Kerikeri Football Club is overflowing with young players.

A report compiled by the Northern Football Federation's Northland community development officer, James Coleman, showed a 20.92 per cent increase in player numbers at the club from 2014 to 2017.

Kerikeri FC has 140 players in the 4 to 8 age bracket, which is the club's capacity.
Coleman said the club needs larger facilities to cope with the demand for spaces.

"We need bigger facilities, what we run with the 4-to-8-year-olds (the Whole of Football programme) can't be run elsewhere," he said.

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"All we have at Bay Sports Grounds in Waipapa is two fields and 140 kids take up all that space. If we use the high school fields it impacts the older age groups being able to play there.

"We've spent a lot of time working with the Far North District Council. They have money in the Long Term Plan for land for sport so we're working to try to find the right piece of land.

"The council won't look at land for just one sport, it's got to be a hub. League, cricket, athletics and hockey don't have a home in Kerikeri.

"There is a strong need for a hub."

Kerikeri FC now boasts 497 players overall.

Over the past seven years, Northland's biggest football club has experienced so much growth in its membership that the grounds and facilities it uses no longer meet its needs.

Player numbers have increased across all grades, with 13th grade (from 26 to 48 players) and senior football (from 64 to 87 players) accounting for the biggest bumps in numbers.

Coleman said the increase comes down in large part to Kerikeri FC's off-field work.

"A lot of it goes down to organisation and administration," he said.

"Since 2010 there's been a lot done on the professional side of things. Things like getting coaches and players into development programmes has helped.

"Also in general, the population of Kerikeri is growing and there have been young families moving into the area which helps."

The number of players involved with Kerikeri Football Club equates to 25 teams taking the field each Saturday morning, not including the 4-to-8-year-olds in the Whole of Football programme.

Kerikeri FC has over the years built close relationships with its immediate governing body, the Northern Football Federation (NFF), which runs its head office from Albany with another office in Whangarei.

The growth of football in the Far North has led to the NFF appointing a football development officer and a community development officer to cope with the increased demands.

The growth rate from the latest period is slightly lower than that from 2010 to 2014 (21.51 per cent), but the 2014-2017 period saw growth across all grades.

This made up for the loss of players in the 13th and 15th grade from 2010 to 2014.

Senior football has benefited greatly from the larger pool of players available. The top side, Kerikeri Bay Builders, have been a force in Northland football over the past few years.

Last year was the first time they have clinched the NFF Men's Federation One Cup, beating Takapuna Boca Seniors 3-0 in the final.