They come from near and far to make the All Whites.

While striker Chris Wood was nailing his first goal in the glamorous English Premier League, goalkeeper Tamati Williams was helping Glenfield claim the northern premier league title.

Williams, aged 30, made his full international debut against South Africa at Mt Smart Stadium in May, although he played in the build up to last year's failed World Cup qualification mission against Mexico and first made the national squad 10 years ago.

Tamati is a man on the move. He turned out for a New Zealand selection against the Wellington Phoenix in Taupo this month. The Wellington Phoenix welcome him to training and he was back in the capital over the past few days. He heads to Japan next week as part of an Auckland City exchange. Next month, Williams is off to an All Whites camp in Qatar before taking on Uzbekistan in Tashkent. And he's set to figure in Auckland City's world club campaign in Morocco late this year. Around that, he has another life as a student and model.


You are an anachronism, flying the flag for the local game ...

I've got mixed feelings about that. I'm proud to be an All White wherever I'm playing, but I'd still like to become a fulltime professional. I've got to keep banging on doors - I've just got a Dutch passport (through a grandparent) so I'm hoping that can help. I suppose the closest I got was when I was 18, when I had trials with Stockport County and Blackburn. Memories ... I recall Brad Friedel coming up to say hello and Andy Cole sitting on a ball behind the goal.

Were there wild celebrations at Glenfield?

It was a very odd way to win ... we had the weekend off and won the title because Bay Olympic lost. So we weren't all together.

Have you always been a goalkeeper?

I lived in Whangarei until I was eight and played rugby then. After that I was always a goalkeeper. Apparently when they asked who wanted to play in goal, I put up my hand.

Glenfield and Auckland City are a far cry from the EPL ...

I remember stories about the late 70s and early 80s when 10,000 - 12,000 people would go to local games. That was before we got La Liga and the EPL on mainstream television. Nowadays, you've just watched Lionel Messi in the morning, so why watch local football. But for the game to grow in New Zealand, we need to get people behind it.

There is a new breed emerging in the All Whites ...

Ryan Thomas, Marco Rojas, Bill Tuiloma - those sort of players are enjoyable to watch. I certainly enjoy standing behind them in training. It's a bright future. There are more football schools these days, scholarships to the United States ... when I came through the under-20s there was just Mossy [Glen Moss] and me. In the current crop, there are seven going for the three goalkeeper positions.

And a new All Whites coach in Anthony Hudson ...

We've heard bits and pieces about the style he wants to implement. I'm not sure how much I can say but it is supposedly in the vein of how Chile played at the World Cup - high press, high tempo, exciting football.

Is it hard to make the transition, from local football to the All Whites?

Before we played Chivas USA last year I told [defender] Tommy Smith I was a little bit nervous, playing alongside big names like him, Winston Reid, Andrew Durante. He thought it was a bit of an odd thing to say. Maybe I should have kept it to myself.

Was it a dream come true, finally making your international debut?

They had been talking to me for 20 minutes about going on - I got three minutes at the end. I thanked Neil Emblen and he said I deserved it on my form through the season. No one wants to sit on the bench - becoming a pro would help me push Mossy for his spot.

Goalkeepers excelled at the World Cup ...

It was great for goalkeepers. [Germany's] Manuel Neuer has added another dimension. Goalkeepers have always acted as a sweeper inside the 18 yard box but he pushed that further up field. He has fantastic feet and reads the game so well. It is a bit much to expect others to suddenly emulate that.

You've represented famous labels like Calvin Klein and Esprit ... how did you become a model?

Three people suggested that I looked like someone in a magazine and should give it a go. So I rang some agencies. I've lived in Paris, New York, Sydney. It has been a great way to see the world although sometimes you didn't know where the next pay packet was coming from. Modelling still helps me make ends meet.

You also study ...

I'm doing a post graduate diploma in zoology ... I'm interested in the conservation of species.