Football is the major sport in the spring term at St Paul’s School, boasting the highest pupil participation numbers of any sport at the school.
Football has a long history at St Paul’s dating back to when Richard Mulcaster was Highmaster (1596 – 1608). He has been described as “the greatest sixteenth Century advocate of football”. His unique contribution is not only inventing the name “footeball” but also providing the earliest evidence of organised team football and early codification of the rules. He states that football had positive educational value and that it promoted health and strength.
We were the first English school team to tour South Africa post-apartheid and in recent years have toured Spain, Portugal and the USA. Pre-season tours today involve training at and playing against top academies both domestic (St George’s Park) and abroad (FC Barcelona, Gimnastic de Tarragona, IMG Academy).
19 Football Teams represent the school. Four teams in each of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Forms and six senior sides. There is also a non-team provision meaning there is ample opportunity and no numerical limit for pupils to become involved in football at school.
All abilities benefit from expert coaching from a combination of school staff and professional coaches, the goal being that pupils of all levels notice their own improvement over a term. All teams are trained using progressive sessions and principles so the passing style of football we play is pervasive throughout the
At the elite level the provision has been technologically enhanced. 1st XI players benefit from video analysis sessions and we are one of the only schools in the country to use GPS tracking and fitness data on the pitch to enhance coaching. In collaboration with rugby we are promoting Strength and Conditioning to develop good habits and reduce risk of injury.
Teams compete in the Southern Lent Term League and the London Independent Schools Cup alongside other fixtures. Matches take place on Saturdays with occasional midweek fixtures.
Under 14s play matches during the second half of term after a skills-focused induction in January.
The school has produced two pupils who have gone on to earn blues at Oxford and Cambridge respectively.
Jasper Harlington was the first St Paul’s pupil to represent the ISFA U18 England team, in 2014. He has since been joined in this honour by several younger Paulines.
Many of our top players attract the attention of professional and semi-professional clubs. Richard Nartey, who left St Paul’s for Chelsea FC in 2015, has just signed for Burton Albion.
Old Pauline Football
Many players join the Old Pauline Association Football Club after leaving St Paul’s, which is a flourishing club with teams playing matches on Saturdays at the Old Pauline Club in Thames Ditton.