia.

Wynton Alan Whai Rufer (born 29 December 1962) is a New Zealand retired 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 Archie Thompson

2. Archie Thompson (1978 - )

With an HPI of 51.65, Archie Thompson is the 2nd most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 29 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 Ricki Herbert

3. Ricki Herbert (1961 - )

With an HPI of 49.97, Ricki Herbert is the 3rd most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 24 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 Ivan Vicelich

4. Ivan Vicelich (1976 - )

With an HPI of 49.75, Ivan Vicelich is the 4th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

Ivan Robert Vicelich ( 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 Chris Wood

5. Chris Wood (1991 - )

With an HPI of 47.51, Chris Wood is the 5th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

Christopher Grant Wood (born 7 December 1991) is a New Zealand professional footballer who plays as a striker for Premier League club Burnley and the New Zealand national team, of which he is vice-captain. 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 2015. 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 in the Premier League. Wood has been capped 59 times for the New Zealand national team, scoring 25 goals. 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 Mark Paston

6. Mark Paston (1976 - )

With an HPI of 47.04, 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 Michael Fitzgerald

7. Michael Fitzgerald (1988 - )

With an HPI of 45.94, Michael Fitzgerald is the 7th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.

Michael James Fitzgerald (フィッツジェラルド 舞行龍 ジェームズ, Fittsujerarudo Maikeru Jēmuzu, born 17 September 1988) is a New Zealand-born Japanese footballer who represented New Zealand at international level, before gaining Japanese citizenship in 2013 and plays club football for Albirex Niigata. Fitzgerald's application for Japanese citizenship was approved in May 2013 in doing so he could not play for the All Whites again.

Photo of Simon Elliott

8. Simon Elliott (1974 - )

With an HPI of 45.79, Simon Elliott is the 8th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 23 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 Winston Reid

9. Winston Reid (1988 - )

With an HPI of 45.59, Winston Reid is the 9th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.

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

Photo of Ryan Nelsen

10. Ryan Nelsen (1977 - )

With an HPI of 45.22, Ryan Nelsen is the 10th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Ryan William Nelsen (born 18 October 1977) is a former New Zealand professional football player and former head coach of Major League Soccer side Toronto FC. Nelsen commonly played as a defender, and his professional career began in 1995. He notably captained the New Zealand national team and started his professional football career in his native country for Christchurch United. In 2001, he joined MLS side D.C. United and went on to play 81 times in the league, scoring 7 goals. In 2005, he moved to England with Premier League side Blackburn Rovers where he scored 8 times in 172 appearances. In 2012, he made a move to Tottenham Hotspur but only managed 5 appearances (scoring once in an FA Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers, the re-arranged match following Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest) before joining Queens Park Rangers in the summer of 2012. He agreed to return to MLS on 8 January 2013 by signing with Toronto FC as head coach. He was fired from Toronto FC on 31 August 2014.

Pantheon has 32 people classified as soccer players born between 1961 and 1995. Of these 32, 32 (100.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living soccer players include Wynton Rufer, Archie Thompson, and Ricki Herbert. As of October 2020, 4 new soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Vaughan Coveny, Duncan Oughton, and Abby Erceg.

Living Soccer Players

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Newly Added Soccer Players (2020)

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