Less than a month before the start of NFL training camps, the football stars of tomorrow will showcase their talents Saturday at the Nike 7-on-7 Football Challenge.
The 7-on-7 tournament features 24 high schools from the South Florida area, including two nationally ranked teams from Miami — Booker T. Washington and Central — as well as football powerhouse Northwestern.
The tournament runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Amelia Earhart Park. Games will take place over six fields.
The day before the competition, Tournament of Champions hosted the 20th annual South Florida Student Athlete Academic-Human Development Symposium, which was expected to draw about 200 athletes.
Wesley Frater, founder of Tournament of Champions, expects fierce competition on the field.
“It’s the best high school football players in South Florida,” Frater said. “They take the tournament action very seriously.”
A lot of talent will be present from the 24 schools, with more than 250 players expected to attend the tournament, according to Frater. Many of the schools already have players in the class of 2014 committed to Division I schools.
Central’s Dalvin Cook and Joseph Yearby are early commits to Clemson and Florida State, respectively. Northwestern’s Joseph Robinson is expected to join Yearby as a Seminole after his senior year.
While the 7-on-7 tournament is usually a showcase for younger or less-established players, coaches still take it very seriously.
Central coach Roland Smith said he uses the tournament as a way of seeing “where [his] team is.
“We want to work on our timing,” Smith said. “We want to make sure we have everything down on offense. It’s a chance for our quarterbacks, running backs and receivers to get in sync.”
Smith echoed Frater, saying the tournament is still exciting even though it’s held during the offseason.
“It’s going to be very competitive,” he said. “Any time you have kids on the field playing each other it will be competitive. We want to win but also work on some things.”
The tournament comes on the heels of another similar competition, the Dolphins Academy 7-on-7 at Sun Life Stadium, which was held earlier in June. Central, Booker T., Northwestern, Boyd Anderson and Miramar played as a tuneup for Saturday.
Miramar Everglades recently hired Cypress Bay assistant coach Boomer Bray to coach its boys’ soccer team.
Bray, considered one of the top coaches in South Florida, spent the past six seasons at Cypress Bay working with coach John Ramos and leading the Lightning to three consecutive state championships and an ESPN national title in 2012.
Bray also coached special teams on the Cypress Bay football team, which was the Class 8A state runner-up this past season. During that time, Bray coached Luke, Troy and Jake — his three sons — throughout high school.
Prior to his stint at Cypress Bay, Bray coached three years at Chaminade-Madonna and coached soccer and football for 15 seasons at Miami Springs, his alma mater.
Florida Christian hired alumnus and former standout guard Amanda Jimenez Guilfoyle as its new girls’ basketball coach this week.
Guilfoyle replaces Laz Fernandez, who recently became an assistant coach at Colgate University.
Guilfoyle played two years at Miami Dade College from 2007 to ’09.
This report was supplemented by Miami Herald staff.