What Is Sunday League Football? 20 Things To Know!

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Last Updated: July 6, 2023

Whether you play Sunday league, non-league or just five-a-side, there is nothing like coming together for the highs and the lows. But what is Sunday league football/soccer? How does it work?

You have probably heard about the Sunday league somewhere on social media or TV but don’t know what it is. Well, you are in the right place.

In this article, you are going to learn everything there’s to know about The Sunday league football. This includes answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Let’s get started.

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1. What Is Sunday League Football?

Sunday League Football is the amateur soccer competitions held on Sundays, bringing together players of various skill levels for recreational matches. It’s a grassroots movement emphasizing community participation, camaraderie, and the love of the game, offering a fun and accessible platform for players to enjoy football outside of professional or semi-professional realms.

Sunday league is composed of various competitions all taking place mostly on Sunday. It also takes place in many different countries but under different names.

In Africa, for instance, it’s not known as the Sunday league as it can also take place on Saturdays.

So, wherever you are in the world, there is a term used to describe that amateur competition every weekend.

2. How Does Sunday League Work?

Here’s how Sunday league works: People from the same street, same workplace and same school can decide to play every weekend. They then create football teams, competitions and fix game schedules that are going to take place in a specific place with a trophy for the winner(Not always).

In the UK for instance, the Sunday league looks professional. They do have several competitions like the Treble, FA Sunday cup, Sunday football league premier division title and many other cups.

3. How Do You Start A Sunday League?

You or someone from your neighbourhood, workplace or school can decide to start a Sunday league. It doesn’t necessarily require a huge investment. You can ask people to build their teams, you can decide on the football field, balls and referees and the perfect timetable.

There is no federation to register any competition that takes place in the Sunday league.

You can take your own decisions and set your own rules as the competition founder.

Always be organized whenever you start a Sunday league.

Age doesn’t matter in those amateur competitions. Whether you are young or old, you can take advantage of a Sunday league game.

4. Equipment and Facilities

What is Sunday league football - Youth playing a recreational game

Sunday league matches require basic equipment, including a regulation-sized football, appropriate footwear such as football boots or trainers, and proper attire.

Matches are usually played on local football fields or designated pitches, which may vary in quality depending on the league’s resources and facilities available in the community.

5. How Long Is A Sunday League Football Match?

A Sunday league match can last for as much as both teams, the referee and the founder(in case of a competition) agree. The game can last for 90 minutes or less.

6. How Do You Win A Sunday League Football?

Winning a Sunday league competition or game is not as easy as some think.

I’m going to provide you with a few tips that can improve your Sunday league team and hopefully, win it.

  • Train at least two days a week. Practice makes perfect. So, by training, you ensure your teammates’ fitness. If you do this, your team is always going to be ready and ahead of the others.
  • Try to improve your players’ weaknesses. For instance, if a player isn’t so good at controlling a ball, make sure he fixes this issue.
  • Know your player positions. In this amateur league, players tend to play wherever they want to. But you, as the manager, have to know where to put them on the pitch based on their skills, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Use different tactics during the game. Don’t just put the players on the pitch and ask them to score goals. You need to implement tactics.
  • Analyse your opponent’s weakness. Knowing this will give you an advantage. For instance, if the opposition has a weak left-back, you can decide to play a lot in this area of the pitch.
  • The players must give everything on the pitch. Tell your players to play as if it’s a final. This will always boost them.
  • Last but not least, discipline. To win a Sunday league football, the players must be disciplined.

Even if you lose after implementing all those tips, you’ll have no regret.

7. Do Sunday League Teams Train?

Not all Sunday league teams train but the majority of them do. They usually establish a training program taking place once or twice per week.

During the training, most Sunday league teams do various drills that consist of improving their endurance, passing and shooting ability.

Other teams don’t train. Instead, they prefer to meet during match day and just have fun. This is because some players participating in a Sunday league can be busy with their work and can only be available at weekends.

8. Training Techniques and Coaching Tips

To improve performance, Sunday league teams can adopt training techniques that focus on skill development, fitness, and teamwork.

Regular training sessions, including drills to enhance passing, shooting, and tactical awareness, can contribute to the team’s progress.

Effective coaching techniques, such as providing constructive feedback and setting realistic goals, can also help players reach their full potential.

9. Is Sunday A Competitive League?

Sunday league often involves players from the top division teams and therefore can be a very competitive league. But it can also be less competitive for you if you are a good player in your position as most Sunday league players are not 100% fit.

If you’re a young and very good player, fit and full of skills, you might find the Sunday league easy.

This is because most Sunday league participants are between 25-40 years old. Most of them don’t even run a lot on the pitch. Imagine being 19 and facing a 40-year-old player…

10. How To Join A Sunday League Team?

To join a Sunday league team, follow these steps:

  1. Research local Sunday league teams in your area.
  2. Attend matches or training sessions to observe teams in action.
  3. Engage with players and team members to express your interest in joining.
  4. Exchange contact information with team representatives or players.
  5. Inquire about any specific requirements or procedures for joining the team.
  6. Attend team tryouts or training sessions if necessary.
  7. Showcase your skills, dedication, and enthusiasm during the tryout or training.
  8. Follow any instructions provided by the team regarding registration or paperwork.
  9. Pay any necessary fees, if applicable, to cover league or team expenses.
  10. Attend team meetings and adhere to any team guidelines or expectations.
  11. Embrace the opportunity to contribute to the team’s success and enjoy the camaraderie of Sunday league football.

Remember, joining a Sunday league team is a great way to connect with fellow football enthusiasts and have fun playing the game you love.

There are also a lot of people who don’t have time to play during the day because of work. So, they do it in the evening after work from time to time. The majority of those people already have a Sunday League team.

With that being said, meet those players and talk with them, get their contacts. Chances are they will invite you to play with them and hopefully, join their Sunday League team.

11. Team Registration and Player Eligibility

To participate in Sunday league competitions, teams need to register with the league organizers.

This process typically involves submitting team details, such as team name, contact information, and player rosters.

Player eligibility requirements may vary, but generally, Sunday leagues are open to players of all ages as long as they meet any age restrictions specified by the league.

12. Role of Referees and Officials

Referees and officials play a crucial role in ensuring fair play and enforcing the rules during Sunday league matches.

They are responsible for making decisions on fouls, penalties, and other aspects of the game.

Referees undergo training and certification to officiate matches and maintain the integrity of the competition.

13. Do Sunday League Teams Get Promoted?

In Sunday league football, no teams get promoted or relegated. There is no age limit and there is no level. A team composed of 18 years old players can play against 30-40 years old.

Note that there can be some exceptions. For instance, someone might decide to create a Sunday league tournament that only involves players from 22 and above

14. Do You Have To Pay For Sunday League?

You don’t have to pay to participate in a Sunday league. In fact, the Sunday league is free.

However, there can be some exceptions.

For instance, if an individual creates a Sunday league tournament, he can ask the teams who want to participate to pay a few fees to enter the tournament. Those fees will then be given to the winner of that tournament. This is very frequent in Africa and some European countries

15. Variations and Similar Competitions Worldwide

Sunday league football may have different names and variations in various countries. For example, it may be referred to as “amateur league,” “pub league,” or “recreational league” in different regions.

Similar competitions exist globally, emphasizing amateur participation and recreational play within local communities.

16. Do Sunday League Players Get Paid?

Do you get paid for Sunday League Football? The answer is No. Sunday league players do not get paid. Playing in Sunday league is mainly for fun purposes unless there’s a specific competition and the founder decides to award the winner with some $$$.

17. Can A Sunday League Team Enter The FA Cup?

What is Sunday league football - players having some drinks after a football game.

Sunday league teams are not made to enter the FA Cup. All those teams want is to have fun and have a beer at the end of the game. Yeah, the greatest part about Sunday league games is the beer after a weekend game.

Plus, those amateur players have daily jobs. So, the only moment they can really enjoy is on Sunday.

It can’t even be considered semi-pro.

You also have to keep in mind that Sunday leagues often include players who play at a high level of semi-professional football. They usually come to have fun and make the Sunday league more interesting.

Also read: Is soccer just a game?

18. Challenges and Common Issues in Sunday League

Sunday league teams often face challenges related to scheduling conflicts, player availability, and team management.

Balancing work, family, and other commitments can make it difficult for players to consistently participate.

Team managers may encounter organizational challenges, such as securing venues and dealing with administrative tasks.

Overcoming these obstacles requires effective communication, flexibility, and a commitment to the enjoyment of the game.

19. Sunday League and Youth Development

Sunday league soccer/football offers valuable opportunities for young players to develop their skills and gain experience. It serves as a stepping stone for aspiring players who may later progress to higher levels of competition.

Participating in Sunday league matches allows young players to improve their game understanding, build confidence, and showcase their abilities in a competitive but supportive environment.

20. Social and Community Aspects

Sunday league football/soccer fosters a sense of camaraderie and community spirit among players.

It provides an opportunity for friends, colleagues, and neighbours to come together and enjoy the sport.

Post-match activities, such as gathering at a local pub or socializing with teammates, contribute to the social aspect of Sunday league football and help build strong bonds within the community.

Final Thoughts

Wherever you are in the world, there is a Sunday league waiting for you to enter. Of course, if you are not in the UK, it is called by another name. But the result remains the same, we all want to have fun and get that beer with some friends at the end of the game.

Do you have any other questions about the Sunday league? What is it called in your country? Let us know in the comment section.

6 thoughts on “What Is Sunday League Football? 20 Things To Know!”

  1. Good day, Warren,

    This is very interesting information about The Sunday League Football. I’m hearing this term a lot now but had no idea what it was. I’m not disappointed to have landed here as I’ve learned even more than I wanted. 

    From where I live, there is no specific term to describe the game we play each Sunday. But some call it “Health”.

    And yes, this is done mainly for fun, no players being paid. 

    It’s refreshing and inspiring.

    All the best!

    • Hi, Kokontala.

      Thanks for stopping by. And I’m glad you found some value in this article.

      As I stated, the same “Sunday League” is mainly used in the UK. But in some other countries or continents, they use different names.

      Have a good one.

  2. Hi. Isn’t that funny, I had never heard of Sunday League. Is that a new term or has it always been around? I grew up in the UK but I left way back in 1980. I played soccer as a young child and then switched to rugby when I was around 15. Was there something called Sunday League in the UK back in the 1970s? I know people were playing at weekends. I played for the school rugby team on Wednesdays and Saturdays and I played rugby at university too. I thought teams would mostly just go and kick a ball around and then play each other when it suited them. But clearly, it makes sense to have proper leagues so that the teams who live near each other can play. Best regards, Andy

    • Hi, Andy.

      WOW! You left the UK back in 1980! That’s a long time… According to espncricinfo, the word Sunday league was invented back in 1969.

      So, you hadn’t left the UK yet. But maybe you didn’t know it because that word wasn’t as popular as now, especially, with the technology that has evolved.

      However, according to Wikipedia, the oldest Sunday league was formed in 1925.
      Frankly, no one knows for sure when exactly the Sunday league was invented. But what is certain is that it was before the 90s.

  3. Great article! I just played in my first recreational soccer league last Fall. It also happened to fall on Sunday afternoons, but it wasn’t called a Sunday league. I really enjoyed playing, as I haven’t played since I was a kid, but some of the other folks still took it a bit too seriously haha. I will agree though, the beer after the match always tastes pretty good! Thanks for sharing this!


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