Friday 28 December 2018, 15:16

Hashtag United, a unique symbiosis of virtual and real-life football

  • A digital approach of creating a football club

  • Special combination of players on the real and virtual football pitch

  • Hashtag United’s history forms part of the #FIFAisLimitless campaign

Hashtag United was founded by Spencer Owen (SpencerFC) and Sebastian Carmichael-Brown when the pair began filming football matches with their friends and uploading the footage to YouTube about three years ago. In 2018 they began playing in the Eastern Counties League Division One South, ten divisions below the Premier League, and are currently just behind the league leaders.

The eSports department was set up shortly after Hashtag United was founded, when the English club searched for their first FIFA players with a YouTube series called ‘The Spencer FC Game Academy’. After receiving more than 12,000 submissions during the application stage, the club released a total of eight episodes produced with Gfinity to find their first eSports player, and Harry Hesketh has represented Hashtag United ever since.

This successful formula was later applied to real-life football, with series winner Scott Pollock recently going on to sign for Northampton Town and appear in FIFA 19 himself. Hashtag United’s eFootball team consists of five players, one eSports manager and a content and a social media team.

Hashtag United’s eFootball players: Hashtag Harry - England Hashtag Ryan - England Hashtag DreamR - Wales Hashtag Honey Badger – New Zealand Hashtag Shawrey - England

For the current season Hashtag United also decided to gather all of its players together in London to integrate them into the club and its content as effectively as possible. With such a high number of tournaments coming up this season, they are also hoping that training together will give them a boost. Even New Zealander ‘Honey Badger’ relocated to the English capital after successfully completing his studies.

The players also take to the pitch in real life – Harry, Ryan and ‘Honey Badger’ play for Hashtag United in the Sunday League. The eFootball players often go to watch the club’s games, while the real-life footballers return the favour by supporting their eSports counterparts at tournaments. With their own eFootball training area at the brand-new Hashtag United HQ, the players have everything they need to reach the top of their game.

Last season three Hashtag United players competed at the FIFA eWorld Cup™ 2018, making it the most-represented club in the competition. The team are keen to continue this trend and gather silverware at both regional and international tournaments this season, with at least one Hashtag player featuring at every major tournament so far. Hashtag United combine virtual and real-life football like no other club and have a bright future ahead of them on both fronts.

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