In the 19th century football became popular in English public schools, and Eton was instrumental in its development. The Football Association was founded in 1863, basing its rules on those developed in the public schools. The FA Cup was first competed for in 1872, and the Old Etonians won it twice, in 1879 and 1882, and were six times runners-up before the professional game developed. They were the last amateur team to win it, and the last public school to reach the final.
Football retains its popularity at Eton. Up to 24 teams from all age groups represent the school on a regular basis throughout the Michaelmas Half. The ‘Association’ (1st XI) compete in the prestigious annual Boodles Independent Schools Football Association (ISFA) Cup and the U15As in the Rensburg Sheppards ISFA Cup. These are both national competitions and Eton regularly reach the last sixteen.
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The senior players attend pre-season tours almost every year and recent venues have included Monaco & Italy, China, Spain, USA & Canada and Japan. Visiting teams from all over the world also come to Eton to play against our teams, and recent visitors have included teams from Australia, Japan, USA, the Channel Islands and Holland.
Many players, coaches and managers from the professional game have also visited Eton, either to speak at society meetings, or to coach on the famous playing fields. Visitors over the years have included John Barnes, Gianfranco Zola, Frank Leboeuf, Ron Atkinson, Vinnie Jones, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Sir Bobby Robson and John Madejski.
Alongside school football teams, large numbers of boys compete in Senior and Junior House League matches, usually twice a week. Towards the end of the Michaelmas Half, the Senior and Junior knockout competitions form the climax of the internal season. Boys not making their House League side can also play competitively in the North American (senior) or Patagonian (junior) Leagues. So there are plenty of opportunities for boys of all ages and abilities to enjoy football, either competitively or just for fun.
This half's fixtures