How are Soccer Aid players eligible for the World XI team?

How are Soccer Aid players eligible for the World XI team?

Ben Foster is playing for the World XI this year

Luke Walker/Getty Images

It’s that time of year again – Soccer Aid is back, and an eclectic selection of former footballers and celebs are ready to go head to head in the name of raising money for charity.

This year, Jill Scott is captaining the England XI as they take on the World XI led by Usain Bolt. Scott becomes the first female captain in the history of the event, which was first launched in 2006.

Last year, England lost to the World XI on penalties at the London Stadium, with around £15 million raised for Unicef.

There are some surprise names involved this time around, with Mauricio Pochettino confirmed as coach of the World XI.

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There’s also a few surprise names on the list of players – especially in the World XI.

How are the Soccer Aid players eligible for the World XI?

The game is played in good spirits for a great cause, and it’s fair to say that the organisers have played a little fast and loose when it comes to picking players for the World XI side.

Normally, the players picked for the side are either former professional players from countries around the world or celebs with ties to countries outside of England.

The most notable exception this year is Ben Foster. The goalkeeper actually played for England between 2007 and 2014, but he’ll be playing for the World XI this time.

Why? Well, there’s no reason – except for the fact that Foster really wanted to get involved and the organisers decided to make room for him in the World XI side. Former England keeper David James was already confirmed for England, so it was decided that Foster would line up as his opposite number.

Speaking about Soccer Aid earlier this year, Foster told LiveScore: “We’re really, really excited for it. I think I’ll find it fairly easy because it’s kind of both of my worlds mixing together in a way.

“Having played football for the best part of 20 years, I’ve jumped into this new sort of YouTube world. I’ve already done a lot of videos where we’re sort of playing with YouTubers. Now we understand that world, it should be fairly easy for me!”

Elsewhere, Lee Mack plays for the World XI due to his Irish heritage, while Mo Gilligan plays as he was born to parents of Jamaican and St. Lucian descent.

Tommy Fury is also in the World XI side. His father is of Irish Traveller descent and his mother is of Mauritian descent.

Also among the side is British-Nigerian entrepreneur and Dragons Den star Steven Bartlett. Reality star and presenter Kem Cetinay, who was born to Cypriot parents, is also returning for another year.

The full list of players involved in Soccer Aid 2023 is below.


  • Jill Scott (c)
  • Paddy McGuinness
  • Jermain Defoe
  • Karen Carney
  • Gary Cahill
  • Jack Wilshere
  • Bugzy Malone
  • Tom Grennan
  • Sir Mo Farah
  • Alex Brooker
  • Gary Neville
  • Paul Scholes
  • Chunkz
  • Joel Corry
  • Eni Aluko
  • David James
  • Scarlette Douglas
  • Nicky Butt
  • Liam Payne
  • Danny Dyer
  • Asa Butterfield
  • Tom Hiddleston


  • Stormzy
  • Emma Hayes
  • Vicky McClure
  • Harry Redknapp
  • David Seaman

Soccer Aid World XI FC

  • Usain Bolt (c)
  • Lee Mack
  • Steven Bartlett
  • Kem Cetinay
  • Mo Gilligan
  • Maisie Adam
  • Tommy Fury
  • Heather O’Reilly
  • Kalyn Kyle
  • Noah Beck
  • Ben Foster
  • Roberto Carlos
  • Nani
  • Francesco Totti
  • Gabriel Batistuta
  • Leon Edwards
  • Sam Claflin
  • Hernan Crespo
  • Patrice Evra
  • Niko


  • Mauricio Pochettino
  • Robbie Keane
  • Martin Compston
  • Mel C
Soccer Aid is set to kick off at 7.30pm BST on Sunday 11 June at Old Trafford in Manchester. Viewers in the United Kingdom will be able to watch the charity match on ITV 1, with coverage beginning at 6.30pm.

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