National Competitions

DNC Small Schools’ Champions Enjoy Some Premier League Action

On Saturday 27th October Hale Primary School’s National Small Schools Champion team were rewarded for their achievement with a day at Southampton FC…

Following the ESFA Danone Nations Cup National Finals at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena in May 2018, Hale Primary were crowned U11 National Small Schools’ Champions, defying all odds in that the school has only 15 pupils per year group across many of the years – truly the definition of a ‘small school’! With the school also lacking in a playing field, the team’s football training often took place on a local green, which the children had to share with ponies and cattle!

The National Champions were awarded with a truly fitting reward in late October with a Premier League match day adventure and they have kindly sent us the following report summing up their day…


“The Hale team and a few lucky parents were invited to attend the home game against Newcastle United as Southampton’s guests. It was lovely to see them all together again after our incredible football journey last year, 6 of the 9 team members have now gone off to secondary school. The day started with a tour of the stadium which included the home dressing room and a chance to talk to the Saints staff that look after the players and help them prepare for their matches. The children enjoyed finding out about pre match routines and post match TV interviews and, in particular, seeing the dressing room set up and ready for the game ahead. After the tour we were treated to complimentary drinks and a delicious lunch while playing table football and pool.


The children loved meeting Sammy the Saints’ mascot and seeing who could ‘floss’ the fastest! The Saints’ nutritionist came to visit our table and was inundated with questions from the children and the adults alike, it was really useful for the children to hear how important diet is to their success on the pitch.We all thoroughly enjoyed the game although we would have like Southampton to get the 3 points they deserved…there were a lot of chances! Despite the cold, the children waited after the game and got to speak to many of the players and got their autographs which was the perfect end to a fantastic day out.


Hale Primary School, the team and their parents would like to thank again both the English Schools FA and Southampton Football Club for arranging such a memorable day for our incredible football team who defied all the odds to become National Small Schools Champions 2018!”

Danone Nations’ Cup Small Schools National Cup Winners|Hale Primary

We would like to congratulate Hale Primary again on their tremendous win and also extend our thanks to Southampton Football Club for helping us to reward our winners with such a fantastic opportunity and lovely hospitality. 

The Danone Nations Cup is the largest football competition worldwide for children aged 10 to 12 years old, involving over 2.5 million children from 32 countries.

In England, Danone has partnered with the English Schools’ FA to run the Danone Nations Cup for children under the age of 11. Every year, around 5,000 primary schools compete in the four U11 national tournaments, which culminate in the ESFA Danone Nations Cup National Finals…and we look forward to welcoming teams along to competitions for the 2018-19 season. Click here to find out more about the Danone Nations Cup.

The National Governing Body for Schools’ Football in England.

Match Reports, National Competitions, Tie of the Round

#MatchReportMonday – Ravens Wood School vs Forest School, a five-goal thriller and that’s the way, Zaha Zaha, we like it, Zaha Zaha! (ft. Wilfried Zaha)

Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha shows his support for schools football

It’s #MatchReportMonday and today we have an ESFA Boys’ Under 15 PlayStation Elite Schools’ Cup game between Ravens Wood School (Bromley) and Forest School (Horsham). This match tied in with second PS Schools’ Cup Tie of the Round event where Premier League and Crystal Palace star football Wilfried Zaha made a special guest appearance to Ravens Wood School – read all about Zaha’s trip HERE!


Ravens Wood School vs Forest School

Once the Q&A with Wilfried Zaha had finished everyone made their way to the 3G pitch where Zaha was introduced to both team’s players, taking pictures and wishing them both the best of luck.

Then it was time for kick off, Ravens Wood School in blue kicking left to right and Forest School in red kick right to left. Forest School came flying out the blocks with the number 8 centre midfielder Josh dictating the play, the opening goal came from Josh picking the ball up at the edge of the Ravens Woods box, then squaring it to Toby Shepard who, with one touch to set and the next to shoot, rifled the ball home for a 0-1 Forest School lead.


Forest School and Toby Shepard were not finished there either – when a corner was floated up to the back post and with a Forest player climbing the highest, he looped the ball back to where it came from with a fantastically timed jump and header to double the forest lead 0-2.


Forest School 0-2 up in the first ten minutes it looked as if they were going to run away with the match, however that was not the case because as Ravens Wood School grew evermore into the game, they began to take control of the play. The chances then came for Ravens Wood, a free header and cut back shots but the ball just would not find the back of the net. Not until just before the first half break, Elliott West drove into the box and slotted the ball past the onrushing keeper to make it 1-2 at half-time.


After the break the pattern of play remained the same with Ravens Wood controlling the possession and pushing for the equaliser, while Forest School sat back protecting their lead. Despite Ravens Wood dominating the ball, they were struggling to make any clear-cut chances. As the game headed into the last 10 minutes of regulation time with the situation remaining the same, with Ravens Wood needing an equaliser, midfielder General Jack smashed a header in to take the game to extra time.

Team talks before extra time


The extra time period kicked off but the game had a different feel to it now, Ravens Wood put a lot into the first 90 minutes and Forest looked the fresher team. Forest School found a second wind, gaining better control of the ball and countering well, they worked it down the wing, cut the ball back to penalty spot where Alfie Godard was waiting, who smashed the ball in the net! Forest continued to show their earlier resilience in defending and managed to see the game out to a 2-3 win.

Goal 2-3 Forest School

Well done to both teams on their fantastic match! Forest School (Horsham) will now progress to round 3 of the competition where they will face Glenthorne High School.

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