Football on the Cook Islands
On the Cook Islands, football takes third place after rugby union and rugby league. But if the countless women players were taken into account, the number would far exceed those for the other two sports put together. Among the women islanders, football is the second most widely played team sport after netball. The number of young players (both girls and boys) has also soared in the past few years. In 1998 and 2002, the Cook Islands national team qualified for the final round of the OFC Nations Cup. But so far, local players have not managed to break into foreign leagues. Joseph Chambers, however, a member of the national team for ten years (seven of which as captain) deserves a special mention.
The first Goal  Project
On 16 April 2003, the foundation stone for the Goal project, partially funded by money from the FIFA Financial Assistance Programme, was laid in Matavera on the island of Rarotonga. Less than a year later, on 2 April 2004, the football centre opened its doors. Since then, the centre is the focal point of all football activity, especially as the association's administrative offices have been integrated in the new building. Development programmes in a variety of areas, new competitions at every age level and basic programmes for youngsters (boys and girls) are already in the pipeline. In addition, women's football will be promoted. The inauguration of the academy solved one serious drawback, namely, that the Cook Islands football family is now centralised in one place. This was until now practically impossible, given the many scattered islands and the dearth of facilities.
Use of FAP funds
Financing of Goal project
Project
Football academy and national association headquarters in Rarotonga, two pitches
Project approved
29 October 2001
Status
Opened on 2 April 2004
Financed by
Goal USD 400,000 FAP USD 229,000 Others USD 14,000 Total cost USD 643,000
05.11.2009