ESFA Internationals, featured

England U18 schoolboys storm to victory in their final fixture as a squad!

A warm afternoon in Newcastle saw England Schoolboys play their final fixture of a disrupted campaign as they put on a great show of attacking football to defeat Harrogate Town Youth Academy at Longbenton. 

The visitors were playing their first fixture as an academy side with the League Two club having only recently set up their development programme and the early exchanges were fairly even as both sides looked to find a foothold in a game, scheduled for three periods of 30 minutes. 

The hosts were playing together for the first time in over a year and were missing a number of players from the original squad selected for the Centenary Shield campaign, but those who were available soon hit their stride. 

Taylor Richardson saw a shot saved by the visiting keeper but the resulting corner saw Charlie Dickerson head home for a 1-0 lead, a pinpoint delivery from Reece Wylie seeing the defender with a free header 6 yards out. 

England had a great chance to double their lead from the spot after Wylie was bundled over in the six yard box to end a surging run down the right. However, skipper Carter Lycett’s spot kick didn’t trouble the keeper or the goal frame as it sailed over the bar. 

The lead was doubled by Kenny Bernal shortly after though, a lovely through ball from Richardson allowed the midfielder to skip round Harvey Giles and fire into an empty net. 

Harrogate were by no means out of the game and pulled a goal back with their first ever academy goal from Finn O’Boyle, slotting under Cameron Pike after a swift counter attack that began with an England corner just 20 seconds earlier. 

Boyle saw a fierce shot flash wide of Pike’s far post before Richardson went close to scoring a third for the hosts, shooting just wide when through on goal after a pinpoint pass from the energetic Wylie. 

Moments later though he did find the net, a long range looping volley over the keeper making it 3-1 shortly before Pike was forced into a finger tip save to deny Joe Dixon from long range and prevent Harrogate pulling a goal back. 

Ollie Waddison fired home from the edge of the box to make it 4-1 with a couple of minutes left in the second period, battling to win the ball back after seeing his shot saved by the keeper before tip toeing along the edge of the box and firing into the far corner. 

In true symmetry England bagged another two goals in the final period of the game with Richardson grabbing his second volleyed goal after a lovely through ball from Ethan Warne to make it 5-1 before Ben Reay, Ethan Warne and David Pereira combined to put Waddison through to complete the 6-1 scoreline in their final outing together. 

Credit to both teams for putting on a display full of energy in very warm conditions, England played some excellent football at times and were always dangerous going forward but the visitors from Harrogate certainly had their moments to keep the game close and will rightly take plenty of positives from their first fixture together as a squad. 

The cap presentations signalled the end of a long international campaign for the lads, an unusual one in the current circumstances but parents and schools can certainly take pride in the achievements of this group of young men – we look forward to seeing their progress as they move into the next stages of their careers and wish them all good luck in whichever path they take.

A big thank you to our photographer Garry Griffiths from 353 photography for capturing the game and writing this report. A gallery from the game will be available shortly.


England U15 Schoolgirls 2019/20 – About their season

We have a quick look back at the achievements of the England U15 Schoolgirls’ in the, rather unusual, 2019/20 season ahead of some new video content from some of our players.

The England U15 Schoolgirls’ final squad was announced back in December 2019, following a number of trials across the North, Midlands, South East and South West of England. All trialists were nominated by their local County Schools’ FA and put forward to the ESFA to show off their skills with the hope of being chosen to be a part of the final squad.

Following selection, January saw the girls attend a shirt presentation ceremony hosted by ESFA Council Member and former Chairman, John Martin at Charterhouse School in Surrey, where they went on to play their first friendly match against their ISFA counterparts, in which the ESFA squad drew 2-2. The girls being the first of the two ESFA England squads to model the season’s new kits, sponsored for the first time, by Utilita.

February saw the U15 girls join the U18 boys in a sports tour, courtesy of ESFA’s partners inspiresport, on a trip to PSV Eindhoven. The girls enjoyed several days of activities and tours, including two friendly matches against Dutch teams, one of which they won and the other they drew, culminating in a fantastic experience for the team and allowing them to spend some time together to help develop their team bond. You can watch a short video featuring some of the girls as they talk about their PSV experience here –

The girls visited Ireland in March to take part in the John Read Trophy against their ROI counterparts, which they won 2 – 1. The girls were then due to host Scotland, ROI, Northern Ireland and Wales at Lilleshall NSC in April for the Bob Docherty Tournament, to end their international season, however these fixtures were unfortunately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since COVID-19

During lockdown, the players spent time helping us create content for the ESFA’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Active” campaign and helped to create a chain video featuring their team members –

The girls also helped us create a ‘heart for heroes’ that we were able to share across our social media channels to say ‘thank you’ to the countless key workers that were helping to keep the country going during the pandemic and beyond.

Since then, a handful of the girls were interviewed about being selected for the ESFA’s England squad and about girls’ football as a whole – over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing this new and positive video content across our social channels, to continue to celebrate the girls’ achievements, despite the season’s untimely close.

Keep an eye on the ESFA’s social channels (@SchoolsFootball on instagram and Twitter and for these upcoming posts from this season’s squad.