Soccer Aid

The history, the stars and how it helps children

What is Soccer Aid?

Every two years, Soccer Aid brings together two teams of celebrities with actual footballing legends from England and the Rest of the World for the biggest charity celebrity football match in the calendar.

Soccer Aid started back in 2006, as the brainwave of Unicef UK Ambassador Robbie Williams and Jonathan Wilkes. Since then, former stars of the game Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Alan Shearer and Ronaldinho have played alongside music, film and TV stars like One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan, Woody Harrelson, James McAvoy and Game of Thrones‘ Iwan Rheon.

The match is played in the spirit of a cup final – complete with crunching tackles, spectacular strikes and nail-biting penalties – in front of a capacity crowd at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground, with millions more watching the game live on ITV in the UK.

And best of all, the money raised through donations on the night and ticket sales helps support Unicef’s work for children around the world.

Watch: Why do the stars come out for Soccer Aid?

Soccer Aid winners over the years

Although England won the first two Soccer Aid matches they failed to make it a hat trick in 2010, when the Rest of the World team claimed a dramatic victory on penalties.

The home side came back in force with a convincing win in 2012, but were stunned with two late goals in 2014 to hand the Rest of the World back the title.

In Soccer Aid’s tenth anniversary match in 2016, England bounced back with a 3-2 victory to become the reigning Soccer Aid champions.

Robbie Williams on the ball for England during the first Soccer Aid in 2006. England beat a world-class Rest of the World team featuring Maradona, Ruud Gullitt and Gianfranco Zola. Photo: ITV

French World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane shoots from long range during Soccer Aid 2010. The match was decided on penalties, with Hollywood star Woody Harrelson eventually netting the winner. Photo: ITV

Dutch legend Edgar Davids holds off a challenge from England's John Bishop during Soccer Aid 2014. The Rest of the World team won back the trophy that year with a stunning 4-2 victory. Photo: ITV

How has Soccer Aid helped children?

Over the years, Soccer Aid donations have helped our teams around the world provide nutritious food, vaccines and clean water to children and families, as well as protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse.

In Djibouti in East Africa, the money donated to Soccer Aid has helped protect hundreds of thousands of children from deadly diseases like measles with simple but life-saving vaccines.

Watch: Comedian and actor Eddie Izzard explains how Soccer Aid has made a difference for children in Djibouti.

Get the latest

Follow Soccer Aid on Twitter and Instagram for all the breaking news about Soccer Aid match tickets, as well as the celebrity players and football legends taking part.