ESFA National Finals, National Competitions, The World of Schools' Football

Celebrate International Womens Day with the ESFA

In celebration of International Women’s Day, the ESFA announce plans to host a celebration of girls’ football…

The celebration will take place AFC Fylde on Wednesday 27 March featuring 2 x Girls’ U18 National Finals, showcasing some of the best female footballing talents in the country.

Over 100 schools and colleges from across England entered the English Schools’ FA (ESFA) U18 Schools’ & Colleges’ Cup for Girls competitions this season and on Wednesday 27 March 2019, the two remaining National Finalists from each competition will battle it out to become National Champions at AFC Fylde’s beautiful Mill Farm stadium.


The ESFA has seen an increase in entries into girls’ cup competitions in the 2018-19 season, with entries at the highest they have ever been across all schools’ cup age groups.

The English Schools’ FA run girls’ cup competitions across the U11 – U18 age groups to help encourage and assist the development of the girls’ game. The Association also boasts a successful Girls’ U15 England squad, who will be taking part in the SAFIB Bob Docherty home nations tournament, courtesy of our partners, inspiresport.

Once all finalists within the competitions taking place at AFC Fylde are in place, further information and hospitality packages will be released for sale – to help you to celebrate Girls’ Football in style!


‘The atmosphere in the stadium makes all the difference to the players on the pitch and whilst we do all we can to create a fantastic match-day experience for them, we rely on supporters and the public to create a real buzz around the Final. Schools from the local area will be invited to attend, with special discounted rates of entry and AFC Fylde season ticket holders can also claim free entry for the match. We hope to welcome along as many spectators as possible to enjoy the event”

Darren Alcock, ESFA National Competitions Manager

Entry will be charged on arrival at Mill Farm at a rate of £4/adult and free of charge for all students under 18. Hospitality packages for the event will also be made available to purchase and these will be announced via the ESFA Twitter account in due course.


The ESFA are delighted that, for the third season, all National Finals will once again be streamed live online via the ESFA YouTube channel – meaning those supporters who are unable to make the event can still keep up with all the action live and direct to their mobile device.

The showcase of Girls’ U18 Schools’ and Colleges’ cup finals at Mill Farm this month will be supported by female mascots from local schools as well as female match officials, the Association are also hoping to invite along female co-commentators to assist with the live coverage.


ESFA Girls’ U18 Schools’ Cup Final – 12pm KO

ESFA Girls’ U18 Colleges’ Cup Final – 4pm KO

The ESFA would like to thank AFC Fylde for hosting their first National Finals and are looking forward to announcing the four teams that will get the opportunity to play at the fantastic Mill Farm Stadium in 2019.

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.