ESFA Internationals, featured, International Football

ESFA introduce International Staff for 2022/23

The ESFA is delighted to introduce the Staff and Coaches supporting the England U15 Schoolgirls and England U18 Schoolboys for the 2022/23 season. The staff who are all volunteers, play a major role in the development of the ESFA international teams and their hard work ensures the experience is as safe and enjoyable as possible for the players involved.

England U15 Schoolgirls

Sian Williams- Team Manager

Sian works as a maths teacher at Hitchin Girls’ School. She played senior football for 24 years in three countries – England, Italy and the USA. Most of her career was spent with Arsenal Ladies’ FC, where she captained the side for several years, amassed a total of 19 major trophies and reached the semi-final of the Champions League. She also represented both England and Wales at senior level and went to the 1995 World Cup as part of the England Squad. Sian’s coaching experience includes Arsenal Ladies’ Centre of Excellence and 16-19 Academy, England Universities and the Wales Senior Squad. She led Watford Ladies FC into the Premier League, the top division at the time, helping them win the National Futsal Tournament twice. 

Oz Rowley- Assistant Manager

Oz has mentored both male and female adults that had either played professionally or to a very high standard, whilst serving in the armed forces. He began his coaching career at the age of 21, gaining the necessary experience and training to coach or advise in most circumstances and spanning 23 years. Since leaving the armed forces in 2012, Oz has been coaching Staffordshire County Girls, coaching several players who have gone on to sign professional contracts and represent their country. He is a UEFA B licensed coach with Staffordshire County Schools’ FA and Stafford Rangers Development Squad. He has also been a successful scout and has applied for a place on the UEFA A course.  

David Ebberson- Goalkeeping Coach

David returns for his second season officially in post with the ESFA Girls’ team. He has a wealth of schools’ football experience, having coached the Staffordshire Girls’ county teams since 2014. Having gained his UEFA B, GK level 2, FA Youth Award & Talent ID level 2, he is well placed to continue to support the England Girls’ squad and coaching team. When not coaching with the U15 Girls, David keeps busy as a College lecturer, delivering BTEC and NCFE L3 sport. He also works as an FA coach educator delivering the UEFA C licence.

Abi Urmston- Physiotherapist

This is Abi’s first season as the U15 Girls’ Physio. After graduating in 2019, Abi has worked as Head of Academy Medical at Portsmouth FC and is now working at Coventry City FC where she is responsible for pitch-side first aid as well as injury clinics and rehabilitation sessions. She also works for The FA Education team. Abi has recently graduated with a PGDip in Sports & Exercise medicine. Abi also works for the company, Physio Science, in which she had the opportunity to travel to Spain with Crawley Town FC to be the physio for their pre-season tour. Abi continues to work with Coventry University Women’s football team as she completes her third degree at the university.  


England U18 Schoolboys

Luke Hampton- Team Manager

After completing a 3-year term as Assistant Manager, Luke will now step forward as Team Manager for the U18 England Schoolboys in the 22/23 season. Luke is currently Director of Sport at Barton Peveril VI Form College in Eastleigh, Hampshire. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Sports Science and a PGCE in PE from Loughborough University and an MA Education from the University of Brighton. His coaching qualifications include FA Coach Educator (Level 1 & 2), FA Tutor, UEFA B, BFAS and The FA Youth Modules 1, 2 & 3. Luke was the Team Manager for Hampshire U18 Boys (2014 – 2018) and Sussex U18 Team Manager (2007 – 2012). He has been involved for over 10 years with summer training camps at Repton School and in the SE and SW squad selection panels. Luke played for Southampton Schoolboys, Loughborough University and played non-league football for Coalville Town, Winchester City, Whitehawk and Burgess Hill. He also worked as a first team Sports Therapist at Brighton & Hove Albion.  

Matt Atherton- Assistant Manager

Appointed at the start of the 22/23 season, new Assistant Manager for the U18 England Schoolboys is Matt Atherton, Deputy Head Teacher of Pastoral Care at Rivington and Blackrod School in Bolton. Holding a BSc (Hons) in Physical Education from Liverpool John Moore’s University, Matt also holds his NQPSL and is a designated lead for safeguarding in his organisation. An UEFA B Coach, he has spent the past decade coaching within the schoolboy system for both Manchester and Greater Manchester School Boys. As a player he is the record appearance holder for Runcorn Linnets winning both league and cup titles as well as spending time at other semi-professional football teams around the North West including Bamber Bridge, Ramsbottom United and Clitheroe FC. Matt is currently Player/Manager for the team he started out for as a 6-year-old, Euxton Villa FC in the North West Counties league, leading the team to promotion last season in his second full season in charge. 

James Norton- Goalkeeping Coach

James is in his second season as the ESFA U18 Goalkeeper Coach. James is the Managing Director of Sells Pro Training, a Goalkeeper Academy. The academy runs weekly sessions for over 300 goalkeepers across the country and runs the largest residential goalkeeping camps in the UK. He has coached goalkeepers for over 25 years and has the FA B Goalkeeper Licence, his UEFA B licence, and the FA Tutor award. He worked for three years as Head of Goalkeeping at Scunthorpe United FC Academy, responsible for a coaching team working with the Under 8s through to the Under 18s. James has also tutored Level 1 Goalkeeping courses for the FA. He played for Loughborough University and semi-professionally for Brigg Town in the Unibond League.    

Liam Parkinson- Physiotherapist

This is Liam’s first season as the Boys’ U18 Physio. Liam holds a 1st class honours degree in both Physiotherapy and Sports & Exercise Science. After spending time in the NHS at Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liam made the move into sport, becoming Head Academy Physiotherapist at Accrington Stanley FC.  Liam also works privately at the Spire Healthcare Group alongside Orthopaedic consultants dealing with a range of conditions, complimenting his sporting interests. Describing his role at the ESFA said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work for national body in this capacity and look forward to helping facilitate players throughout their journey”


Support Staff

The ESFA International programme also has a plethora of support staff who volunteer their time to ensure the programme runs as smoothly as possible and the players are given the best experience possible.

Michael Mackenzie- ESFA International Project Manager  

Michael joined up from north of the border ahead of the 2022/23 International calendar. He previously served the Scottish FA as Secretary of the Scottish PowerChair FA 2020-2022, where he oversaw the national teams’ successful Geneva Cup and Home Nations Campaigns. Michael is currently a full-time Active Schools Coordinator, developing relationships and opportunities in sport both within Scottish schools and local communities. He further serves as current U16s Head Coach at St Johnstone FC, having previously been a Regional Development Centre Lead for Rangers. Michael also had a successful playing career at Non-League level in Scotland.  

Chris Baty – Girls’ U15 International Programme Coordinator (IPC) & Acting Boys’ IPC

Chris is now in his 2nd season working on the ESFA’s International programme as the U15 Girls’ IPC. Chris has a vast amount of experience having been involved within the game for over 20 years in a coaching and organisational capacity. Chris has worked in a wide range of footballing environments from grassroots football (with Norton & Stockton Ancients) to Major League soccer camps as a Club Development Officer and a Head Coach for a junior high school in Boston, USA. Chris has also worked at Middlesbrough Football Club as a Youth Scout and, within the club Foundation, as a PL Kicks and Social Inclusion Coach. Currently, he holds the UEFA B, FA Youth Award, First Aid for Sport Level 2, Goalkeeping Level 2 and Futsal Level 1 badge, amongst others. Chris is still involved within County Football with Cleveland County Schools’ FA, where he has been coaching for the last 7 years. He is currently the Chair of the Association.  

Samantha Taylor-Whitehead- International Welfare Officer

Sam works as a student support manager and physical education teacher at Broadway Academy. Sam is a UEFA B license coach working with the West Midlands County Girls for five seasons. Sam has had experience coaching and managing a range of age groups in male and female football, along with working for Aston Villa Foundation. In addition to this Sam has also held Club Welfare Officer roles at two junior grassroots teams along with being a trained Designated Safeguarding Lead within education.   


The ESFA would like to thank all of the volunteers who work on the ESFA International programme for their hard work and dedication in developing the international squads and ensuring the experience is as professional, safe and enjoyable as possible for the players involved

Classroom Challenge, Sponsors and Partners

The Panini Classroom Challenge returns for 2023

The English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) and Panini are celebrating their 10th Classroom Challenge with an opportunity for primary schools to win £2,000 cash, plus more prizes, and a presentation assembly from Panini.

This latest challenge, celebrating Panini’s Premier League Official Sticker Collection 2023, will see participating schools receive a box of Panini goodies for their pupils, including the Classroom Challenge worksheets. The team will be asking pupils embrace a real challenge this time – designing their very own football kit, to secure a place in the running for the prize!

Schools can register to take part in this latest activity by clicking the link below, but hurry – there is only space for 2,000 schools to sign up!

Registered schools will receive their Panini Classroom Challenge goodies in the new year, in early January 2023, and the competition will run from 9 January–3 February 2023.

Don’t forget to register your school today!

The story so far

Since 2017, the ESFA and Panini have worked closely together to create the Classroom Challenge campaign, with January 2023 marking the 10th challenge to be launched. The collaboration has given thousands of primary schools across England opportunities to receive Panini goodies to use in school and for them to win thousands of pounds of prize money, as part of the competition. 

The Classroom Challenge gives primary school children across the country an opportunity to be creative with art and design, while learning some fantastic Panini facts and filling out fun quizzes and worksheets. The uptake for these challenges has continued to grow and the feedback we’ve received from teachers over the last five years has been incredibly positive. Schools have found the Panini stickers and albums a fantastic vehicle for reward incentives, and many have seen this as a way to introduce ‘swaps clubs’ within school, helping pupils to find new hobbies and learn new skills.

The ESFA and Panini hope to continue to grow the popularity of the Classroom Challenge and to introduce even more schools across England to the competition.