The 20th of February proved to be a day to remember for Bendigo City FC, after the Club’s inaugural UCS Community Cup was capped off with a $10,000 donation from Avondale FC.
It was an incredible display of generosity and community spirit from the Avengers, who won the prize money after winning six out of eight games throughout the football gala.
“It was a total surprise!” said Paul Henderson, Bendigo City FC President.
“We would like to acknowledge and gratefully thank UCS, Winslow Constructors, Avondale President Josie Di Blasi, Stephen Ellich and everyone else who made the day possible.”
The UCS Community Cup was formed to engage the local community through football. The idea to host the event came from Stephen Ellich from UCS Group, who sponsor both Bendigo City FC and Avondale City FC.
“Once we started the planning process and implemented a COVID-safe plan, Preston Lions got on board and we decided to make a real day of it. UCS Group put up $5,000 for the overall winner and that amount was then matched by Winslow Constructors,” Henderson said.
The day started with Avondale FC hosting a kids skills clinic for players of all abilities at the Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve.
Senior Coach Zoran Markovski led the way with Andy Vargas, Jeff Fleming and Jonatan Germano also running the session designed to inspire the next generation of regional footballers.
The action then moved to the main pitch, with Preston Lions and Avondale FC playing a series of fixtures between their Under-19s, Under-20s, Senior Women’s, and Senior Men’s teams.
“It was an amazing showcase of football, Preston and Avondale played four games between them and our teams then played three games against Avondale,” Henderson said.
“Importantly, it was an incredible outcome for our club and the wider Bendigo community. We raised money for a local charity, Bendigo Foodshare with a gold coin donation and a raffle. Our canteen also did about ten times its normal business.”
Following the on-field action, proceedings moved into the club rooms for a meal and a presentation ceremony. With the day already proving such a success, Henderson says he was blown away by what happened next.
“Things were about to wind up. We had a meal for the seniors and did a trophy presentation. Then during their speech Avondale FC announced they would donate the entire $10,000 amount to our Club,” Henderson said.
As Bendigo City FC only runs junior teams, the club is aiming to invest the funds into technology to promote player development, as well as updating its current equipment.
“It’s pretty amazing. We struggle year-to-year to put a team on the park, we are a small junior club,” Henderson said.
“We’re now considering things such as video analysis to improve the player’s development or investing in upgrading our equipment. Things like portable goals, repairing the box nets, other things that we haven’t been able to afford.”