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 21,273 Soccer Players, 35 of which were born in New Zealand. This makes New Zealand the birth place of the 66th most number of Soccer Players behind Israel, and Angola.

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 (b. 1962)

With an HPI of 52.98, 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 Archie Thompson

2. Archie Thompson (b. 1978)

With an HPI of 40.13, Archie Thompson is the 2nd 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 who played as a forward. He is also currently 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 the Australian national team, 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 (b. 1961)

With an HPI of 38.89, Ricki Herbert is the 3rd most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Ricki Lloyd Herbert (born 10 April 1961) is a New Zealand former footballer and manager. He is the current director of football at Hamilton Wanderers AFC. 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 (b. 1976)

With an HPI of 37.26, Ivan Vicelich is the 4th 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 New Zealand former professional footballer who played as a centre-back or defensive midfielder. He is his country's 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

5. Mark Paston (b. 1976)

With an HPI of 35.82, Mark Paston is the 5th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 29 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 Chris Wood

6. Chris Wood (b. 1991)

With an HPI of 35.50, Chris Wood is the 6th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Christopher Grant Wood (born 7 December 1991) is a New Zealand professional footballer who plays as a forward for Premier League club Nottingham Forest and captains the New Zealand national team. Wood started his senior career with Cambridge, Waikato and Hamilton Wanderers before moving to England to play for Premier League club 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. Wood then joined Burnley for a club record fee, and became a consistent goalscorer for them in the Premier League, notching up 49 goals in 144 matches over four-and-a-half seasons. In January 2022 he joined Newcastle United for £25 million (€29 million), making him the most expensive Oceania player of all time. Wood has been capped 74 times for the New Zealand national team and scored 34 goals, making him the all-time leading goalscorer for his country. He played for the team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and was part of the squad that won the 2016 OFC Nations Cup.

Photo of Simon Elliott

7. Simon Elliott (b. 1974)

With an HPI of 35.39, Simon Elliott is the 7th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Simon John Elliott (born 10 June 1974) is a New Zealand football manager and former player who most recently served as head coach of USL Championship side Sacramento Republic FC. A defensive midfielder, he spent his professional career in the |A-League, the |MLS and the Premier League. At international level, he made 69 appearances for the New Zealand national team, scoring 6 goals.

Photo of Kayne Vincent

8. Kayne Vincent (b. 1988)

With an HPI of 35.00, Kayne Vincent is the 8th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 40 different languages.

Kayne Vincent (born 29 October 1988) is a New Zealand professional footballer who currently plays as a forward for Western Springs in the Northern League. Born in Auckland, he played football in Japan, New Zealand, India, Australia, Thailand and Malaysia. He is one of the foreign players who received the most attention in 2016 Malaysia Premier League. He was born to a Japanese mother and a Kiwi father.

Photo of Winston Reid

9. Winston Reid (b. 1988)

With an HPI of 32.67, Winston Reid is the 9th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.

Winston Wiremu Reid (born 3 July 1988) is a New Zealand former 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 Michael Fitzgerald

10. Michael Fitzgerald (b. 1988)

With an HPI of 31.90, Michael Fitzgerald is the 10th most famous New Zealander Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 42 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 professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Albirex Niigata. He has spent his entire professional club career in Japan, predominantly playing for Albirex Niigata. Born in New Zealand, Fitzgerald became a naturalized Japanese citizen in 2013. He debuted for the New Zealand national football team in 2011 and earned 3 caps.

People

Pantheon has 60 people classified as New Zealander soccer players born between 1961 and 2002. Of these 60, 60 (100.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living New Zealander soccer players include Wynton Rufer, Archie Thompson, and Ricki Herbert. As of April 2024, 25 new New Zealander soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Chris Zoricich, Clayton Lewis, and Betsy Hassett.

Living New Zealander Soccer Players

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Newly Added New Zealander Soccer Players (2024)

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