London, United Kingdom – 3 October 2023 – The multi-year partnership between the English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) and The Pokémon Company International is now in its second year, giving opportunities to over 5,000 primary school football teams and over 50,000 players across England. Schools across England will be getting ready to rally their teams and get stuck into the competition.
The partnership offers equal access to football for children at primary school, with a pathway for players to build their football skills across mixed teams, girls’ teams and small schools’ teams in the following categories:
- U11 Schools’ Cup
- U11 Girls’ Cup
- U11 Small Schools’ Cup
During the 23/24 season, school teams will be able to showcase their skills in the local district rounds, successful teams then go on to compete in County rounds, then one of four Regional Finals, which take place in the North, Midlands, South East and South West of England. The top 6 teams who qualify in each Regional Final will have the opportunity to travel to the National Finals, which will be held at a prestigious English football club, to battle it out to be crowned National Champions.
“It was amazing to see so many talented teams from across the country take part in last season’s competition, truly demonstrating that teamwork, friendship and respect are equally important factors in a football competition,” said Peter Murphy, Senior Director of Marketing at The Pokémon Company International. “We look forward to continuing to work alongside the ESFA to build on last year’s competition and add in a few special touches that will hopefully help inspire teams along the way. We’re excited to see new teams enter the competition this year and follow their journeys throughout the season.”
ESFA Chair, Marvin Robinson said: “On behalf of the English Schools’ FA, I am delighted to see the growth of the partnership between the ESFA and Pokémon, allowing the Pokémon Primary Schools’ Cup to provide such fantastic opportunities for schools and their pupils across England. Building on the resounding success of our inaugural season together, we eagerly anticipate the evolution of this partnership in the coming months. The Pokémon brand has an unparalleled resonance with children, and it breathes life into the U11 schools’ cup competitions in ways that are truly extraordinary.”
Alex Norman, team coach of last year’s winning U11 Small Schools’ Cup Team, Alma Primary School said, “Having seen the school win the competition last year, the children are so excited to compete again. The chance to play against other schools across the country creates opportunities that some may never have experienced and memories that last forever. Playing at Leicester City’s King Power stadium is something the kids and parents will never forget. It was a fantastic day! Our participation last year was a massive plus for the whole school with everyone feeling a part of the success.”
The Pokémon Company International is on a mission to delight their fans through excellent products and meaningful experiences. They hope to help make the world a better place for everyone by creating opportunities to bond and grow through shared journeys and friendly competition.
To take part, schools can get in touch with their local County Schools’ FA and register to take part in local rounds of the competition.
Competition and event updates will be shared via the ESFA’s website and across social channels throughout the coming months.
The Pokémon Company International, a subsidiary of The Pokémon Company in Japan, manages the property outside of Asia and is responsible for brand management, licensing, marketing, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, the animated TV series, home entertainment and the official Pokémon website. Pokémon was launched in Japan in 1996 and today is one of the most popular children’s entertainment properties in the world. For more information, please visit www.pokemon.co.uk.
About the English Schools’ FA
Since its formation in 1904, the English Schools’ Football Association has become the National Governing Body for Schools’ Football in England and has also run International squads since 1907. The ESFA is proud of its values, based on that of an educational establishment. This allows the ESFA to celebrate players who have chosen to build a secure foundation for themselves with qualifications, wherever their football careers may take them. The Association provides over 1 million footballing opportunities for school pupils in England, each year.
The Association generates footballing activity for around 700,000 children across the country each season, with over 100,000 pupils taking part in National Schools’ Cup competitions. Working with sponsors such as PlayStation, Arnold Clark, Pokémon, Pro:Direct, and Panini, the ESFA consistently works to create new and improved opportunities for schools’ football players in England, whilst working hard to create equal and inclusive access to the sport, in particular its provision of girls’ football.
The ESFA prides itself on its educational ethos and it values the importance of football in the classroom as much as on the pitch with the Association creating plenty of opportunities to celebrate all the wide-reaching benefits of Schools’ Football. For more information about the ESFA and its many campaigns, including Schools’ Football Week, you can visit the ESFA website or follow @schoolsfoootball on Twitter and Instagram