National Competitions

ESFA National Schools’ Cup draws go live for record-breaking season!

Round 1 and 2 draws for all ESFA National Schools’ Cup competitions are now live on the ESFA website. The 2022/23 Schools’ Football season will be the biggest ever, with over 7,000 school teams entering ESFA National Competitions across the country – that’s over 110,000 pupils taking part!

The biggest ever Schools’ Football season is about to get underway and draws for ESFA PlayStation Schools’ Cup and ESFA National Cup competitions are now live on the ESFA website. Schools can click here to see who they will face in the opening rounds of the U12 – U18 competitions. The ESFA has received a record number of entries for 2022/23 with over 7000 teams taking part, equating to over 110,000 players. This includes 1886 girls teams and 30,000 girls taking part, which is a record number for participation in the girls’ game, for the second consecutive season!

More information on the competitions that the ESFA offer can be found below, alongside details on entry requirements, competition rules and more.

ESFA handbooks and information emails will be distributed to participating schools in the coming days, with full information on competition rules. Deadline dates for planning fixtures in the 2022/23 season can be found here. Competing Team Managers should be sure to add these dates to their diary, ready to begin arranging fixtures with drawn opponents for any point prior to the stated dates.

If you want to get involved in the biggest ever Schools’ Football season – it’s not too late! There are a number of late entry places available in all of the ESFA’s Schools’ Cup competitions. Click here to register your team or email to get involved.

PlayStation F.C. Schools’ Cup

The PlayStation F.C. Schools’ Cup (PSSC) covers ESFA National Competitions from U12 to U15 and provides amazing opportunities for players up and down the country to get involved in both footballing and non footballing activity. Check out the ESFA (@schoolsfootball) and PlayStation F.C. Schools Cup channels (@Psschoolscup) to stay up to date with the amazing opportunities schools can get involved in this season!

Social Media – Stay up to date and share your stories!

Don’t forget to share your opening round draw on social media by tagging your opponents and @schoolsfootball using the #SchoolsFootball and #PSSchoolsCup (for U12 – U15 competitions) hashtags. Keep us involved in your fixtures throughout the schools’ football season by tagging us in your results and let us help celebrate the achievements of your players.

Girls' Football, The World of Schools' Football

Record numbers of schoolgirls are registered and ready to be inspired by the Lionesses

Girls’ football continues to grow in schools across England as the ESFA receive record entries for their 22/23 National Schools’ Cup competitions

Shenfield High Schools' U16 Girls' team in their yellow and black kit, lifting the trophy and celebrating as they win their National Cup title at Stoke City FC

The English Schools’ FA has seen the number of girls’ competition entries across their U12 – U18 age groups grow steadily, since the first ESFA Girls’ National Cup was hosted in 1996. The latest figures of girls’ teams entering competitions for the coming 22/23 season is a record-high and will provide opportunities for over 29,000 girls in National Cup competitions from September. There is a total of 1,872 girls’ teams registered, which is a record number for the second consecutive season for the ESFA. The Association runs National Competitions for girls at every age group from Under 11 (primary) to U18 (sixth form).

The Association’s research on the 21/22 season has shown that 31% of its local Association activity is undertaken by girls’ teams, meaning that approximately 210,000 girls benefitted from schools’ football in the last season alone.

67% of secondary schools taking part in ESFA competitions for 22/23 are running girls’ teams, which shows that a large majority of those secondary schools that are committed to a schools’ football programme, are creating inclusive opportunities for both boys and girls. Of the 3,448 secondary schools in the country, 38% of them (1,312) take part in ESFA National Cup competitions, meaning that over 100,000 pupils are able to develop their game, with their school friends, each season.

The success of the Lionesses, at the most elite level of women’s football, has come at a time where the ESFA is seeing more girls than ever take to the pitch. The European success of the women’s team provides a huge platform from which young female players can be inspired by their triumphant and historic international season. For these pupils entering into the new school year and schools’ football season, they will be able to relate to Hannah Hampton, Georgia Stanway, Chloe Kelly, Beth Mead, Ella Toone and Leah Williamson, who all represented their schools and played in the ESFA’s PlayStation F.C. Schools’ Cup competition. Chloe Kelly and Kiera Walsh both played in the U16 Schools’ Cup competition, sponsored at the time, by the Premier League and furthermore, with mixed football permitted up until the U18 age group, it might be a comfort to know that both Ellen White and Alessia Russo played in their boys’ teams, with Alessia known as her team’s ‘Lethal Weapon’ during schools’ cup fixtures.

ESFA Chair, Stuart Botham said “Whilst we welcome the passionate messages encouraging a continued support of women and girls’ football, following the Women’s EUROs competition, we think it’s important to highlight the fact that the ESFA has been working tirelessly for many years to provide numerous opportunities for girls in England to play schools’ football. The ESFA often gets overlooked when conversations about school sport take place, but as the National Governing Body for Schools’ Football we are providing over 2 million playing opportunities for pupils in this country, across an array of competitive and non-competitive activities. It is fair to say that Schools’ Football is where the majority of English footballers’ careers have started – with this providing a positive introduction to the sport, allowing them to play with their friends and form team bonds that cements their connection and commitment to their school and to the game.”

The ESFA is consistently promoting the importance of Schools’ Football and the benefits it brings for all schools’ players from U11 – U18. The Association continues to develop its opportunities for different age groups and provide fantastic experiences for all schools’ football participants. The 2022 Schools’ Football Week campaign, which took place from the 7th – 13th February, had a focus on girls’ football and in itself, created opportunities for football activity for over 56,000 girls and 142,000 school pupils.

The charitable status of the Association means it relies on partners, sponsors, ambassadors and support to ensure its football provision can continue and, more importantly, grow and improve. This way, the ESFA can help to ensure the legacy created by the England Women’s team in 2022 is continued for years to come.

Photographs courtesy of 353 Photography