English Schools' Football Association

The English Schools' Football Association was founded in 1904 and is the governing body of schools' football in England. It is responsible for the running and development of schools competitions and festivals at primary and secondary school age.[1] The ESFA headquarters is in Stafford.

English Schools' Football Association
Headquarters4, Parker Court
Staffordshire Technology Park
Mike Spinks
Chief Executive
Andrea Chilton

The Football Association (FA) works with ESFA to support high quality, coordinated inter school football competition programmes for all young people.[2][3][4][5] The association run national competitions from under-11 to under-19 age groups. This provides opportunities for young people to have the experience of playing at a higher level by representing their schools in a national recognised competition with all of the finals taking place at professional stadia. In the last few seasons, the ESFA has had finals at the Etihad Stadium, Old Trafford, Anfield, Stamford Bridge, Craven Cottage, Goodison Park, the Hawthorns and even Wembley Stadium.

The ESFA's centenary year was in 2004. England Schoolboys v Rest of World was played at Aston Villa F.C. to celebrate this. The game saw over 10,000 spectators attend.

Wembley 2008

In 2008, the ESFA hosted an International game at Wembley Stadium which saw just over 20,000 spectators. The day started with the Under 11 Primary Finals with the pitch divided into 2 halves.

The second event was a Celebrity Match [6] with celebrities from England and Scotland. The teams included:

England team manager: Sir David Frost, television presenter.

England players: Angus Deayton, comedy actor and TV presenter, Ralph Little, comedy actor; Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Sid Owen, screen actor; Eastenders, Big Bob from Al Murray's Happy Hour, Martin Toal, tenor, Des Comerford, Chris Hollins, TV presenter, BBC Breakfast, Chappers Mark Chapman, radio presenter, Radio 1 and Five Live, Colin Salmon, screen actor; Robinson in James Bond films, Alien vs Predator, Adam Woodyatt, screen actor; EastEnders, Ian Wills, vocals, Wills and the Willing (goalkeeper), Ross Millard, guitar and vocals, The Futureheads, Luke Simpkins, lead vocals, The Days, Harry Meads, drummer, The Days, Tim Ayers, lead guitar, The Days, Natty, solo artist, Paul Smith, lead vocals, Maximo Park, Danny Cipriani, Wasps and England.

Scotland team manager: Peter Mullan, screen actor

Scotland players: John Smeaton (captain), hero of Glasgow Airport bombing, Paul Riley, screen and comedy actor; Still Game, Chewin’ the Fat, Martin Compston, screen actor; Sweet Sixteen, Monarch of the Glen, Tom Craig, screen actor; Coronation Street, The Murdoch Mysteries, David McKay, screen actor and TV director; Shoebox Zoo, Braveheart, Tommy Sheridan, politician, Solidarity Party, Brian MacDonald, finalist X Factor 2006, Craig MacDonald, finalist X Factor 2006, Mark Guidi, presenter on Radio Clyde, sports editor for Sunday Mail (goalkeeper), Gerry McCulloch, TV presenter, STV’s 5.30 Show, Gordon Smith, chief executive Scottish FA; ex Rangers, Andy Walker, ex Scotland and Celtic, Darren Jackson, ex Scotland and Celtic, Joe Miller, ex Rangers, Tom McRae, singer-songwriter, Leon Jackson, X Factor winner 2007, David Tennant, screen actor; Dr Who, Martin Reilly, Arena Sports Management, Mark Donachy, Arena Sports Management.

The third event of the day saw England take on Scotland. World Cup Final referee Howard Webb[7] took charge of this game and England went on to win 2–0.[6]

England Schoolboys and England Schoolgirls

The ESFA also co-ordinate the advancement of players all the way to International level, for England Schoolboys (Under 18) and England Schoolgirls (Under 15) teams. The process for representation follows this pattern; School teams nominate the best few players to go forward for County (or District) trials, from these a County team is formed. The County Schools' Associations will then nominate players to go forward to regional (North, Midlands, South West, South East) trials and from these players an International squad is selected.

The England Schoolboys represent their Country by playing in the Centenary Shield. Teams in the competition include England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. The Boys also play in friendly matches and in the past they have faced New Zealand, Australia, France and Belgium.[8]

The England Schoolgirls play in the Bob Docherty Cup and the Lloyds TSB Cup. Season 2011/12 was the first time this team was run to help with the development in Girls' Football.[9]

National competitions

Here is the list of the main competitions[10] the ESFA is currently running:

  • U11 Small Sided Competitions (Boys, Girls, Small Schools & Districts)
  • U12 Schools' Cup for Boys
  • U12 Indoor 5-a-side Cup for Boys
  • U12 Indoor 5-a-side Cup for Girls
  • U13 Schools' Cup for Boys
  • U13 Schools' Cup for Girls
  • U13 Small Schools' Cup for Boys
  • U13 Inter Association Trophy
  • U14 Inter County Trophy for Boys
  • U14 Inter County Trophy for Girls
  • U14 Schools' Cup for Boys
  • U14 Small Schools' Trophy for Boys
  • U15 Schools' Cup for Boys
  • U15 Schools' Cup for Girls
  • U15 Inter Association Trophy
  • U16 Schools' Cup for Boys
  • U16 Schools' Cup for Girls
  • U16 Inter County Trophy for Boys
  • U16 Inter County Trophy for Girls
  • U18 Schools' Trophy for Boys
  • U18 Schools' Trophy for Girls
  • U18 Colleges' Trophy for Boys
  • U18 Colleges' Trophy for Girls
  • U18 Inter County Trophy for Boys

National finals

The National Competitions Department arrange the Final venues throughout the year to ensure that the players who make it to the final are given an experience that they will never forget.

The Final Venues that the ESFA have been to in the past include:


The ESFA also host four football festivals each year

  • The Durham Festival (Under 13)
  • The North Tyneside Festival (Under 11)
  • The Jersey Festival (Under 11)
  • The Isle of Wight Festival (Under 14)

See also


  1. Other Sports. "Talking Schools Sport: ESFA owe it all to a Welshman". Telegraph. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  2. Fox, Norman (1993-11-21). "Football: Can we have our ball games back, please?: School sport is out. As Britain absorbs the impact of World Cup humiliation a crisis on our playing fields underlies a pressing need to return to basics: Norman Fox explains how national failure reflects a deeper social malaise". The Independent. Retrieved on 2012-08-13.
  3. Davies, Gareth A (29 November 2000). "Schools Football: Initative [sic] to kick-start distaff coaching scheme". Telegraph. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  4. Judith Judd (5 October 1998). "New football academies `block schoolboy talent' – News". The Independent. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  5. Jones, Ken (1998-03-16). "Football: Coaching the best out of the next Pele" The Independent. Retrieved on 2012-08-13.
  6. "English Schools' Football Association (ESFA)". 11 March 2008. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 20 March 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. "English Schools' Football Association (ESFA) – News 2007–2008". ESFA. 30 August 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  8. "English Schools' Football Association (ESFA) – Boys International Fixtures 2013–2014 – Under 18 Centenary Shield". ESFA. 1 September 2013. Archived from the original on 5 July 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  9. "English Schools' Football Association (ESFA) – Girls International Fixtures 2012–2013". ESFA. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  10. "English Schools' Football Association (ESFA) – Competitions – 2012–2013 Boys". ESFA. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
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