Local man starts semi-pro football team in Picayune

Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 7, 2016

Since he was 7, Alex Hughes, one of Picayune’s newest residents, has played football.
Now, he is eager to share his love of the game with other football players and fans in Pearl River County with the formation of the Picayune Predators, a semi-pro adult football team.
Hughes will spend 2016 building his team the Predators, and he expects to take the field in March 2017.
“We will be playing under the umbrella of the Midsouth Elite Football League, the only one in Mississippi,” Hughes said. “They also have teams in Louisiana. We are looking for players, coaches and front office staff.”
Hughes also needs to secure a venue and is currently speaking with city officials about utilizing the amenities at Friendship Park. He is also seeking sponsorships from local businesses.
During a season, teams will participate in up to 14 games, either played at home or out of town, Hughes said.
“In semi-pro football, players don’t get paid,” he said. “It’s for guys that just love the game and want to play. If they didn’t get a call for a scholarship to college or the pros, then this could serve as a springboard into the Arena Football League, the NFL or the Canadian Football League. We will tape all of our games and, if players want, we send them to teams to see if they’re interested in inviting a player to tryouts.”
Hughes said the Picayune Predators would be organized like an NFL team, which includes the marketing of logo branded merchandise such as cups and apparel.
The team will also be heavily involved with the community, Hughes said.
“We want to help sponsor the local youth football league and become involved with community organizations,” Hughes said.
According to the Predators’ mission statement, team goals include volunteering at area schools, charities and organizations. The team also aims to “provide the Picayune area with a low-cost, family-friendly source of fun and entertainment and to continually model and reinforce a professional atmosphere and attitude to ensure a positive experience for the fans and community.”
Team membership is open to interested people in Pearl River, Hancock, Harrison and Forrest counties and St. Tammany Parish, Hughes said.
The cost per player is $200 and that includes two jerseys, pants and administrative costs. Players will be responsible for providing their own shoulder pads, helmets and cleats, he said.
Hughes also plans to send packets to local businesses regarding sponsorships and partnerships.
“I have a lot of things planned for this team and area,” Hughes said. “I just love everything about the game, the camaraderie, team effort and the fans. It brings everyone together. The teams also get so involved in the community and they love the players. The game has it’s own way of tying things together.”
People interested in joining the Picayune Predators may contact Hughes at 567-207-6537 and at picayunepredators@gmail.com.
For up-to-date information, follow the team on Facebook at Picayune Predators.

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