Congratulations to the Acadiana Christian Defenders on your National Championship! And thank you for choosing the Broussard Sports Complex as your practice home. We are incredibly proud to have played a part in your team’s success.
The Acadiana Christian Defenders have no field, no weight room and no booster club. They do, however, have a national title.
The Defenders were formed in 2016 to give athletes of the same faith an opportunity to compete together. Players come from 21 cities across Acadiana.
“The homeschooled world is so diverse,” coach and founder Taylor Boutin said. “You have a lot of kids are home schooled for different reasons. We just wanted something that was a ministry on top of athletics and also to handle the diversity and the education challenges.”
They won just two games that first season. In 2020, they won nine games, including the Division Four national title at the National Homeschool Football Association championship. They started with just a core group of families in 2016 and now have 35 players.
“You don’t have to advertise at the high school for athletics,” Bouton said. “People don’t talk about us. It’s a lot of word of mouth.”
They play other independent and homeschooled teams in Louisiana and the sounding states. Acadiana Christian Athletics also sponsors basketball, cheerleading, baseball and softball now.
With no facilities, the team practices at a Broussard Sports complex four days a week. Players don’t have a locker room, so they have to carry their equipment with them. The coaches are not paid, and players pay a fee to participate. They also fundraise and have a few sponsors.
The players don’t see each other in the hallways at schools, so they have to form new bonds at the start of each season. Players are homeschooled for a variety of reasons, including being ahead or behind grade level, so the coaches have to take different approaches with players.
“You are coaching kids that some are struggling to learn, and some that are learning really fast,” Bouton said.
This season, like LHSAA schools, COVID-19 and hurricanes played a major factor. The Defenders played their first game before they were allowed to have contact at practice.
Hurricane Delta, a Category 2 storm that struck Louisiana in October, forced the defenders to play three games in nine days. They missed multiple practices because their field was closed.
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