Welcome to Eastern Suburbs AFC

Welcome to 2022! Here’s some key dates and info:


2022 REGISTRATIONS will open online from 10th January. To log in and register on the WINTER SYSTEM (blue task bar), please use your 2021 username and password and then follow the prompts to update and correct your information. An early bird discount will be available to those who register and pay for their subscription fees before March 1st, 2022.

TERM 1 TRAINING SCHEDULES are now updated on our website. This information can be found under the “Player Information” tab, and then just click on whichever grade your child will be next year – make sure you scroll down!

TRAINING DATES: Term 1 training for all players will begin the week of February 7th, 2022, and finish the week ending 14th April. Training will start on the public holiday Monday.

NRF SEASON: All NRF Academy Youth teams will start the first week of April, while all other players are currently scheduled to start the first week of May. We will provide updates on any date changes from the federation in the new year.

IN-HOUSE SEASON: The ESAFC in-house season will commence on the 7th of May. Please ensure all players are registered before the close-off date of Friday 15th April. After this teams will be put together.

FEES: Don’t forget that all fees for 2021 including term 4 training must be paid prior to your registration for next season! You can pay fees by logging in to your clubhub account. If you have any issues or queries regarding this, please contact

ESAFC OFFICE & SHOP: The ESAFC Madills Farm Office will be closed between 20th December and 31st January, but we will be available for any urgent inquiries via email

A MASSIVE THANK YOU must go to all of our helpful volunteers and fabulous sponsors – as always, the club would be simply unable to run without the work that you do! Big or small, the awesome things that you do throughout the year for your teams and players does not go unnoticed!


                                                                                       ESAFC Team


Two New Club Life Members!



Andy Robertson (left) and Jim Marsh (right) were acknowledged and presented with Life Memberships at the ESAFC AGM held on Thursday evening. Both members have contributed many years to the success, culture and running of the club. On behalf of everyone at ESAFC - thank you!


Andy Robertson, played for the club as a Junior and Youth and the Roberston family have been heavily involved with ESAFC for 60 years. Even during the dark dark days of the late 80s and early 90s with the club (when ESAFC Senior Prems team played Div 3) Andy and his brother (Club Life Member, Grant) would attend and support every game. His time on the Executive taking the comms into the 21st century was a huge step forward for the club, and notably the work he did around the National League application was critical.


Jim Marsh, current Club Captain, player and Exec member, first joined the club 20 years ago, quickly becoming player/coach of one of the top Senior Men’s teams of which under his leadership have won numerous league titles. The success hasn’t let up with leading his teams through the age groups 30s, 35s, 40s and currently over 45s, again winning his league this season. Jim is the most successful player/coach in the club’s history.


He has been involved in securing Club sponsorship deals, some of which are still in partnership with the club today, has contributed hugely through his engineering firm in undertaking club projects at no charge. And his generosity to the club and its members has not gone unnoticed. On the pitch, Jim has clear talent, honed over years of top flight football, a calm leader on the pitch and much loved and respected off the field.

Men’s Premier player, Cory Vickers, walks the length of New Zealand for Mental Health in Sport



Cory and his partner Britt set off last December at the top of the South Island for the 1300km hike to Bluff. The purpose is to raise awareness and money for Mental Health within New Zealand sport, for young people.


"Through telling our story we’ve sparked many conversations around Mental Health and Mental Health within young athletes in the sport, the idea was to get people talking more about anxiety and depression, something we’ve now played a small role in throughout the country. We hope you have enjoyed following our journey over the last 2 months, either inspired you to talk about your own Mental Health or get out on an adventure as well as give you a laugh or two.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us and donated. Our website and give a little page will be running till 31st March 2022"

Check out their site for more information and to support their mission.

National League Update



"Following confirmation from the government yesterday afternoon (1 November) that Auckland and the Waikato is not moving to an alert level where is it possible for teams to play matches, New Zealand Football can confirm it will be cancelling the women’s and men’s National League Championship 2021. Instead, a new one-off interregional competition, the National League: South Central Series, will run in its place for the women’s and men’s teams that are able to play. In addition, it is now confirmed that the remaining Chatham Cup semi-final and final will be moved to February 2022 due to the uncertainty around when semi-finalists North Shore United are able to play again. 

With four teams in each of the National League Championships unable to play, New Zealand Football took the decision to cancel the Championship phase and not crown national champions, so as to uphold the integrity of the women’s and men's competitions. The National League: South Central Series will feature the six regional qualifiers in the men’s (Cashmere Technical, Miramar Rangers, Selwyn United, Wellington Olympic, Wellington Phoenix Reserves and Western Suburbs) and four federation sides in the women’s (Canterbury United Pride, Capital Football, Central Football and Southern United).


New Zealand Football GM, Daniel Farrow was disappointed not to be able to run full national competitions but pleased teams able to play now could:

'We have worked with our clubs and federations through the lockdown to attempt to find a solution and left it as long as possible to see if we could play the National League Championship. Unfortunately, yesterday's announcement confirms it isn’t going to be possible. 

“For the teams outside of Auckland and the Waikato, I want to thank you for your patience throughout this process. I’m delighted we are now able to get this new competition underway and look forward to finally seeing players back on the pitch.”

The women’s competition will be a double round robin league for the four teams involved. The men’s competition will be a single round league for the six teams involved followed by a Grand Final featuring the top two sides.'


ESAFC Fun Football & Fitness Session




Keeping our Lilywhites safe during the Delta Outbreak is Eastern Suburbs' number one priority. 😷⚽️


Sessions are Monday to Friday each week.


Each Wednesday, the following week’s sessions will be opened for booking.


Click here for more information, and for how to book!

20 Second Juggling Challenge - Results!


Awesome work Lilywhites!!



ESAFC On Demand


Whilst we’re all playing our part by staying at home during this latest lockdown, remember to keep active. We have all our ESAFC OnDemand sessions available for you to keep working on your skills at home. - head to the relative age band and/or training on our YouTube channel!


Share and tag @ESAFC on social media, of you giving the training a go!

Summer Football 7's



Football7s is outdoor football for Juniors & Youth of all ages and abilities. Leagues run for 9 weeks throughout Term 4 of each year in Remuera and Ellerslie.

2021 leagues start in October with registrations open August 1st.

Find out more 👉




Check out the ‘News’  tab in the navigation bar for our latest press releases and news! 

Keeping up with the Lilywhites

Here's how to ensure you’re keeping up-to-date this season with all things Lilywhites.  


Weekly email newsletter with key dates, news and info. This is emailed every Thursday evening from Please check this isn’t not going into your junk folder and mark as ‘safe sender’ or add it to your address book so you continue to receive it.

If you aren’t currently receiving our weekly newsletter and would like to, please email and we’ll add you in! 


Read All about it!

The Latest ESAFC Weekly Newletter Click Here


The ESAFC Mobile App

Specific ‘on the day’ reminders, notifications, training or game changes. Download from the App Store or Google Play


Social Media

Follow us on social. See links in the menu bar on the left-hand side of this page.


Team & Game enquires

Please contact your Grade Co-ordinator. Their contact details are found under ‘Player Information’ tab and in the relevant Grade.

For other enquiries, please contact the administration team.

NZF Skills Centre Accredited


The Lilywhites are delighted to have been awarded NZ Football accreditation for our skills centre across all age grades!



#Lilywhites #Development

Y-License Accreditation



We are so excited to be acknowledged by Northern Region Football for being one of the six clubs in the region to attain our Y-License Accreditation. Alongside this, we are the ONLY club who have achieved this across both Boys and Girls.

A huge moment for our club that we are extremely proud of!

Our Technical Director Darren Bazeley acknowledged this accomplishment and stated that "Receiving the Y-Licence is a great achievement for our Football Club. There has been a lot of hard work over the past few years from all of the staff to help build our club into one of the best Football Development environments in New Zealand.

We have a lot of members in both the Community and Talent Development pathways and are really focused on delivering an enjoyable and enriching Football experience for all of our Players and Coaches, assisting them to reach their full potential and goals.

Receiving this Y-Licence will enable us to build on this hard work and continue to be the best we can be."

#Lilywhites ⚪️🟡

ESAFC & Fencibles United: Resource Partnership Model 


Fencibles United AFC and Eastern Suburbs AFC are delighted to announce the establishment of an exciting collaborative resource partnership between the two clubs. 

This partnership has been created to meet the ever-increasing challenges that football clubs are facing in delivering quality programmes and experiences for all of their members and stakeholders.  The innovative partnership is aimed at utilising shared resources to enhance all aspects of the club from social football through to recognised player and coach pathways.  Whilst the partnership will bring the two clubs closer together, a large focus will be placed on preserving and respecting each other’s unique identities.


NZ Football have introduced the FIFA Club Licensing system in recent years with the overall aim of raising the level of club football. One of the key goals in that process is to increase the level of professionalism in club football through strengthening their technical and sporting development.

A significant component of this criteria is the recruitment and development of a suitably qualified Director of Football supported by qualified coaches in each age group. By successfully meeting these standards clubs are awarded licensing status which provides quality assurance and other benefits to their members in terms of consistent access to certain levels of competition. 

Successfully meeting and sustaining a Club License requires a significant amount of human and financial resourcing in the short and long term.  The sustainability of these resources and programmes is a huge challenge for all clubs and requires fresh thinking and a different way of approaching the business demands of club football.


The financial impact of the COVID virus has added greater relevancy to developing new practices and strategies to not only ensure the long-term viability of sporting organisations but also to allow clubs to keep evolving and delivering improved programmes and experiences. The resource partnership model being embarked on between Eastern Suburbs AFC and Fencibles United is part of the long-term visions of both clubs and sustainability plans.


As part of the first steps in forming this resource partnership, ESAFC Director of Football Tony Readings will be appointed to jointly carry out this key leadership role for both clubs, overseeing all football matters from July.  This role will be pivotal across both clubs in establishing the partnership and the sharing of resources.  Whilst this partnership will grow and evolve over time, the initial focus will be on knowledge sharing at different levels, distribution of qualified coaches and community coach education.  


“At Eastern Suburbs we have provided substantial investment to develop well-resourced player and coach pathways, strong administration, targeted community and female development.  We are excited to extend the reach of our learnings and resources to help benefit even more players and coaches by partnering with Fencibles United in a way that will positively impact approximately 4000 players between both clubs. We are very much looking forward to working with Fencibles United AFC to collaborate to find improved solutions, develop enhanced opportunities for our members, and continue to grow football and playing numbers in our respective catchment areas. This new resource partnership model is a fresh chapter in club football and will enable both clubs to contribute more significantly to the growth and development of football in New Zealand.”

 (Simon Hilton, ESAFC Chairman).


“I am very excited about the opportunities that the resource partnership between Eastern Suburbs and Fencibles United Football Clubs presents. This collaborative partnership will have a greater positive impact on a larger number of players, coaches and other important club members and stakeholders.  Whilst the clubs will work together to enhance the experience of their respective members, it will also be a key priority to preserve the unique identities of both clubs and build on their proud histories to help lay a strong foundation for both the current and future generations.” Tony Readings (Director of Football ESAFC and Fencibles United).


“This new model is an exciting and innovative way of working which will allow both clubs to leverage off each other’s strengths and to learn collaboratively. To enable this relationship to flourish and for the good of football in both our local region and New Zealand, there needs to be a mind shift from viewing a neighbouring club as a competitor to embracing them as a supportive partner that can enable both clubs to provide better quality experiences for all of our members.”(Aaron Carson, Fencibles Chairman)


“Northern Region Football is supportive of any initiative in the club space which aims to deliver a sustainable and high-quality experience for club members of all ages and stages.

“We certainly applaud and support this joint approach which better utilizes the high degree of expertise and resourcing available to deliver an increased level of service in a far more efficient model. The collaborative thinking in breaking free from traditional club structures for the good of the region is a superb outcome for our sport.” (Steven Upfold, NRF GM Football)

The Vision and Role of Eastern Suburbs AFC

In a recent interview, Chris Ruffell (the chairman of Eastern Suburbs AFC) outlined the vision and key goals for our club. 








Chris Ruffell commented: I'm often asked, 'what's the goal for Eastern Suburbs, and is the National League and our winter premier teams the focus of our club?' 

"I can understand these questions as we enjoy what to some may appear as two very different roles and potentially conflicting tasks under the Lilywhite banner:

  • On one hand, we have a crucial role in and with our local community
  • While at the same time we embrace and nurture highly competitive premier teams, both male and female

Chris went onto say: "the answer is very simple: our club is focused on delivering an enjoyable and enriching football experience for each and every single Lilywhite...regardless of their age, ability, footballing motivations and gender. As such our community and premier player roles are neither competing or exclusive, rather the two roles are compatible in delivering that enriching experience. The following should help explain this further:

"We jealously guard our role in the local community...with in excess of 2,600 Lilywhites we have a significant community role by providing exercise and participation opportunities of our members, we are also part of the very fabric of the Eastern Suburbs catchment area. Nothing gives me more pleasure than being at Madills Farm on a Saturday morning to see our grounds full of our members enjoying playing their football games, but also they along with their friends and families connecting as a community.

"For those Lilywhites who come through our ranks and are more motivated to 'kick-on' and want to maximise their footballing ability we are committed to providing the best and most resourced pathway in New Zealand which will allow them to achieve their goals. For some that may lead to university scholarships in the United States, for others contracts with overseas clubs not to mention national honours, including playing for the Football Ferns and the All Whites. 

So, this explains how we deliver to our 'enjoyable and enriching' promise to our community members and our members who strive to achieve at higher levels.

"We committed to entering the National League and the associated National Youth League in late 2015 for the simple reason: to extend our Eastern Suburbs pathway into the highest level of club football in this country. Sure we enjoy winning games and titles, but this is never our ultimate goal for entering the ISPS Handa Premiership. Don't get me wrong...we thoroughly enjoy being the current National League title, holders, however what surprises some is securing that honour was not our objective at the start of the season, nor did we assemble a squad to ensure we delivered the Premiership title, rather it was a by-product of our 'kiwi first' and development strategy. I acknowledge in the short term we need to draw on players from outside our Lilywhite community, but our longer-term goal is to have our National League squad dominated by players that have come through our pathway. We have set strict KPI's that demands our National League squad members are increasingly (year on year) drawn from the ranks our winter Premier squad.

Our woman's Premier team who are the Kate Shepard Cup titleholders are under similar KPI's, they have a significant number of squad members who have come through the Lilywhite pathway ranks.

Finally, we have developed a style of play which runs through the footballing strategy DNA, based on procession, developing passing and on-the-ball skills rather than the 'long ball' lump it up the front to some speedster strikers playing style. Again, this game strategy runs from our Premier teams through our various age grades to help foster playing abilities and allow the pathway to seamlessly advance our members into the prestigious Eastern Suburbs Premier teams.

Chris Ruffell (ESAFC Chairman)

#pathways #development