About our Competitions

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The ESFA’s National Cup competitions programme attracts around 16,000 team entries each season with teams entering year on year as a result of the exceptional provision of competitions offered. The ESFA take a keen interest in ensuring that the competitions offer meets the needs of the schools and colleges which enter and the friendly and professional approach of the National Competitions Department not only keeps teams returning, but encourages new schools and teams to take part in and experience the National Cup programme, season after season. 

National Competitions are at the very heart of what the ESFA has to offer, in creating thousands of opportunities for children to play grassroots football at a national level. Each season culminates with a period of National Finals, in which finalists travel to various prestigious football stadia across England to compete to be crowned National Champions in their respective competitions.

Last season saw National Finals take place at Man City’s Academy Stadium, West Bromwich Albion FC, Stoke City FC, Blackburn Rovers FC, AFC Fylde, Shrewsbury Town FC and Birmingham City FC. The ESFA always strive to ensure that finalists receive the full match day experience that creates memories that will last a lifetime.

Don’t take our word for it…

Here’s some of the feedback we’ve had from recent National Finalists…

“Thanks so much to you and all your team for making such great memories for all our students and parents in attendance. The players are already talking about what they can do to get back to another National final” – Shenfield High School, Essex

“The organisation and venue were excellent so well done to you guys there. Although we didn’t get the result we’d hoped for, we all had a brilliant day including the 200 students who came down to watch and the rest of the school who watched it on your tv channel. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get to another final in the years to come” – Our Lady’s, Manchester

“Once again, the venue was excellent and you looked after us so well. Thank you for the hospitality. We appreciate the hard work, effort and attention to detail that goes into events like this so wanted to ensure it did not go unnoticed” – Hartpury College, Gloucester

2019 Playstation Schools’ Cup Festival

ESFA National Cup Competitions

Elite Schools’ Cups

This particular tournament is our elite level of inter-school competition. It 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. This is a knockout competition based on the cup-tie principle. All matches are played outdoors using age appropriate pitch and goal sizes in accord with FA rules

Age Groups:

Format:

U12 Elite Schools’ Cup (Y7 only)

9v9

U13 Elite School’s Cup (Y8 only)

11v11

U14 Elite Schools’ Cup (Y9 only)

11v11

U15 Elite Schools’ Cup (Y10 only)

11v11

U16 Elite Schools Cup (Y11 only)

11v11

U18 Super League (Y11-13 only)*

11v11

*this competition is designed for those schools, colleges and private providers which offer a football academy / development programme at sixth form level. See below for more information relating to this competition

Schools’ Cups for Boys

This is the main category of boys’ competition that we offer to our member schools and the emphasis in on participation rather than the elite level of the player. Therefore, in this category of competition, a maximum of three players who are registered with a Professional Club Academy can participate in a match. This is a knockout competition based on the cup-tie principle. All matches are played outdoors using age appropriate pitch and goal sizes in accord with FA rules.

Age Groups:

Format:

U12 9-a-side Schools’ Cup (Y7 only)

9v9

U13 Schools’ Cup (Y8 only)

11v11

U14 Schools’ Cup (Y9 only)

11v11

U15 Schools’ Cup (Y10 only)

11v11

U16 Schools’ Cup (Y11 only)

11v11

U18 Schools’ Cup (Y11-13 only)*

11v11

*players that are part of a schools / college sixth form academy / development programme are not eligible to participate in these competitions and must be entered into the U18 Super League. 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)

Schools’ Cups for Girls

This is a knockout competition based on the cup-tie principle. All matches are played outdoors using age-appropriate pitch and goal sizes in accord with FA rules. 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.

Age Groups:

Format:

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

9v9

U13 9-a-side Girls’ Cup (Y7 & 8 only)

9v9

U14 Girls’ Cup (Y8 & 9 only)

11v11

U15 Girls’ Cup (Y9 & 10 only)

11v11

U16 Girls’ Cup (Y10 & 11 only)

11v11

U18 Girls’ Cup (Y11 – 13 – for Schools only)**

11v11

U18 Super League (Y11 – 13 only)

11v11

*the U12 Girls’ 9-a-side Schools’ Cup (year 6 & 7 only) will commence before Christmas. The entry forms for this competition will be circulated around November.

**players that are part of a school / college sixth form football academy / development are not eligible to participate in these competitions and must be entered into the U18 Super League. ESFA’s definition of a sixth form development programmr 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).

Small Schools’ Cups

This category of competition is designed for those schools which find it difficult to compete with some of the larger schools across England. Therefore, we offer this competition to those schools which are considered ‘smaller’. To be eligible to enter the Small Schools’ Cup the school must have fewer than 65 boys on roll in the specified age group. A maximum of three players who are registered with a Professional Club Academy can participate in a match. This is a knockout competition based on the cup-tie principle. All matches are played outdoors using age appropriate pitch and goal sizes in accord with FA rules. We offer tournaments at the following age groups:

Age Groups:

Format:

U12 Small Schools’ Cup (Y7 only)

9v9

U13 Small Schools’ Cup (Y8 only)

11v11

U14 Small Schools’ Cup (Y9 only)

11v11

U15 Small Schools’ Cup (Y10 only)

11v11

U16 Small Schools’ Cup (Y11 only)

11v11

B Team Schools’ Cups

If your school has entered a team in the Schools’ Cup, Elite Schools’ Cup or Small Schools’ Cup competition, 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 with a Professional Club Academy are not eligible to participate in the B Team Schools’ Cup competitions. This is a knockout competition based on the cup-tie principle. All matches are played outdoors using age appropriate pitch and goal sized in accord with FA rules.

Age Groups:

Format:

U12 9-a-side B Team Cup (Y7 only)

9v9

U13 B Team Cup (Y8 only)

11v11

U14 B Team Cup (Y9 only)

11v11

U15 B Team Cup (Y10 only)

11v11

U16 B Team Cup (Y11 only)

11v11

U18 B Team Cup (Y11-13 only)*

11v11

*for a school to be eligible to enter an U18 B Team into this category of competition, the school must have entered and played a game in the U18 Schools’ Cup competition. The U18 Super League does not count as an A Team entry.

NEW COMPETITION

ESFA SUPER LEAGUE BANNER 2

ESFA U18 Super League

This category of competition is a new offering and is designed for those schools, colleges and provate providers which offer a football academy or development programme at sixth form level. If your establishment offers such a programme that allows your students to benefit from regular football training, strength and conditioning and possibly analysis sessions, then this is the competition for you! All matches are played outdoors using age appropriate pitch and goal sizes in accord with FA rules.

Age Groups

U18 Super League (Boys) – Y11, 12 & 13 only

U18 Super League (Girls) – Y11, 12 & 13 only

Format and date structure

Group Phase: This competition is based on the Champions League format. Teams will be drawn in groups of 4 or 5 teams with each team playing each other once before Christmas. In the group phase a win will gain 3 points, a draw will gain 1 point and a defeat will gain 0 points. The winners of the group phase will qualify to compete in the knockout phase which will begin after the Christmas holidays.

Knockout Phase: The winners of each group will progress to the knockout phase. At this point , matches will take place on the cup-tie principle, using extra time and penalties if necessary to determine which team progresses to the next round.

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Free Player Registration: All competing teams will be expected to register all squad players before the season commences. Thereafter, teams will be expected to complete and return a team sheet for each game to allow the ESFA to check on player eligibility if required.

Resources: All entrants will be sent posters and notice board team sheets to allow you to publicise the ESFA Super League alongn with digital assets which you can use on communications and your relevant social media platforms.

Referees: The ESFA will appoint a neutral and qualified referee to all fixtures in the knockout phase of the competition. Match fees will be paid by the home team.

Primary Age Competitions

Danone Nation Cup 2018

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

  • U11 School Teams Cup
  • U11 Schools’ Cup for Girls
  • 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.