National Schools' Football Week, The World of Schools' Football

Schools’ Football; the best time of your life

Why Stephen Warnock is a fantastic Ambassador for Schools’ Football

The English Schools’ FA (ESFA) kicked off the second National Schools’ Football Week, in association with the PlayStation Schools’ Cup on Monday; by facilitating former Liverpool and England star, turned pundit, Stephen Warnock’s return to his high school in Ormskirk. To mark the end of this incredible week, we’re sharing with you Stephen’s glowing memories of his time playing Schools’ Football.

Warnock, who represented his school, his district and his county, progressing to earn an England cap in the ESFA U15 Schoolboys’ squad alongside Leon Osman and Joe Cole during his teenage years, reflected back on some of the “best times” of his footballing life.

Describing St Bedes School in Ormskirk as “ultra supportive”, during his interview Stephen frequently reminisced that his school friends and teachers had helped drive him to work hard and become the best footballer he could be – helping to sculpt him for his professional career at clubs such as Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa and within the England squad.

Stephen recounted to the ESFA just how important he felt schools’ football was to him as a developing player. The TV pundit insisted that if he could turn back the clock to playing football at any point, it would be to his school days – describing how it was him and his “best friends playing football together week in, week out” and that “there was no better thing”. Even as a teenager, Stephen was so dedicated to schools’ football that whilst playing for the Liverpool FC academy, he was told to stop playing for his school in order to concentrate on his academy training; Stephen refused to do so and managed to negotiate with the academy to allow him to continue training for Liverpool whilst still playing with his friends at school. Stephen went on to air his frustrations at children playing for academies missing out on the opportunity to continue to play for their school teams saying “they’re the best days of your life. They’re what make you a footballer, they’re what make you enjoy football. If you don’t have those days, then for me, there’s no point in playing.”

National Schools’ Football Week was introduced in 2018 in association with the ESFA PlayStation Schools’ Cup, as a celebration of the fantastic work carried out within schools and colleges across England. Hundreds of schools supported the first campaign and over 300 schools have again registered their interest in this year’s event. Stephen Warnock, who played at every conceivable level of schools’ football, is the perfect ambassador for not only his former school in Ormskirk, but also for the work carried out by the English Schools’ FA and their volunteer workforce; season after season. With over 73,000 teams taking part in schools’ football activity in the 2017-18 season, the ESFA and its wealth of activity and competitions only continues to grow.

Check out our full interview with Stephen over on our YouTube channel, ESFA TV.

National Competitions, National Schools' Football Week, The World of Schools' Football, Tie of the Round

National Schools’ Football Week is Here!

Welcome to the second National Schools’ Football Week, in association with the PlayStation Schools’ Cup…

…and have we got some treats in store for you!

Monday 4 February

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To celebrate day one of National Schools’ Football Week (SFW) the ESFA are heading to St Bede’s School in Ormskirk to take former Premier League and England player, Stephen Warnock back to where his footballing career started. Warnock, now a media pundit, played at every level of schools’ football representing St Bede’s, his district, his county and ESFA U15 England schoolboys.

We’ll be chatting to Stephen about his experiences and he’ll be put under scrutiny by current St Bede’s pupils. We’ll also be running some coaching sessions for PE classes!

Follow us on Instagram (@schoolsfootball) for updates throughout the afternoon and look out for our full interview in the coming days!

We’ll also be heading over to PlayFootball in Birmingham on Monday to see how teams are getting on in the ESFA U12 Monster Fives West Midlands finals! Good luck to all the teams taking part!

Tuesday 5 February

Tuesday sees the ESFA Deaf Schools’ Football Finals kick off at the Derby Powerleague. We’ll be there to get some coverage of our fantastic disability tournament – make sure you switch on notifications for our Instagram posts so you can be the first to see all the action!

Wednesday 6 February

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We’ll be heading off to Hertfordshire on Wednesday for the Schools’ Football Week PlayStation Schools’ Cup Tie of the Round event, featuring Spurs and England player, Harry Winks. We look forward to welcoming Harry along to the event during this exciting week-long celebration of Schools’ Football. Don’t forget to check out @PSSchoolsCup on instagram and Twitter for all the behind-the-scenes action.

Thursday 7 February

We’ll be recapping the weeks’ events so far on Thursday and also celebrating the ESFA’s England U18 Schoolboys squad with a special treat for them, courtesy of our friends at Panini UK. 

Friday 8 February

Friday sees competition winners, Lymm High School in Cheshire receive their prize of a coaching session at their school with national treasure, Chris Kamara! After submitting a fantastic competition entry, the school, which have entered almost every ESFA PlayStation Schools’ Cup competition this season, will welcome ESFA coaches and Kammy along for a fantastic end to the week-long celebrations.

Show us your support

Whilst we have some wonderful events planned for the coming week, we love nothing more than seeing what schools are up to to celebrate Schools’ Football Week across England! It’s really simple to tell us what you are up to – just post your pictures and updates across social media and tag in @SchoolsFootball and @PSSchoolsCup with the hashtag #SchoolsFootballWeek

If you want some extra guidance – you can download the schools’ football week guide here!

ESFA National Finals

National Finals aren’t too far away and we’ll be sharing dates and venues across the week so you can plan to join in! Keep your eyes peeled for updates!

Happy Schools’ Football week from all of us at the English Schools’ FA and the PlayStation Schools’ Cup team!

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