Want to play football for the Atlanta Falcons or the New Orleans Saints?
Area youth will soon have the chance to suit up in an NFL football jersey and play in the NFL Flag Destin Winter League.
The coed league will play at the Destin Elementary fields and be divided into four divisions: kindergarten to second grade, third and fourth grade, fifth and sixth grade and seventh and eighth grade.
“It’s based on teaching the fundamentals of team work, of character, of getting along and, most of all, just having fun, fun with the game,” said Coach David Wilson, athletic coordinator for Studer55 Community Athletics. “That’s the message from Derrick Brooks, Danny Wuerffel and EG Green ... the whole crew and the NFL as well.”
Studer55 Community Athletics has been doing the NFL Flag Football League in Pensacola for the last three years at the Blue Wahoo Stadium and it has been well received.
“I’ve run out of room,” Wilson said, noting the abundance of teams that play on Saturday evening.
As for the Destin league, all games will be played on Saturdays with games beginning at 9 a.m. and wrapping up at noon.
Games will consist of two 20 minute halves with a running clock on a 25-yard-by-50-yard field.
“We’ll have four games going on at one time,” Wilson said.
Format is five-on-five, with each team consisting of about seven players.
Teams will not travel.
“It will be an all self-enclosed league,” Wilson said.
He hopes to have 32 teams across the four divisions.
Registration for NFL Flag Destin opens Friday online at Studer55Destin.com and will remain open until Nov. 1. There will be no draft or tryouts. Teams will be assigned and league play starts Nov. 17 and finishes up in January with a break for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
Cost is $175, which will includes a 10-week program, an NFL jersey and flags. The NFL will supply the balls.
“Every team will be an NFL team,” Wilson said.
The first weekend, or opening day, league staff will do drills with the players and then turn them over to their teams. Teams will be coached by parent volunteers.
Youth will get in nine games, including a championship round for each division. As for practice, Wilson said they encourage teams to practice one hour prior to their game. If they chose to have an additional practice during the week, all parents need to agree on the date.
“If (the youth) can’t make that practice, it will not affect their playing time. I stress that very strictly with the coaches,” Wilson said.
There will be no admission to games and parking is free.
“It’s just going to be a good family fun day,” Wilson said.