Tauranga City United took a further step in lifting the standards of Western Bay football both on and off the pitch in the just finished 2013 season.

And what's more player numbers continue to grow in the crucial youth market.

Tauranga City's publicity officer Mark Bougen says the introduction of the new Federation Youth League catering from under-13s to under-17s has been a major boost.

"It has provided clubs with a base they can use from years to come," Bougen said.


"So we have about 30 players who have committed themselves at this stage to move on into next year and of course they will lead eventually up into our senior teams. In fact we had two 16-year-olds this year in Jonas Eyskins and William Clague who went from the youth grade and made first team appearances.

"Those two lads really showed promise and we are really hopeful of some of those younger players coming through. One of the things first team coach Duncan Lowry has said right throughout the year is that he has been involved in different clubs throughout the years but Tauranga City is very strong as far as depth is concerned.

"We are very supportive of fostering youth and getting them through into the top side which we are really happy about. We promote football in the community and our Summer Sevens gets underway shortly."

Tauranga City fields two Federation sides, a Bay 1 side plus the Federation Youth sides, so the club is well positioned for the future.

The shop window side of any club is the top senior team and this season ended in spectacular style for Tauranga City's Northern League team. After a slow start that had the team wallowing in mid-table, they came storming home to just miss an automatic promotion spot for next year.

"We are reasonably happy with how things went and finished fourth in the end," Bougen said. "We had a new coach and Duncan acknowledged at the time it was going to take a little bit of time for him to find his feet and unfortunately a series of pre-season games we had organised didn't eventuate. We started off on the back foot a wee bit and it took five or six games for Duncan to assess his players and see everyone's strengths and weaknesses.

"By that stage we had fallen off the pace but we made a great run at the end of the season and we only missed promotion very narrowly in the end. A highlight was Jack McNab winning the Golden Boot award for top goal scorer and he and Josh Nelson were selected for the new WaiBop United team. That was kudos for us as a second division club to get two players into a national league side.

"We are hopeful we will get promotion out of the second division. But this is an extremely hard division to get out of because a lot of Auckland clubs are throwing loads of money around.

"We are hoping if we can keep the nucleus from this year and build on it we can do it."

Tauranga City fields eight sides and there were some creditable results. The Federation team under Ross Johnson finished third behind AFC Fury and Old Blues, the Federation 2 team finished mid-table and the Bay 1 team came second. In the youth leagues, the under-13s were fourth and the under-15s second.