ESFA Internationals, featured, International Football

Welcome to the ESFA International Programme 22-23


The ESFA is delighted to announce the start of the ESFA International Programme for 2022/23. The ESFA’s international programme is the pinnacle of what schools’ football has to offer, providing an unforgettable experience for the best Schoolgirls and Schoolboys in the country.

The ESFA boasts two international teams, the England U18 Schoolboys and the England U15 Schoolgirls, both of which are selected after undergoing a rigorous trials process, with the best players from around England playing for the honour of representing their country.

The ESFA international programme offers a unique experience to the best Schoolgirls and Schoolboys in the country and has been the pathway to success for so many including Georgia Stanway, Alesia Russo, Sam McCullum and Chris Smalling in more recent times.

Trials Process

The trial process for the England U15 Schoolgirls’ and England U18 Schoolboys’ squads starts with 4 regional Pro:Direct trials (North, Midlands, South East and South West). The players, who have been nominated by their County Schools’ FA to attend the Pro:Direct trials, will be tested through a set of drills and a competitive game against their fellow nominees. From this event, a squad will be selected to represent their region in stage two of the process. Stage two will see the South West play the South East and the North face off against the Midlands for a spot in the final Pro:Direct trial, forming a North and a South squad to attend. The conclusion of the process will see a squad’s worth of players selected to have the honour of wearing three lions on their shirt for the 2022/23 season for both the U15 Girls’ and U18 Boys’ teams.

For more information on the nomination process in your area please contact your local County Schools’ FA.

Please see a list of Pro:Direct trial dates and venues below:

England U15 Schoolgirls:

Sunday 9th October 2022- North Pro:Direct Trial

Sunday 9th October 2022- Midlands Pro:Direct Trial

Sunday 9th October 2022- South East Pro:Direct Trial

Sunday 9th October 2022- South West Pro:Direct Trial

Sunday 13th November 2022- North v Midlands Pro:Direct Trial

Sunday 13th November 2022- South East v South West Pro:Direct Trial

Sunday 11th December 2022- Final Pro:Direct Trial

England U18 Schoolboys: 

Sunday 23rd October 2022- Midlands Pro:Direct Trial 

Sunday 23rd October 2022- North Pro:Direct Trial

Sunday 16th October 2022- South East Pro:Direct Trial

Sunday 6th November 2022- South West Pro:Direct Trial

Sunday 20th November 2022- South East v South West Pro:Direct Trial

Sunday 27th November 2022- North v Midlands Pro:Direct Trial

Sunday 11th December 2022- Final Pro:Direct Trial

The successful squads from each stage of the Pro:Direct Trial process will be announced via ESFA social media channels and here on the website at 6pm on the Monday following each trial. The Final squads will be announced via ESFA social media channels on Monday 12th December 2022 at 6pm. Updates on all international activity will be shared via the ESFA’s social channels (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) – just search @SchoolsFootball to follow the ESFA accounts and stay up to date with all events and activity! 

Kit Launch

Thanks to the ESFA’s official kit providers Pro:Direct, the Association were able to kit out the England Schoolgirls’ and Schoolboys’ in some amazing new Nike kits for 21/22 with Pro:Direct badge on the sleeve, the ESFA’s 3 lions on the chest and the Energy High5 logo from ESFA partners and front of shirt sponsors, Utilita.

Pro:Direct will once again be supplying this year’s squad with a brand kit with the Utilita Energy logo emblazoned on the front of shirt. The new kit will be released via ESFA social channels week commencing 5th December so make sure you keep an eye out for the new kit design!

Kit collection, Opening Fixtures and Training Camps

The squads will then take part in some Preparatory Training Camps courtesy of the ESFA’s official travel partners inspiresport over February half term, preparing them for the forthcoming competitive fixtures at the end of the season. The camps will be hosted at St George’s Park and allow the teams to get to know their teammates and train in a professional environment surrounded by world class facilities.

The training camp at St George’s Park will also see the players presented with their international shirts, a proud moment for both the player and their family. The squads will then go onto play two friendly fixtures as part of their camp, giving them important minutes together as a squad before their competitive fixtures.

Centenary Shield and Bob Docherty Cup

The Centenary Shield and Bob Docherty Cup competitions are the centrepiece of the international season for the two squads, with all the build-up and preparation leading to these competitive tournaments.

The England U18 Schoolboys will compete in the Centenary Shield, first hosted in 1973, against the other home nations, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. The trophy is won by the team with the most points at the end of a round robin format, where each nation plays each other over a 6 week period. The ESFA will be hosting two home fixtures this season, keep an eye out for more details on these matches coming soon.

The Bob Docherty Cup, first contested in 2002, is a 3 day tournament for the U15 Girls, hosted by one of the five home nations each year. This year, the prestigious tournament will take place in Scotland in early April. Full details on how you can support the team competing for the ESFA’s 3rd Bob Docherty title will be released in the coming weeks.

More details of both of these competitions will be announced as the season progresses so, stay up to date with ESFA social media channels (@schoolsfootball) and continue to check out for further information throughout the season.

featured, Sponsors and Partners

The English Schools’ FA and UCFB extend educational partnership into fifth year

The English Schools’ FA (ESFA) is delighted to announce that it has extended their partnership with the University Campus of Football Business (UCFB) into it’s fifth season.

UCFB will continue to be the ESFA Foundation Partner for Higher Education, helping to improve career prospects for students through football. The extended deal means that employability opportunities for UCFB and GIS students at the ESFA and County School FAs will continue, as will research opportunities for students. 

Football matches between the England U18 Schoolboys’ squad and a UCFB team have been some of the highlights of the previous agreements, and students will also continue to create content for the ESFA YouTube channel and support with the broadcasting of our fixtures.

Sharona Friedman, GIS President and UCFB Governor, commented: “This partnership has proven to be a real success in recent years and is hugely popular with our students. The chance to further extend this agreement and offer UCFB students further work experience opportunities, as well as both organisations continuing to share knowledge, was a no brainer and all of us at UCFB are looking forward to another successful year working together.” 

Mark Hignett, Chairman of the ESFA said: “The English Schools FA is delighted to continue this partnership with UCFB. Our joint mission – using football as a platform for personal development, educational attainment and career progression – makes this a particularly exciting joint venture through which we aim to enhance each other’s services for the benefit of our players, students and pupils.” 

For more information on the partnership and how you can get involved with UCFB click here