The New Zealand national under-19 secondary schools football team (more commonly known as New Zealand U19 Schoolboys and New Zealand Schools) represents New Zealand in association football at under-19 international age-group level. It is controlled by the New Zealand Secondary Schools Football Association (NZSSFA) which is affiliated to New Zealand Football (NZF).
The New Zealand U19 schoolboys national team "fills a vital role in the development of the international player pool in New Zealand in the gap between the under-17 and under-20 programs."
The under-19 schoolboys national team gives New Zealand's most talented players, who either graduated the under-17 national team, were slightly too young/old for U17, were overlooked by New Zealand Football or have undergone major development in football since the under-17 process, an opportunity to represent New Zealand before the under-20 program.
The process for international representation at U19 level follows this pattern: secondary schools around New Zealand nominate their best players to go forward for provincial trials. As most of New Zealand's top youth players attend secondary school full-time, the player pool for under-19 selections is the same as that of the under-17 program, excluding only those who have left school. From these trials, the top 36 players in the country are named to attend a national selection camp. At this camp, all national team coaching staff are present and after training sessions and games, an 18-man international squad including 2 goalkeepers is selected.
The team travels to the United Kingdom every two years and plays against the Centenary Shield U18 and U19 National Teams of England, Scotland, Wales, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. They have also toured Europe in the past and in July 2016, the team will be touring Australia.
In 2013, the New Zealand U19 Schoolboys National Team toured the United Kingdom under former Leeds United defender and now acclaimed NZ coach, Danny Hay, and they achieved the best set of results in history. The team drew 1-1 with both England and Scotland, beat Wales 2-1 and were victorious over prestigious five nations Centenary Shield champions, Northern Ireland, 2-0.
As a result of the team's impressive performances in 2013, numerous players including Judd Baker, Sam Brotherton and Daniel Bowkett were scouted for trials with professional clubs in the UK. The most notable was Judd Baker, who was scouted and signed by Premier League side Swansea City A.F.C. and is now also a New Zealand under-20 international. Sam Brotherton, vice-captain of the 2013 squad, has since starred at U20, U23 and full international level for New Zealand.
A handful of New Zealand U19 players have earned trials with professional clubs in the UK since the team began touring the UK in 2000. A number of others have pursued their careers in Australia's highest professional football league, the Hyundai A-League, as well as in the semi-professional/professional Australian National Premier Leagues (2nd Division). The team is however particularly well known for producing large crops of NCAA Division 1 college soccer players, with recent graduates signing for schools such as Wisconsin, Syracuse, Hofstra, Princeton, Indiana, Purdue, Brown, West Virginia, Florida International, Missouri State, Fairfield & Buffalo. Almost all other players have signed contracts with clubs in New Zealand's highest football league, the semi-professional/professional ASB Premiership. The ASB Premiership is famous for the clubs, Waitakere United FC, who have won the OFC Champions League twice, and Auckland City FC, who have won the OFC Champions League a record 7 times and rose to world prominence in 2014 after placing 3rd at the FIFA Club World Cup in 2014 behind Real Madrid C.F. and San Lorenzo.
The New Zealand Schoolboys National Team's loose rivals are Trans-Tasman neighbors Australia. The two teams' history dates back to 25 August 1938, where the NZ Schoolboys played their first international in Australia at Arlington Park, Dulwich Hill, New South Wales. The rivalry is now relatively loose as the two teams have not played against each other for almost two decades.
The following players were named in the New Zealand U19 Schoolboys final 18-man squad on 10 December 2015 to tour Australia in July 2016.
Caps and goals correct at December 10, 2015
The NZ U19 Schoolboys will also play exhibition matches against Hyundai A-League professional clubs, Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers in their tour of Australia. Sydney FC have established themselves as one of the league's best, having won the Hyundai A-League twice, the Premiership once and playing at the 45,000 seater Allianz Arena. Western Sydney Wanderers FC are the 2014 Asian Football Confederation Champions League winners and have won the A-League Premiership once since the club's formation in 2012. They are based at the 21,487 seater Parramatta Stadium. The NZ U19's exhibition matches will be played against the two clubs' Reserves/U20 Youth teams.