19To kick off the 2023 National Arena League football season, the Fayetteville Mustangs began its inaugural season with a 68 — 43 victory over the Orlando Predators.

The newly minted NAL franchise serves under team owner and president Dr. Robert Twaddell. The local business proprietor and medical professional of 26 years is excited to bring the Mustangs to Fayetteville.

In April, Up & Coming Weekly caught up with Dr. Twaddell, Coach Charles Gunnings, players and front office staff during the team’s Meet & Greet to discuss the 2023 season. The Meet & Greet was held at Bubba’s 33, the official restaurant of the Fayetteville Mustangs.

Dr. Twaddell shared his team philosophy and the impact he’d like to achieve in Fayetteville and the surrounding area.

“I’m excited to see and to hear the roar, glee and cheers of young fans and families filling the stadium and supporting their home team,” he said.

“The team’s focus is centered on faith and family. I am excited to bring back competitive arena football to our city,” he added.

The tickets are affordable, starting at $15 each. And the team is looking to partner with potential co-owners and businesses to ensure the Mustangs are here to stay, Twaddell said.

Coach Charles Gunnings, a former NAL player with more than 15 years of experience, has won championships in multiple arena football leagues.
Gunnings shares the president’s philosophy. With the task of preparing the players to perform at the highest level, he talked about his role as coach and his process of building a competitive team. He talked about the single most important rule: player’s trusting one another.

“Our team has players that performed at the collegiate to the national level. We have a lot of alpha males so they all understand the time and commitment required to win games. However, winning at anything demands trust,” he said.

As Coach Gunning continued, he discussed the importance of taking care of the players families. “Our players perform better knowing that our owner, coaching staff, and front office truly care and support the family structure.”

The commitment to the youth and family extends into the community.

“I encourage youths from the ages of 9 to 13 years to join the F ayetteville Mustangs Youth League summer youth program,” Gunnings said. “Each team will play on the same turf, arena, and environment as the Mustangs at the Crown Complex. Each youth player will receive a free game day voucher for every Mustangs home game.”

With the Mustangs off to a winning start, Up & Coming Weekly spoke with Liberty City native and leader of the team. #12 Quarterback, Rakeem Cato, has an impressive passing completion rating of .734% over the past two games.

When asked about the upcoming season, he talked about having a great football camp prior to their game with the Orlando Predators. He believes the Mustangs have the right players to make a solid playoff run and ultimately securing the championship.

The 2023 season is in full swing with the Fayetteville Mustangs scheduled to host the following teams in May. Tickets are currently on sale at www.fayettevillemustangs.com/tickets for all home games.

Fayetteville Mustangs May 2023 Schedule at the Crown Complex
May 7, Home Game 2
Fayetteville Mustangs vs. San Antonio Gunslingers (Faith and Family Night). Doors open at 2 p.m., Kickoff at 3 p.m.
May 19, Home Game 3
Fayetteville Mustangs vs. Carolina Cobras (Education Appreciation Night). Doors open at 6 p.m., Kickoff at 7 p.m.

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