About our Competitions


(this will open a new window)

The ESFA offer National Cup competitions for all primary schools, secondary schools and further education colleges in England, so don’t let your pupils miss out on the fantastic experience of entering English Schools’ FA Cup competitions for 2018-19!

The competitions we run are some of the world’s largest football competitions and over 7,000 secondary school and college football teams competed last season! We firmly believe that the ESFA gives pupils an educational experience of competing against schools outside of local District and County Cup competitions. We are happy to have played a huge part of grass roots football for over 100 years and have helped to develop numerous current pros including Ryan Sessegnon and Kieran Trippier. The draw is structured so that the early round matches are drawn regionally to save on travel costs, however we also offer flexibility for you to choose to play out of county fixtures, wherever possible, right from the start of the season if you wish!

Last season our fantastic 15 PlayStation Schools’ Cup finals, from the Under 12 to Under 15 age group were played at Reading FC, over three consecutive days in May. The event included personal appearances by Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Steph Houghton, James Ward-Prowse and Dwight Gayle and commentary from John Scales and Clive Tyldesley.

The PlayStation Schools’ Cup is a fantastic partnership between PlayStation and the ESFA and provides opportunities for schools and pupils throughout the season to get involved with events and competitions highlighting the importance and the fun of Schools’ Football!

Our four Under 16 Premier League Schools’ Cup Finals were played at Stoke City FC whilst other finals were hosted at Blackburn Rovers FC, Coventry City FC, Doncaster Rovers FC, Notts County FC and St George’s Park. All National Finals were broadcast live online via the ESFA and PlayStation Schools’ Cup YouTube channels, with some matches getting tens of thousands of viewers! 353 Photography were in attendance at all finals, so each moment was captured for our players and schools to keep.

Primary Age Competitions

The ESFA U11 7-a-side Danone Nations Cup competitions are the only primary age national cup competitions run by the ESFA – 

  • U11 Schools’ Cup for Girls
  • U11 School Teams Cup
  • U11 Small Schools’ Cup
  • U11 District Cup

Unlike secondary school competitions, the U11 Danone Nations Cup begins with District rounds, the winners of which will take part in County rounds, which then lead to Regional finals. The pathway culminates with National Finals, which will take place at a Premier League or Championship football stadium in May 2019.

To get your school or district team involved in the Danone Nations Cup competition, simply contact your local District or County Schools’ FA. 

ESFA Schools’ Cup Competitions

This is the main category of boys’ competition that we offer to our member schools.   In individual school/college competitions, a maximum of three players who are registered with Professional Club Academy can participate in a match.

Age groups:

– U12 9-a-side Schools’ Cup (Y7 only)

– U13 Schools’ Cup (Y8 only)

– U14 Schools’ Cup (Y9 only)

– U15 Schools’ Cup (Y10 only)

– U16 Schools’ Cup (Y11 only)

– U18 Schools’ Cup  (Years 11-13 only)**

– U18 Colleges’ Cup (Years 11-13 only)**

– U18 Regional League (Years 11-13 only)

**Players that are part of a school / college sixth form football academy / development programme are not eligible to participate in these competitions and must be entered into the U18 Elite Cup.  ESFA’s definition of a sixth form football development programme is students that undertake a minimum of 6 hours football training at the school / college per week and the programme runs over two terms (Autumn and Winter)

ESFA Elite Schools’ Cup Competitions

This is open to all schools and there is no restriction on the number of Professional Club Academy players that can be fielded in a fixture. Schools can enter both the Schools’ Cup and Elite Schools’ Cup as long as they abide by the rules of the respective competitions.

Age groups:

– U12 Elite Schools’ Cup (Y7 only)

– U13 Elite Schools’ Cup (Y8 only)

– U14 Elite Schools’ Cup (Y9 only)

– U15 Elite Schools’ Cup (Y10 only)

– U16 Elite Schools’ Cup (Year 11 only)

– U18 Elite Cup (Year 11 -13 only)*

*U18 Elite Schools’ & Colleges’ Cup is designed for those sixth forms which offer a football academy / development programme.

ESFA Small Schools’ Cup Competitions

To be eligible to enter the Small Schools’ Cup the school must have fewer than 65 boys on roll in the specified age group.

We offer tournaments at the following age groups:

– U12 Small Schools’ Cup (Y7 only)

– U13 Small Schools’ Cup (Y8 only)

– U14 Small Schools’ Cup (Y9 only)

– U15 Small Schools’ Cup (Y10 only)

– U16 Small Schools’ Cup (Y11 only)

ESFA B Team Cup Competitions

If your school has entered a team into the Schools’ Cup, Elite Schools’ Cup or Small Schools’ Cup, then it is eligible to enter an additional ‘B’ team into the same age group to compete in a separate competition.  Players that play in any of the ‘A’ Team Cups will not be eligible to compete in the ‘B’ Cup.  Players that are registered a Professional Club Academy are not eligible to participate in the B Team Schools’ Cup competitions.

Age groups:

– U12 9-a-side B Team Cup (Y7 only)

– U13 B Team Cup (Y8 only)

– U14 B Team Cup (Y9 only)

– U15 B Team Cup (Y10 only)

– U18 B Team Cup (Years 11-13 only)

ESFA Girls’ Cup Competitions

Girls are eligible to play in any boys’ competition up to the Under 18 age group.  However, the ESFA runs the following competitions to specifically support the development of the girls’ game:

– U12 9-a-side Girls Cup (Y6 & 7 only)

– U13 9-a-side Girls’ Cup (Y7 & 8 only)

– U14 Girls’ Cup (Y8 & 9 only)

– U15 Girls’ Cup (Y9 & 10 only)

– U16 Girls’ Cup (Y10 & 11 only)

– U18 Schools’ Cup (Years 11-13 only)

– U18 Colleges’ Cup (Years 11-13 only)

*The Under 12 Girls’ 9-a-side Schools’ Cup (Year 6 & 7 only) will be run after Christmas.  The entry forms for this competition will be circulated around November.

ESFA U18 Regional Leagues

The ESFA will offer regional leagues to schools and colleges across England.  It is expected that each league will host 8-10 teams, with each team playing each other once within the league.
Schools that currently enter local leagues run by the County Schools’ FA will be expected to fulfil their commitments in the local league.  It is not the ESFA’s intention to compete directly with the County Schools’ FA as this competition is designed for those schools that do not currently have a local league to play in.

Schools wishing to enter leagues organised by external providers, must seek sanction from the ESFA before entering.