The ESFA PlayStation Schools’ Cup, the biggest grassroots football competition in England, is back for a sixth season.
The partnership with the English Schools’ FA (ESFA) builds on PlayStation’s long-standing support of grassroots football, which is set to give more than 200,000 schoolchildren a chance to compete in high-profile national tournaments for boys and girls.
Since its inception, more than 40 Premier League players, including eleven of England’s recent World Cup squad, have backed the competition.
And with previous stellar names including Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Harry Maguire and John Stones, leading footballers will once again be recruited to help inspire the next generation of football stars.
This season will also see the return of National Schools’ Football Week, where hundreds of schools used the power of football to inspire pupils both on and off the pitch.
As part of the campaign, Fulham FC stars Ryan and Steven Sessegnon made a surprise visit to their former school in Surrey.
The twin brothers won the PlayStation Schools’ Cup with Coombe Boys’ School and have since gone on to football stardom with Fulham FC and England youth teams.
The 24 secondary school tournaments range from the main PlayStation Schools’ Cup through to ‘Small Schools’, ‘B Team’ and ‘Elite Schools’ cups, that are accessible to schools of all sizes and abilities.
Knock-out rounds take place between September 2018 and March 2019 while a professional football stadium will once again host the national finals, as part of a multiple day football festival in May 2019.
Sony Interactive Entertainment UK managing director Warwick Light, said: “Since our partnership with the ESFA started back in 2013, we have continued to increase the number of boys and girls taking part in the PlayStation Schools’ Cup.
“We’re working hard to provide both fun and competitive formats, so kids can enjoy representing their schools in high-profile football tournaments. We are equally proud of the impact our work with leading footballers is having on the stars of the future as we help to keep raising the profile of schools’ football.”
ESFA chairman John Martin added: “This is an exciting announcement for both the ESFA and the thousands of schools participating in these tournaments. We are delighted to continue our relationship with PlayStation, which has had a huge impact on schools’ football over the last five years.
“The first season of PlayStation Schools’ Cup consisted of 15 tournaments, which has been increased to 24 formats of the competition, as we continue to improve the standards of schools’ football across the country.”