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Conquest Cup from FIFA to the field: A Charity Football Match in aid of The British Heart Foundation

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

UCFB Football Management and Coaching Student, Joshua Willcox, was on FIFA one night with his mates when the idea for a charity match was hatched.

Wanting to raise money they figured

football was the best route to bring everyone together and within weeks had booked the Gallagher Stadium in Maidstone. The Conquest Cup is a match of Willcox XI (managed by Josh) against Father Willcox XI (managed by Josh’s father), the teams consist of both friends and content creators. With this years event being held on June 3rd at Gallagher Stadium with a 2pm kick off.

Their first Conquest Cup came just after lockdown with the selected charity being MIND and Young Minds, as mental health was a big subject for the players and it suited the time. The result ended in as Josh describes a “battering”, a 13-2 victory to Willcox XI. He put this down to his team being made up of his friends so they had more cohesion compared to his opponent, which was largely content creators who had only met once in this setting. Being a coaching student Josh automatically has the tactical upper hand to his father, and he shared how UCFB has helped him become a more confident coach, gaining experience to have the self confidence helping him in the Conquest Cup.

This year the money raised will be going to The British Heart Foundation, a charity very close to Josh and his families hearts’ after sadly losing his grandad to a heart attack last year, and his other grandad recently having a double bi-pass.

Josh’s aim for next year is to set up his own charity that “puts on football sessions for underprivileged young people and provide equipment for children that can’t afford footballs … and help them progress into a talent programme as they may not have the opportunities compared to those more privileged”.

Following on from last year Josh felt like they were able to successfully build and maintain relationships with the content creators, and there is a group chat they use to stay connected. Emphasising his earlier point of using the event to come together Josh said how on the day “everyone just comes together … and just click straightaway”. He also shared how some creators approached him to play again this year, along with reaching out to others. While he can’t give them all time on the pitch, he tries to invite them down and make sure they still have the best experience without actually playing giving an overall good vibe to the event.

To evolve the event for this year Josh has been able to use last year's as a learning experience to better 2023. A big one was sponsorships with last year being very rushed there was more planning this year allowing the money from the five sponsors to be budgeted and spent on things missing last year such as a second kit. There is also a live stream of the event being held with the help of fellow UCFB students to raise as much money as possible. He also now has a bigger team behind him to help the day run smoothly, including a media team running the Instagram.

When asked who impressed him the most last year Josh initially responded with their previous striker who is now playing semi-professionally, before changing to someone who is playing this year – central defensive midfielder Brad. Full of praise, Josh compared Brad to Declan Rice as he is a player who does his job and doesn’t get enough praise, he was impressed with how he covered for the centre backs when they pushed up and worked well with his midfield partner. Josh also named Brad as his one to watch for this year too.

Looking forwards to this year as current cup holders Josh identified he and his team are under more pressure with his father’s team looking a lot better with some more experienced players included; despite this Josh still feels as though he has the better team although it is more level and obviously hopes his team edges it getting another win.

The events main purpose is to raise money but as a coaching student Josh still wants to install his tactics and play his way, unfortunately he only has the warm up to make this possible. He hopes to play similar to last year but understands he will be under more pressure and players that played last year will want revenge, so needs to be adaptable. Last year Josh had some time before to coach some of the local players, but this year with time and players coming from as far as Hungary, it wasn’t possible.

To raise awareness for Conquest Cup 2023 Josh recently did a stream consisting of FIFA, Pro Clubs and watching Sunderland vs Luton, which was meant to last 12 hours but unfortunately technical difficulties cut it down to 9, which is still an impressive achievement and raised more money!

Josh’s main aims for the day is to raise as much money as possible hopefully supported by the promotion from the content creators, have the day run smoothly, getting more coaching experience and when prompted “to get the win”.

Like previously mentioned this year’s event is being held on June 3rd at Gallagher Stadium with a 2pm kick off, unfortunately there is a train strike making it a little harder to get to, but if you are in or around Maidstone head down to the Gallagher Stadium for an enjoyable day to raise money for a great cause. Tickets can be purchased here Alongside the main football game there will also be other things happening such as a raffle all in aid of The British Heart Foundation. The new addition of a livestream will also be available for people who are unable to attend - Conquest Cup YouTube. Donations can also be made here!

Frustratingly because of the train strike I’m not sure if I can attend the game, but if I do I will be writing an article on the day!


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