From College Soccer to Pro Club and International Honors: Meet New Zealand Star Alex Greive

4 min read

It’s more than 8,000 miles from Auckland to Kentucky but coming from New Zealand, long haul travel is the norm for professional soccer player Alex Greive. A talented attacking midfielder from a young age, it came as no surprise to those around him that he would find his way to the top level of collegiate soccer in the States, but it was it was beyond his own wildest dreams that he would eventually pull on the All White shirt of the New Zealand national team and score for his country.

At the age of 17, Alex secured a soccer scholarship with Northern Kentucky University, having made his senior debut two years earlier for Birkenhead United in his homeland’s NRFL Premier League in 2015. Three successful seasons followed for the young Kiwi, making 48 appearances for the Norsemen and bagging an impressive 20 goals at NCAA DI level. In his sophomore year, his 11 assists ranked fourth in the NCAA, earning him individual recognition including Top Drawer Soccer and College Soccer News National Team of the Week honors, and being named in the All-Horizon League Second Team.

Even better was to follow with Alex being called up to the New Zealand U20 national team camp in preparation for the 2019 Under-20s World Cup. Greive then dominated the goalscoring charts in the 2019 season, leading the Norse and the Horizon League with 15 goals in as many matches played and his goals per game output was the second highest in the NCAA.

“The facilities at NKU were outstanding and even better than anything I have experienced while playing in Scotland later in my career,” said Greive.  “I had an incredible three years at university which really helped develop me as a player, but I also loved the experience of playing with so many great teammates who would become friends for life. It was a big move to go from Auckland to Kentucky, but I settled in quickly and loved playing over there.”

Returning to New Zealand, Alex established himself back in the Birkhenhead United team and his status was further elevated, matching his goals per games feat with NKU when he hit the net 19 times in as many league games during the 2021 season, scoring an impressive 25 goals in all competitions.

Another lengthy flight beckoned when Scottish Premier League side St Mirren came calling, and manager Jim Goodwin took Alex to Paisley to bolster the Buddies attack. Since signing in January 2022 – the same month he made his international debut - Alex has made 63 appearances, scoring 8 goals and when Goodwin took over the managerial role at Dundee United, he took him on loan. Despite being hampered by injury, he contributed to United winning the Championship and helping them earn promotion back to the SPFL.

“The experience in the US was fantastic and I would encourage any talented young player in New Zealand to think about making the move. The standard of college soccer is very high and more than comparable to professional soccer, and the support you get being a student-athlete is brilliant, from your coaches and the professors. It’s given me the opportunity to travel all the world, to play professionally and to make my way into the national team, which is something I didn’t think would happen as a young kid growing up in Auckland.”

FirstPoint USA are hosting Talent ID assessment events in New Zealand this month and you can now sign up for our Auckland and Wellington events via the links below.

Wednesday 22 May | Ole Football Academy | Wellington

Monday 27 May | Bill McKinlay Park | Auckland

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