As the colder weeks of Michaelmas begin to frost over library desks and lecture hall windows, Cambridge’s football fields will once again be warmed by the excitement of college football. With fixtures running from this weekend (16/10 to 17/10) until late March, just under sixty teams will battle it out for bragging rights across six different men’s divisions. From favourites to underdogs and golden boot winners to best playmakers, Varsity is ready to set out everything you need to know about the upcoming season.


With this year’s competition hoping to proceed unscathed, it’s worth recapping the last two season’s that were unfortunately disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Stretching all the way back to March 2020, backlogged fixtures from February’s downpour meant that a conclusive winner of the Premier League went amiss. Fitzwilliam I led the way three points clear of Churchill I, but games in hand across the board denied a sole victor; not to mention the all-important title decider match between the two sides that never made it to fruition. Consequently, both teams shared the honour for the first time in recorded history.

Meanwhile, the Cuppers final fixture, which was poised to host a Queens’-Fitz affair, was also abandoned, resulting in the finalists each settling for a virtual hand clasped on either arm of the trophy. This gifted Fitzwilliam their thirteenth title at the time, while Queens’ earned their second respectively.

“CUAFL’s new Instagram account, which has already picked up over 100 followers in less than a week, will aim to be a hub for all things college football”

Moving on to last season, the league table essentially remained the way it started, with no college team playing more than two games. The announcement of an online Lent term marked the death knell of college football’s 2020-21 campaign. The bright spark of Cuppers, however, graced Cambridge’s Easter term, as all rounds were completed and fans steadily began to trickle back onto the green - the Fitz army and King’s faithful were notable attendees to say the least.

Fitzwilliam managed to work their way to yet another final that year, while Homerton I found themselves with a chance to win their first ever Cuppers title. In what was an extremely tight matchup, with hundreds of supporters lining the whites of the pitch, Fitz narrowly bested Homerton by a scoreline of 1-2, celebrating their fifth consecutive Cuppers glory.

Cuppers finalists - where are they now?

Fitzwilliam and Homerton both look set to field very strong sides this year. Joint Fitz captain’s Sonny McPherson and Tom Randall will hope to build on the dominance of their most recent run in Cuppers by getting off to a winning start, but this will unfortunately have to wait until next weekend (23/10) as Corpus Christi confirm that they will be unable to field a team for the opening fixture. However, Fitz must deal with the departures of former captain and vocal force Adib Badri and central midfielder Ellis Birch, with the latter once forming a solid partnership with McPherson in the middle of the park. But with the continued talent of players like Lumi Kanwei and Theo Williamson, combined with a constant flow of new prospects dubbed the “Fitz factory”, the reigning title-holders should enjoy a successful season.

“A solid team in college football is by no means determined by a single Blues protagonist, as a successful league campaign is ultimately decided by persistent availability and a cohesive squad”

Meanwhile, Homerton’s team remains largely unchanged following May’s final, as ever-present captain Joe Lockhart leads his side from the full-back position. Homerton will be without forwards Sam Davies and Grayson Allen due to their recent graduations, but welcome talented goalkeeper Liam Matthews back into the fold after a year out of action. Blues player Louie Roberts will aim to continue his bossing of the midfield, while attacker Cyprian Kucaj will be hungry to get himself on the scoring leaderboard, potentially beginning tomorrow (17/10) against Robinson I.

Teams to watch

As we glance across the Cambridge University Association Football League’s (CUAFL) top flight, the odd Blues player crops up here and there, and they can sometimes make all the difference. Fitzwilliam’s Kanwei quickly springs to mind, while this year’s Robinson side boasts three strong players involved in the Cambridge University Association Football Club (CUAFC) setup in George Pugh, Henry Lambert, and Percy Verity.

However, a solid team in college football is by no means determined by a single Blues protagonist, as a successful league campaign is ultimately decided by persistent availability and a cohesive squad. Pembroke is a perfect example of this outcome, reaching the semi-final of last year’s Cuppers with a very well-rounded squad. Despite bitterly losing 3-1 to Fitz, Pembroke only conceded three to a side that stampeded their way through the first two rounds with 18 goals, and this defensive capacity certainly bodes well for the future. They take on Queens’ I in today’s 13:30 kick off, unfortunately without their top scorer from last year Haydn Francis, who will be returning in Lent following a term of study in London.

Churchill I will look to revive their form from the 2019-20 season, which seems such a long time ago now. After being knocked out of Cuppers by Homerton back in mid-May and held to a 2-2 draw against St John’s I this time last year (17/10) in their only league game of the cancelled season, the current title holders will hope to alter their recent lacklustre form with a winning start against Downing I today (16/10).

Words from the Chairman

CUAFL’s Chairman for this season is Sam Ernest, taking on the role for his third consecutive year. Having overseen two campaigns that have failed to make it to completion, Ernest jokingly confessed that his main ambition is to simply have “a season where we finish it”. But on a more serious note, Ernest is keen to spearhead this year of reopening with a vibrant online presence: “A really good focus is the social media element of the league, being able to get that presence and build a network for nearly sixty college teams”. He continued: “This will make it easier for people who don’t play football to really get behind their team”. CUAFL’s new Instagram account, which has already picked up over 100 followers in less than a week, will aim to be a hub for all things college football.


Mountain View

Fitz comeback seals 2020-21 Cuppers title

Following CUAFL’s pre-season meeting, Ernest commended the levels of enthusiasm held by the league’s captains: “The turnout [to the meeting] was insane, as normally you end up with about 30 captains, but this time round we must’ve had about 50 people there”. He added: “I think this shows not only how excited everyone is but also how committed the captains are to getting back involved and making things work this year”.


In addition to crowning league and cup winners this season, CUAFL will debut a golden boot and best playmaker award, making for a far more immersive campaign.

Premier League winner: Fitzwilliam I - it’s hard to look past the talent that the college produces, and it should be enough to carry them to another title

Cuppers winner: Homerton I - with a largely unchanged squad and the experience gained from being last year’s finalists, Lockhart’s side has what it takes to finally lift the silverware this year

Golden boot: Theo Williamson (Fitz), Lumi Kanwei (Fitz), or Callum Farrow (Churchill) - all attackers displayed an appetite for goals in their respective Cuppers fixtures

Best playmaker: Kosi Nwuba (Homerton) - as a focal point in Homerton’s attack, he earned three goal contributions in less than ninety minutes of game time during last year’s Cuppers tournament

Varsity will be covering the progress of CUAFL’s top flight every weekend, documenting the jubilations and heartbreaks of what promises to be a remarkable season.