South African-born De Vries, 23, has enjoyed an outstanding FIFA Club World Cup campaign with the Navy Blues but has rebuffed media inquiries from African press about his availability for Bafana Bafana while in Morocco.
“I’ve never been contacted by the South African Football Association to represent the country of my birth.
“I was born in South Africa, I’ll always be South African in that sense, but I’ve lived in New Zealand for five years now and New Zealand has shown more interest.
“Now, I feel more like a Kiwi in my heart, I won’t forget my roots but if the chance came and the All Whites wanted me to represent them, I would pick New Zealand,” De Vries said.
The former Waitakere United forward joined Auckland City FC at the start of last season before making the switch to the Navy Blues after winning four consecutive titles with the West Aucklanders.
And De Vries also says its about time everyone sat up and took notice about what is going on in the nation’s flagship domestic competition – the ASB Premiership.
“It was a major achievement to play San Lorenzo in the semi-finals of a FIFA Club World Cup. We’ve got this saying at Auckland City FC: ‘Strength in Unity” – and we all play for each other.
“We’ve been together for a long time and everyone understands each other. When we pull on that Navy Blue jersey, we don’t play for ourselves, we play for the club and everyone that supports it.
“The ASB Premiership is a pretty good league. It has good teams, good players and as you can see, Auckland City FC has made a big impact here on the world stage,” he said.
But De Vries remains proud of both parts of his national identity, but ultimately sees himself as a ‘new’ Kiwi.
“Its not that I don’t like or dislike South Africa in any way. You see countless examples of this in world football – Tim Cahill, for example, is Samoan and represents the Socceroos, or guys like Aiden McGeady who is Scottish but plays for Ireland.
“I’ll always be green and gold in some way, but my heart belongs to New Zealand,” he says.