Grassroots football team to play like ‘Match of the Day’ stars

10 Jan 2020


A Southampton-based amateur football team, which was set up to encourage men to open up about mental illness, has won a new competition which will see them treated like Premier League stars, including full ‘Match of the Day’ treatment. The winners, DC United, were declared in December through a live twitter announcement.

DC United, founded by Billy Coleman after his father took his own life, scored top place in Local Legends, an exciting competition created by the University of Winchester and Hampshire Football Association (FA). The competition was created to offer grassroots footballers the chance to have a match filmed and analysed by top experts and watched by thousands of people – like Match of the Day.

DC United’s match will be filmed by a camera crew from the BA (Hons) Journalism course at the University of Winchester using the latest technology. There will be live commentary from a top professional, slow-motion replays and post-match interviews.

All the footage will be edited down into a slick highlights programme which will be analysed by a panel of well-known football pundits and leading sports broadcaster, Angus Scott. Angus is an international sports television presenter who currently fronts beIN SPORTS, and Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of Winchester. Once edited, the full programme will be published online.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our Journalism students to work on a live project, using their expertise and skills to help promote a local football team,” said Angus Scott, “Our suite of practical courses prepare our students to produce professional, compelling content both in a newsroom and out in the field.”

DC United have chosen to play one of the other Hampshire teams shortlisted in the competition in their upcoming match. They will face Unity 101 FC, for the filmed ‘Match of the Day’ segment. The match will be played on a date to be confirmed in February or March 2020. Unity 101 is a community football team with an emphasis on encouraging people of all ethnicities and faiths to play together. A self-proclaimed team formed by the community, for the community.

The game will raise money for CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, a mental health charity which is leading a movement against suicide. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK and the cause of 18 deaths every day. Both teams have strong ethics embedded at their core, and supporting this cause is a brilliant way to encompass that. DC United will be performing a mental health audit at the start and end of the season to understand the impact having a place to belong has on mental health.

Freddie Molyneux, DC United captain, said: “We decided we were going to come together with Unity 101 FC and do something really positive with Local Legends. The prize is amazing and we’re buzzing to have won – it’s a priceless experience. But even more important is the awareness we can hopefully bring for CALM and also the money we can raise. The message of mental health – looking after it and speaking out – is what we’re all about.”

Based in Hythe and Dibden, DC United was founded by player Billy Coleman after his father Dave Coleman took his own life in February this year. The team aims to provide young men in the area with an opportunity to support each other through football and to open up about mental illness.

When the competition was announced, Hampshire FA CEO, Neil Cassar, said: “We are excited to be working with the University of Winchester on the Local Legends project.  Grassroots football clubs in Hampshire will have an opportunity to experience a world class analysis of their matches and performances and we hope many of our clubs will enter the competition.  Good luck to all.”

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