Play FNA Acadiana with Bentley Turner and Drew Brees
Football “N” America (FNA), a national, co-ed youth flag football league, is the new neighborhood sport across Acadiana. Two years ago, UL Graduate and former Athletic Director, Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator of local high schools, Bentley Turner, flew to San Diego, California. His mission? To partner with Saints Quarterback Drew Brees and Chis Stewart to bring FNA to Acadiana.
“A lot of people are gravitating towards the elect sports and we’re losing out on our neighborhood sports, where our kids can play with their friends and neighbors,” said Turner.
How to Enter
The flag football league does not require a draft. Turner encourages everyone between K-8th grade to register on the Football “N” America Facebook page. The sport is 10% female dominated as they do not separate the girls from boys on teams. “They can have an entire team of girls or a mixed coed team but they will still go against other teams no matter how they are designed,” he said.
“We had approximately 120 kids sign up the first season and our second season we got up to 180 (kids). We wanted to expand out to the Youngsville area and then my Acadiana team grew to a little over 1100 kids last season,” Turner said. This expansion has made the Acadiana area one of the largest in the nation of FNA.
Turner’s priority is for the kids to have fun while learning and remaining safe playing flag football. He wants to ensure practicality for parents, allowing it to be as least time-consuming as possible. The teams meet once a week for voluntary practice and one 40-minute game each week, making it doable for kids that play other sports.
“Our first and foremost (goal) is to teach these kids the skills of football. Then what happens is they learn life skills within there. We know families are super busy, people are juggling different kids with different activities, not just in the sports world. And we take that into consideration. They receive a lot of passion and love from our coaches,” he said.
The family-oriented game days are filled with music ranging from Rock n Roll to Baby Shark from start to finish. It’s an entertaining and very family-friendly atmosphere. FNA provides uniforms, championship rings and a signing bonus.
During the season, team members get free smoothies from Smoothie King. When players wear their jersey at Walk On’s Restaurant and Bar, they receive ‘on the house’ kids meals. This season FNA is adding Surge Entertainment Center by Drew Brees to their athletic perks. Team members play for free when wearing their jerseys.
Each year, Turner says, Drew Brees goes out to an FNA function to speak to the kids about life, football, and being apart of something, then allows each kid to take a picture with him and autographs the picture for them. Turner expressed gratitude to his partner Drew Brees, describing him as humble. “Drew is one of the most graciously humble men I’ve ever met and I can’t tell you how great it is to be partnered with Chris and Drew.”
Turner’s FNA Acadiana league has made a good impact on the community and his life. “I have a passion for working with kids and football. So, being out there and being apart of them is why I do this. Every day it keeps me younger, motivated and going. My main and biggest thing is the smiles.”