Sports Scene: MVP basketball clinic, mentoring program in Aventura

 

About this feature

Sports Scene is a Miami Herald feature that spotlights news and notes from all youth sports activities in your neighborhood. The aim of the section is to feature game notes from any sport and the accomplishments of athletes from Miami-Dade County.

We rely on the directors and coaches of each league as well as community members, parents and schools to submit information for Sports Scene. We also accept photos, but we ask that everyone pictured be identified with a first and last name and the name of the team or park they represent.

The section is free and open to anyone. Email sportsscene@MiamiHerald.com..


More information

Miami Herald youth sports online

For more area sports photos, go to www.miamiherald.com/sports/youth/miami-dade.

YouTube youth and more

YouTube youth sports and more at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)

http://www.youtube.com/user/jvarsallone/videos


MVP clinic

About 80 boys and girls, who attend the PEAR Program Camp in Aventura, participated in a basketball clinic at the Aventura Recreation Center.

The clinic was conducted by Mentoring Valuable Proteges Inc., a 501 c organization based in Miami Gardens that conducts mentoring programs for kids in five core areas: athletics, academics, career & development, health & wellness and leadership. The basketball skills clinics are led by its CEO and Founder Jason Gilliam-Alexander.

Jason has been honored by Dwyane Wade Sr.’s Propops Foundation with the Dedication Award and by Legacy Magazine 40 Under 40 Leaders. His non-profit conducts basketball and volleyball skill development programs for kids, age 5-17, in more than 15 municipalities in South Florida. His partnership with PEAR began nine months ago.

The Aventura event kicked off with insight about Mentoring Valuable Protégé’s mission, vision and how their initiatives develop lives. Kids received T-shirts sponsored by City Bikes, and Wasserman & Thomas Attorneys at Law answered questions about bullying, healthy foods, study habits, desirable occupations and the sport they love.

Boys and girls were assigned to baskets, based on age and ability. The MVP and PEAR coaching staffs teamed to offer six skill development stations: dribbling, rebounding, passing, shooting, lay-ups and defense. The coaches rotated baskets clockwise working and teaching participants in 15-minute intervals.

The clinic closed with an exciting game of Knock-out between MVP Inc. and PEAR coaches.

Coconut Grove cheerleading, football

Rick Klein, president of the Rotary Club of Coconut Grove, presented a check for $39,000 to Tony Golden, president of the Miami Youth Sports and Education Association, Inc., in support of the Coconut Grove Titans youth football, cheerleading and tutoring program.

Golden said: “The dedication of the coaches. Many of the boys in the program do not have fathers actively participating in their lives, and the coaches have become surrogate fathers to the boys. They do so much more than just coach a sport. They help the boys with homework, feed them, teach them right from wrong, instill discipline in them, talk to them about having positive goals for their lives. The coaches are the real heros.”

When MYSEA took over the sports program a year ago, there were no programs for girls. MYSEA enlisted the help of well-known cheerleading coach, Nikenna Benjamin, to start a cheerleading, dance and gymnastics program. Nearly 70 girls participated in the program, and one team of 12 (age 13) qualified for the Florida state championships in Orlando, an unprecedented accomplishment for a first-year program.

Last year, more than 200 children participated in the program. This season a substantial increase in children is expected because of fewer programs in the area. Many of the children come from difficult family and financial situations, and the goal has been to keep the cost very low so that no child is turned away. To keep the cost down, additional fundraising is needed.

“The Rotary Club was looking for an organization in the West Grove to focus our fundraising efforts on, and when we met Tony and his volunteers, we knew this was where we wanted to direct our attention,” said Klein.

MYSEA, founded by Golden, an estate planning attorney; Jonathan Walker, a veterinary assistant; and Steven Arch, a wealth manager for Wells Fargo Advisors, is a non-profit organization dedicated to using sports as a means of providing a positive outlet for inner city children.

“Sports is the draw to bring the kids in, but once we have them, we can identify children with educational difficulties or social skills issues and get them the help they need,” Golden said.

To participate in the program, every child must turn in their report card from school which is reviewed by a scholastic coordinator, who identifies children in need of tutoring.

Miami city commissioners Mark Sarnoff and Francis Suarez attended the check presentation at Armbrister Park. Commissioner Sarnoff has been instrumental in raising funds for upgrades to the facilities at the park.

In one year, MYSEA has become the largest provider of children’s services in the West Grove. MYSEA is trying to raise an additional $50,000 this year to expand its programs and make improvements to the facilities. To help, contact Tony Golden tgolden@thegoldenfirm.com (305-461-1882) or Jonathan Walker johnnywalker19752011@gmail.com (305-502-4746).

Football clinic

DIBIA Athletic Development announces the first Desmond Howard Football Clinic designed to cultivate the next generation of athletes.

The former Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl XXXI MVP has joined forces with Brandon Okpalobi, CEO of DIBIA Athletic Development, to host an inclusive football camp for South Florida youth age 6-14 on July 20 at Ransom Everglades School, 3575 Main Highway, Coconut Grove.

The intensive seminar is 9 a.m. to noon. It will provide attendees the opportunity to develop superior skills and agility through a series of conditioning drills, strength training activities and scrimmage games under the observation and guidance of Howard and area coaches and professional athletes including former Detroit Lions running back Sedrick Irvin, 2009 Class 6A State Champion Miramar High School Coach Herbert Hammond, Miami Killian Coach Cory Johnson and MILK Personal Training CEO and NFL athlete trainer Bo Smith.

Call 786-543-8826. Email info@dibiaathletic.com.

Basketball

Verdeja & De Armas CPAs went 17-2 to win the Coral Gables Youth Center Corporate League Basketball Championship.

In the championship game against rival Gables Linen, Tab Verdeja made a game tying, buzzer-beater to force a fourth overtime where Verdeja & De Armas won 56-51.

Tommy Trujillo, the team’s leading scorer, led the accounting firm throughout the playoffs and received solid support from teammates.

The champs also feature Rudy Villanueva, Javier Verdeja, Alex Trujillo, Branden Lopez, Andrew Jacobs, Benhur Reina, Ariel Rodriguez, Pedro de Armas and Gustavo Navarro.

Triathlon

Marianne Curtis, 27, of Miami was runner-up in women’s overall during the Independence Day Triathlon at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek.

She covered a 0.25-mile swim, 10-mile bike, and 3-mile run in 55 minutes 17 seconds. Sandra Forero, 35, of Sunny Isles was third in 55:27, and Miami Beach’s Silver Deutch, 28, was fourth in 1:02:03.

Other local finishers: Clydesdale 200 40+: 3. Jorge Nunez, Miami, 1:17:49; 5. Peter Pruitt, Coral Gables, 1:25:29. Clydesdale 225 0-39: 1. Jose Perez, Hialeah, 1:27:34. Female: 25-29: 1. Jacqueline Parello, Sunny Isles Beach, 1:08:59; 5. Allison Noffsinger, Miami, 1:28:46. 30-34: 4. Erin Keilman, Coral Gables, 1:10:47. 35-39: 4. Dianet Torres, Miami, 1:11:16. 45-49: 2. Aileen Bogert, Pinecrest, 1:08:26. Male: Overall: 4. Gabriel Benitez, Miami, 51:04; 5. Carlos Dolabella, Key Biscayne, 51:22. 15-19: 2. Serafin Dominguez Cid, Miami, 1:05:05. 25-29: 1. Miguel Llodra, Coral Gables, 52:29. 30-34: 4. Abraham Cohen, Doral, 56:12; Juan Cuellar, Miami, 56:21. 35-39: 2. Mike Butler, Sunny Isles, 51:48; 3. Carlos Aya, Sunny Isles Beach, 52:04. 50-54: 3. Alexis Dominguez, Miami, 1:05:25. 55-59: 4. Rafael Cohen, Miami, 1:05:28. 70-74: 1. Carlos Abreu, Miami Beach, 1:23:23.

Visit www.multirace.com.

Duathlon

Amir Merali, 20, of Miami was first in the male 20-24 age group during the Independence Day Duathlon at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek.

He completed a 0.75-mile run, 10-mile bike and 3-mile run in 55.03 seconds. Hialeah’s Sebastian Ramirez, 21, was second in 1:15:20.

Other local finishers: Male: Overall: 4. Andres Ramirez, Hialeah, 1:19:27. 35-39: 1. Robert Martell, Homestead, 56:45. 40-44: 1. Joel Lezcano, Miami, 54:57. 45-49: 4. Luis Rodriguez, Hialeah, 1:08:44. 60-64: 3. Christian Poirier, North Miami, 1:02:55. Female: 45-49: 4. Catherine Buller, Miami, 1:18:34.

Visit www.multirace.com.

Miami Country Day sports

Miami Country Day School had another banner year in athletics.

In the fall sports season, the girls’ varsity volleyball team won its eighth district championship in nine years. The boys’ varsity cross-country team qualified for states for a fourth consecutive year and captured its first district title since 1997. The girls’ cross-country team was runner-up in districts and qualified for regionals for a fourth consecutive season.

The boys’ golf team qualified for regionals for an 11th year in a row. Qualifying for regionals in swimming were Amelia Gregorio in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle, Emma Rodriguez in the 100 breaststroke, as well as the girls’ 200 medley relay team (Jaclyn Lash, Amelia Gregorio, Emma Rodriguez, Eva Sher). The boys’ medley relay team (Giovanni Cragnotti, Grant Kushner, Isaac Kassab, Victor Cohen) also qualified for regionals.

In the winter sports season, the girls’ varsity soccer team won its first district championship in 21 years. The girls’ varsity basketball team won the district title for a third consecutive season and captured the regional championship. The team went onto Lakeland for states where it finished as Class 3A runner-up. The boys’ varsity soccer and basketball teams qualified for regionals with district runner-up finishes.

The spring sports season produced a 16th consecutive district championship in varsity boys’ tennis with the team being represented at states by juniors Shaun Berman and Alec Koss for a third consecutive year. Shaun finished as the state individual champion in No.1 singles, and Alec and Shaun made it to the semifinals in individual No.1 doubles. The girls’ varsity tennis team captured its first district championship since 2008 with Calypso Peraticos winning the district No.1 singles championship, qualifying for states. Calypso and Megan Tate won the district doubles championship and also qualified for states.

The girls’ varsity water polo team captured its fifth consecutive district championship, and the boys’ varsity water polo team won its third district championship in six years. The varsity softball team qualified for regional play with a district runner-up finish.

Miami Country Day School won eight district championships, one regional title and four district runners-up. The Spartans celebrated 13 teams qualifying for post-season play.

Swimming

The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade County and the Swim for Jenny Memorial Fund invite swimmers of all ages, abilities and skill levels to participate in iSwim for Jenny, a week-long fundraising event Aug. 10-16 at participating Miami-Dade County Parks and community pools.

Set a goal to swim a certain number of laps and solicit pledges from friends and family. Participants can be individuals or teams. Monies raised benefit the Swim for Jenny Memorial Fund to provide scholarships for beginner learn-to-swim lessons for underserved children and water safety education.

Swimming must be done at a neighborhood community pool with lifeguard and/or one of the Miami-Dade County Parks aquatic facilities/donation collection sites listed below:

AD Barnes Pool

3401 SW 72 Ave.

305-665-1626

Palm Springs North Pool

901 NW 176 St.

305-558-3762

South Dade Pool (Helen Sands)

16350 SW 280 St.

305-248-1386

Tamiami Pool

11201 SW 24 St.

786-315-5295

To register a swim team at a different pool than those listed above, or to register a community pool as an official site for the iSwim for Jenny, contact Jim O’Connor at A.D. Barnes Pool at 305-665-1626. All donations must be turned-in from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 16 at one of the four approved Miami-Dade County Parks’ aquatic facilities/donation collection sites listed above.

Visit www.swimforjenny.org.

Soccer

Florida Soccer Expo organizers will bring an estimated 8,000 fans to Sun Life Stadium on Sept. 14-15 in Miami Gardens. This celebration of “the beautiful game” will host the soccer community including soccer clubs, associations, tournament organizers, coaches, trainers, referees, soccer families and players from throughout the world.

The event features hosting a trade show, an indoor soccer tournament and interactive areas where the soccer public can participate in numerous soccer-related activities, organized by Florida Soccer Expo partners, sponsors and other exhibitors. This highly anticipated show will include coaching clinics, referee and nutritional and health seminars.

Several key soccer associations have been invited and are joining the efforts as Institutional Partners and will contribute with the promotion and success of this event, these include:

CONCACAF, American Youth Soccer Organization, Women Premier Soccer League, Miami Dade Soccer League, Miami-Dade Sports Commission, Florida State Referees, Florida State Soccer Association, SunLife Stadium and Miami Dolphins.

The expo includes six indoor soccer fields. For those interested in soccer shopping, the event features more than 80 exhibitor booths available at the event, including a wide variety of soccer and sports-related products, gear and equipment, food and drinks sampling, and other consumer goods and services. Exhibitors interested can contact the organization via email at exhibitors@floridasoccerexpo.com or send a message at www.floridasoccerexpo.com.

For information: info@floridasoccerexpo.com, www.floridasoccerexpo.com or call 305-280-2088.

Miami Herald youth sports online

For more area sports photos, go to www.miamiherald.com/sports/youth/miami-dade.

YouTube youth sports and more

YouTube youth sports and more at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)

http://www.youtube.com/user/jvarsallone/videos

More events, leagues, programs

Running

The Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep cross-country team invites the community to join them at the Summer Fun Runs.

The free runs are 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 1. The group meets at the Miami Shores Recreation Center, 9617 Park Dr.

The school and community tradition grown from a small following of about seven runners per week to a record-breaking turnout of 354 runners in 15 gatherings. Athletic experience ranges from a 25 time participating marathoner to a tri-athlete to someone who had never run recreationally. Age range has been 11-60, but all ages are welcome.

Coach Br. John Corcoran designs three courses of gradually increasing mileage: one for beginner runners or walkers, another for recreational runners and joggers and also for advanced or competitive runners.

For information call the school at 305-751-8367, email Br. J. Corcoran at jcorcoran@acnd.net or visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/207555209393534/.

Lacrosse

Jordan Karp, a 16-year-old senior at Miami Country Day School, is leading a unique program to introduce lacrosse to under-privileged, at-risk inner city youths being tutored on the campus of the school. The program began June 17 in collaboration with Breakthrough Miami, a nonprofit organization that provides disadvantaged students with the tools they need to reach their goals.

Jordan provides his lacrosse expertise to the students of Breakthrough Miami: how the sport is played, its rules and the team-building skills that will help the children not just in sport but life. Jordan secured revolutionary lacrosse equipment from major manufacturers who donated beginner equipment. He hopes that it will inspire similar programs for other sports to include underprivileged children throughout the nation as well as promote the expansion of lacrosse and encourage kids to play the game.

Breakthrough Miami is a tuition-free academic enrichment program that provides motivated middle-school students from underserved communities with the tools they need to achieve their most ambitious goals in life. It was recognized for its excellence by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with a grant of $3.25 million to expand and serve more students and families in need. Breakthrough Miami serves more than 1,000 students from across Miami-Dade County at five independent schools and one public charter school. It become an eight-year program, guiding students from the 5th grade through high school graduation.

Lacrosse will continue through July 26.

Jordan’s introduction to lacrosse began when he first picked up a stick in the 6th grade, and it has become his life’s passion, followed closely by academics. This season as a junior attackman, he was honored as the leading scorer on the Miami Country Day varsity lacrosse team. He will return to school as a Captain of the team next year.

Jordan was named by The Miami Herald as an All-Dade lacrosse player. Riding this momentum, Jordan was recently selected and is playing for Team Miami and the Elite Team Florida, which represents the state in two national tournaments: one held in Princeton, N.J. and the most prestigious tournament, Hotbeds at the University of Delaware. Florida Lacrosse News recently mentioned Jordan “as someone to keep an eye on” from his performance at the Team Florida All-Star competition.

Tennis challenge

USTA Florida is launching a new series of recreational team tennis events, under the mantra “Bring Your Own Team.” Dubbed Team Tennis Challenges, these two- and three-day tournaments are a more fun, open recreational format for teams to play.

Teams from anywhere in Florida can register for the inaugural State Team Tennis Challenge July 26-28 at the Florida Tennis Center. Four regional Team Tennis Challenges will follow in the fall across the state. USTA members and non-members can participate, with USTA members receiving a $10 discount on registration.

“We have seen consistent demand across Florida for more open, recreational formats of play,” said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. “The new USTA Florida Team Tennis Challenges offer fewer restrictions, allowing more teams to participate. They also give players who are not yet USTA members the opportunity to experience our events and programs, while offering a clear value proposition for our junior members.”

To participate in the State Team Tennis Challenge, teams must have a minimum of two boys and two girls and no more than eight players per team. Age divisions include 12U, 14U, 16U, and 18U, and there are three skill divisions: novice, intermediate and advanced, with short-set scoring utilized.

Participation is limited, and USTA Florida strongly encourages coaches to register teams early to ensure their place in this landmark event.

More info, including a link to register, is online at www.USTAFlorida.com/teamtennischallenges. You can also connect with USTA Florida via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #BYOTeamTennis.

JCC Maccabi Games

The Levis JCC in Boca Raton proudly hosts the JCC Maccabi Games Aug. 10-15. The Olympic-style event welcomes thousands of Jewish teen athletes who will compete in team and individual sports and participate in social and community service activities.

The JCC Maccabi Games, managed by JCC Association, began as a 1982 pilot project in Memphis with 300 Jewish youth and has ballooned to an annual summer event which attracts thousands of teens from North America and abroad to multiple sites in the United States and Canada.

“We are thrilled to again welcome the Levis JCC to the long list of host communities,” said Dan Deutsch, director of JCC Maccabi Experience. “Hosting the Games is an incredible community building project. The impact of hosting can be felt for years.”

Locally chaired by Levis JCC Board of Directors members Bonnie Schweiger and Matt Baker, the Levis JCC will welcome Jewish teens from the United States, Israel and several other countries. Athletes will compete in a variety of team and individual sports including girls’ and boys’ soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis, golf and swimming at venues throughout Boca Raton.

“Having hosted the Games in 2000, we are very excited about being given the opportunity to host the JCC Maccabi Games in our community for a second time. We anticipate another extremely successful JCC Maccabi Games,” said Randy Colman, Executive Director of the Levis JCC. “Involvement begins now. We are actively recruiting host families, athletes, volunteers, sponsors and coaches to participate in our Games. This is an incredible experience for all who are involved and for the Levis JCC to engage our entire community.”

In every team and individual contest, Games participants are encouraged to follow the “Rachmanus Rule,” a credo that dictates fair play, based on the Jewish values of mercy and compassion. Teamwork, sportsmanship, and respect for opponents are prized over winning at any cost.

Supplementing the team and individual sports competitions, there are fun and engaging social programs that promote friendships and JCC Cares projects that instill the Jewish values of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedakah (social justice). That creates an informal educational instruction that foster a personal connection to the State of Israel. Over the years, participants have spoken of making new friends and memories to last a lifetime, motivating many to return to the Games annually, even volunteering as delegation heads and coaches when they are no longer participating as athletes.

Since they were established in 1982, the Games have offered a life-changing experience, not just to the athletes themselves, but also to their parents and coaches and the legions of volunteers in host communities who work hard for more than a year to plan a busy week of events on and off the field. There are numerous opportunities for people to become involved, from greeting athletes as they arrive, to hosting teens, to raising funds.

To encourage a stronger connection to Israel, the Opening Ceremonies will include a moving tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes killed by terrorists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany.

The JCC Maccabi Games are a joint project of JCC Association, Maccabi Canada, Maccabi World Union, and Maccabi USA.

Those interested in being part of the JCC Maccabi Games in any capacity should contact Nancy Carroll, JCC Maccabi Games Director, nancyc@levisjcc.org or call 561-852-3117.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. For information, contact Cindy Bergman cindyb@levisjcc.org or call 561-852-3253.

Heisman high school nominations

Now through Oct. 23, high school class of 2014 seniors can apply for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award, a program honoring outstanding high school scholar-athletes for their commitment to academic achievement, community service involvement and athletic prowess.

To apply, students can go to www.WendysHeisman.com for a chance to win the Award and the prestige of joining an ever-growing family of distinguished past winners. The first 25,000 students with completed applications will receive a Wendy’s gift card valued at $10.

Created by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas in 1994, the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award has impacted the lives of thousands of scholar athletes who have been a part of the program for the past 20 years. Since its inception, Wendy’s High School Heisman has received more than 400,000 applications and honored more than 228 National Finalists and 38 National Winners.

A partner award with college football’s acclaimed Heisman Memorial Trophy, the Heisman caché touches students at every level of the program. In addition to recognition at school and state levels, six female and six male national finalists receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City to attend the Wendy’s High School Heisman Awards Ceremony and college Heisman Memorial Trophy Award weekend festivities in December 2013. The one male and one female Wendy’s High School Heisman Award winners will also earn $10,000 for their high school and a $500 Wendy’s gift card.

The Wendy’s High School Heisman Award is a joint program between Wendy’s and the Heisman Memorial Trust, host of the College Heisman Memorial Trophy. The 2012 winners were Samuel Prakel of Versailles, Ohio, who plans to study chemical engineering or biology this fall, and Zoe Alaniz of Corpus Christi, Texas, who plans to swim at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall and to follow a pre-med track.

A complete list of past WHSH finalists and winners can be found at www.wendysheisman.com.

Moments of Month

Liberty Mutual Insurance announced the annual search for the most responsible youth sports moments of the year, in partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance.

Now in its third year, the “Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments” of 2013 seeks to identify and applaud acts of sportsmanship, selflessness, integrity, fairness and honesty from youth sports fields, rinks, courts, mats and pools around the country.

This year, with the help of U.S. Olympic skiing legend and youth sports parent Picabo Street, Liberty Mutual Insurance will name the “Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments” at the close of 2013.

Aligning with the brand’s ongoing commitment to responsibility, Liberty Mutual Insurance recently announced its partnership with the United States Olympic Committee and Team USA as the Official Property and Casualty and Life Insurance Partner of the 2014 and 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams that will compete in Sochi, Russia, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Street, best known for her gold medal performance in the super-G at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, and silver medal downhill performance in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway, joins Liberty Mutual’s commitment to youth sports as a mother and avid supporter of sportsmanship at all levels.

“As an athlete and now a mother of four young sons, I know first-hand the influence youth sports have in enriching a child with the values of sportsmanship and responsibility,” Street said. “To see U.S. Olympic Team partners like Liberty Mutual Insurance celebrate responsibility on the youth sports level is something I am proud to be a part of, and I urge fans across the country to share their examples of selflessness with us as nominees for 2013’s ‘Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments.’”

Now through Nov. 30, coaches and parents can submit a moment that celebrates the inherent goodness in youth sports at www.ResponsibleSports.com or by tweeting a nomination using #RSMoments. In addition, throughout 2013, Liberty Mutual Insurance and PCA will scour local headlines across the country and identify additional moments that exemplify sportsmanship within local communities.

Each month, three nominees will be highlighted on the Responsible Sports site where fans can tweet their vote for the most responsible “Moment of the Month.”

Winning moments will be announced at the close of 2013 and be honored by Liberty Mutual Insurance with a charitable donation of $1,000 to the 10 organizations that are responsible for each Responsible Sports moment. The Top “Moment of the Year” winner, as voted on by fans on Twitter, will also earn an extra $1,000 honorarium for its organization.

For information, visit www.ResponsibleSports.com or join the conversation @RespSports.

Heads Up

Former tight end Troy Drayton played nine seasons in the NFL, including 1996-99 with the Miami Dolphins, and he is now the Dolphins’ youth program coordinator.

Drayton is adding a new title to his listing – NFL Ambassador for Heads Up Football.

The NFL and USA Football jointly announced the national launch of Heads Up Football, a youth football program aimed at making the game of football better and safer for all who play it. The program is being supported with a $1.5 million grant from the NFL Foundation.

Three million kids already play tackle football and the game can be even safer. Heads Up Football includes a tackling model that removes the head from the game.

Heads Up Football has five core elements: 1) The use of the Heads Up Tackling model, 2) coaching certification, 3) Player Safety Coaches, 4) concussion education, and 5) proper equipment fitting.

The program was launched in three pilot markets last year. This year, it will expand to more than 600 youth leagues throughout 50 states. Of these leagues, 100 will be assigned a former NFL player mentor. Drayton will serve as a mentor to a local Heads Up League – the Tamiami Colts of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.

Swimming

The USA Swimming Foundation granted more than $250,000 to help local Make a Splash partners in 19 states provide children with life-saving, learn-to-swim instruction for free or at a reduced cost.

More than 130 applications were received, and 41 local programs were selected as recipients of 2013 Make a Splash grants. Among the 41 recipients nationwide was Hialeah.

Make a Splash is the national child-focused, water-safety initiative of the USA Swimming Foundation. Make a Splash partners with more than 600 learn-to-swim providers in all 50 states in an effort to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim.

“This funding allows our local partners to provide swimming lessons to children who otherwise may never have the opportunity to learn the life-skills of swimming,” said Debbie Hesse, Executive Director of the USA Swimming Foundation. “The USA Swimming Foundation is excited to see continued growth, as we now have programs in all 50 states and have reached nearly 2 million children since 2007. We are incredibly grateful to our donors and corporate sponsors who are dedicated to making sure all children in American learn to swim.”

The USA Swimming Foundation grants money to partner organizations on an annual basis, and, to date, has disbursed more than $2.8 million. Grants are made possible by the support of donors, foundations and corporate partners.

Since June of 2007, more than 1.8 million children have taken lessons though local Make a Splash partners. Grant recipients like Hialeah provide a portion of its lessons for free or at a reduced cost, or provide free water safety education in their communities.

• About USA Swimming Foundation

The USA Swimming Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming. Established in 2004, the Foundation works to strengthen the sport by saving lives and building champions – in the pool and in life. Whether we’re equipping our children with the life-saving skill of learn-to-swim, or providing financial support to our heroes on the U.S. National Team, the USA Swimming Foundation aims to provide the wonderful experience of swimming to kids at all levels across the country.

The Foundation also serves as the home for our National and Olympic Team Alumni reunions and regional events. The development efforts of the USA Swimming Foundation aim to establish an endowment to strengthen the future of USA Swimming’s programs and services. To learn more, visit www.usaswimmingfoundation.org.

Big Shot Volleyball Series

The Reflekt Polarized Big Shot Volleyball Series, presented by Rider Sandals, started the 2013 season at sites throughout Florida.

Top male and female doubles teams will compete for over $75,000 cash prizes during the 2013 season. Tournament play will start at 9 a.m. with women’s finals scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturdays and men’s finals Noon Sundays. Admission is free for spectators.

Separate divisions for players of intermediate and novice levels on Saturdays and Sundays. The $60 entry fee entitles players to a day of tournament play, an official Reflekt Polarized Big Shot Volleyball T-shirt and a chance to win merchandise prizes from tournament sponsors Spalding, Rider Sandals, 4C Totally Light 2Go Energy Drinks, Rox Volleyball, 1st Place Volleyball, SOB Volleyball Vacations, Sixpak Volleygear, Zem Booties, Dig Magazine, Bally’s Casino and Park and Sun Sports.

The Big Shot Volleyball Series holds 35 events leading to the $8,000 Big Shot Championships at Bally’s Casino Sept. 7-8 in Atlantic City and the $5,000 Volley America National Championships in October in Clearwater Beach. Visit www.eevb.net.

Rebelle volleyball

Rebelle Athletics Club offers girls’ volleyball tryouts at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School, 4949 NE 2nd Ave.

The volleyball club, a member of the United States Volleyball Association, is under the direction of Mandi Tate, Dee Rey and former Barry University player Kelly Dantas. They are former coaches with South Florida Volleyball Club and currently coach at Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School in Biscayne Bay.

Rebelle Athletics is dedicated to providing developmental and participatory athletic sports programs beginning at the youth development level. It offers a progression of sports activities for persons of all ages, races and creeds. It strives to enhance the physical, mental and moral development of amateur athletes at all levels, promoting sportsmanship and active citizenship.

Visit www.rebelleathletics.com.

USA Triathlon

USA Triathlon aims to return multisport to its roots with the inaugural USA Triathlon Retro Tri Series, which debuts this spring with 10 beginner-friendly events -- one in each USA Triathlon region including Miami.

The focus of the Retro Tri Series is participation, rather than competition. The aim of the events is to introduce the sport of triathlon and educate race participants about the healthy and active multisport lifestyle. The events are open to first-timers, seasoned veterans and those looking to stay active -- swimming, biking and running in a safe atmosphere. Each event is sanctioned by USA Triathlon.

“Our new Retro Tri Series events offer something for anyone interested in participating in the sport of triathlon,” USA Triathlon CEO Rob Urbach said. “These races can be for athletes who want a good, safe workout, or for someone who may feel intimidated by going to a larger race. We’re looking forward to this year’s events and can’t wait to introduce more and more newcomers to the multisport lifestyle.”

The Retro Tri Series events are geared toward adult and youth competitors age 13 and older. Each race will feature a 300-400-yard swim, 5-10-mile bike and 2-5-kilometer run.

USA Triathlon Retro Series Schedule

July 20: Big Spring Super Sprint & Kids Tri, Big Spring, Texas.

July 20: Runner’s Roost Retro Triathlon (R3 Tri), Buffalo.

July 28: Gaucho Super Sprint Triathlon, Goleta, Calif.

Aug. 4: Omaha Retro Family Triathlon, Omaha, Neb.

Sept. 8: FIU Triathlon, North Miami.

Nov. 3: Old Dominion University (ODU) Triathlon, Norfolk, Va.

For more on the USA Triathlon Retro Tri Series, visit www.usatretroseries.com.

USA Duathlon

With the aim of introducing more athletes to the exciting multisport discipline of duathlon, USA Triathlon unveiled the 10 events that will comprise the 2013 USA Triathlon Duathlon Race Series including one in Florida.

Ten races comprise USA Triathlon’s 2013 Duathlon Race Series. (David Sanders/USA Triathlon)

With one event in each of USA Triathlon’s 10 regions, athletes across the country will have the opportunity to compete in a top run-bike-run event. Each event is sanctioned by USA Triathlon and will count toward the popular end-of-year Duathlon National Rankings for USA Triathlon annual members.

Awards will be presented to the top finishers in each series event.

The series will continue through the Oct. 20 Longboat Key Duathlon in Longboat Key. USA Triathlon’s Duathlon National Championships is Oct. 26 in Tucson/Oro Valley, Ariz. Visit www.usatriathlon.org for information on Duathlon Nationals.

USA Triathlon sanctioned nearly 600 duathlon races in 2012, more than doubling the number of sanctioned races from 2006.

Florida Race: Oct. 20: Longboat Key Duathlon. Distances: 2-mile run, 20-mile bike, 5-mile run. Website: http://longboatkeytri.com/. Contact: kvaughan1229@gmail.com or 813-966-7844.

Miami Lady Express basketball

The Miami Lady Express girls’ basketball team needs funding to continue competing in tournaments throughout the United States. The coaches volunteered to train the girls, giving them something positive to do, and the parents have been fundraising.

Travel costs, food, tournament fees and lodging are very expensive for these girls. They practice at the Keys Gate Gym in Florida City and South Dade High School where their coaches teach. Contact Coach Larry Hicks at 786-301-2577.

Tamiami basketball

Tamiami youth basketball registration is open for girls and boys, age 5-16. Email Tamiamibasketball@gmail.com or call 305 -273-1145.

Marlins Tours

The Miami Marlins offer behind the scenes tours of Marlins Park. The tours are open to the public on non-event days for $10 a person.

The tour includes visits to the field (behind home plate), home clubhouse, home batting cage area and Diamond Club, Promenade Level featuring the art in the facility, the bobblehead museum and the premium areas including the Suites.

Tours operate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except when the Marlins play at home or when other major events are scheduled at Marlins Park. Group tours, accommodating between 10 and 25 people, are available by appointment.

For information, fans can call 1-877-MARLINS or e-mail tours@marlins.com. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket windows on Felo Ramirez Drive (NW 6 Street between NW 14 Avenue and NW 15 Avenue) and are for the time and date specified.

Tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable.

HOF baseball

Hall Of Fame Baseball is sponsoring travel baseball teams for 11-12, 13-14, 15-18 (high school).

Hall Of Fame Coach Rich Hofman and his staff will coach the teams which will practice and play in tournaments and leagues. Register for a tryout at www.hofball.net or call David Hofman at 954-804-5600 or Ed Tisdale at 803-463-2591.

Youth Rugby South Miami

The Miami Rugby Youth Division, boys age 6-18, practices 6-8 p.m. Mondays at Murray Park and Wednesdays at Palmer Park, 6120 SW 67th Ave., South Miami. Call 305-400-0134, ext. 101. Visiti www.miamirugbykids.com.

Jai-Alai

Jai-alai is open to anyone, age 10 to 80.

With a rubber ball and cestas, the amateur jai-alai facility is at 1935 NE 150th St. in North Miami, near FIU’s north campus.

It is indoors, air-conditioned and open to all. Contact Luis at 305-389-2313 or Bob at 786-556-3574.

Jai-Alai for women

Who said you have to be a male to play jai-alai? Just as females play the sport in Spain, France and Mexico, and gals can play it in South Florida at an amateur indoor air-conditioned fronton at 1935 NE 150 St., North Miami, near FIU’s north campus.

There are also leagues for males and children. Rubber or plastic balls used with free lessons by former pros. Cestas and balls also provided free with a nominal court fee. Open everyday. Email admanUSA@aol.com or call Brucio 786-629-5428. The American Amateur Jai-Alai Academy is a not-for-profit organization.

South Miami soccer camp

The South Miami Grey Ghosts Soccer Club is hosting a summer camp, weekly through Aug. 16 at South Miami Park, 4300 SW 58th St.

Grey Ghosts Soccer Club offers male and female players, age 5-15, an opportunity to learn the game in a fun and challenging environment. Techniques and basic individual tactics are emphasized. The philosophy of learning skills through fun games, which require maximum touches of the ball, introduces the young player to the most advanced techniques. To register or for information go to www.southmiamigreyghosts.com.

Soccer 5 Academy

Soccer 5 Academy Mini Soccer Program, also referred to as small-sided soccer, makes its South Florida debut at three Miami-Dade County-owned parks – Tropical Park (7900 SW 40 St. in Miami), Kendall Soccer Park (8011 SW 127 Ave.) and Amelia Earhart Park (401 E. 65th St in Hialeah).

Headed by Soccer 5’s Director of Coaching Development Alan Georgeson, who has more than 15 years of experience in Europe in mini/small-sided soccer, kids, age 3-12, will learn the history of mini soccer, the basics of how to play, reasons why mini soccer is the preferred form of soccer play for kids, youth and even adults, and will have the opportunity to play in 3v3 to 7v7 matches.

With Kendall Park, ts recent grand opening of Soccer 5 Tropical Park and its third location at Amelia Earhart Park, mini/small-sided soccer will be available across the county, providing a greater opportunity for children and families to access the proper 4G turf game fields specifically designed for “5v5,” “6v6” and “7v7” games.

With smaller fields, mini soccer is much easier for young children or children who have never played. In addition, mini soccer is designed for competitive play against less number of players, providing more opportunity for pick-up games, as well as more opportunity to play the ball making mini soccer popular with older players, too.

Soccer 5 Tropical Park is open 3 p.m.-midnight Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m.-midnight Saturdays and Sundays.

“I cannot thank Miami Dade Parks and our Soccer 5 coaching staff enough for making our dream of developing small-sided soccer for kids in the Greater Miami area a reality,” Georgeson said. “It is an exciting time for us at Soccer 5 as we continue to expand our Kids Academy in South Florida built on the success of our public/private partnership with Miami Dade Parks and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade.”

Allison Diego, Director of Business Development, Fundraising and Advocacy for Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, added: “The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade is delighted to partner with The Soccer 5 vision to provide an outstanding experience for this community through soccer. We are happy to be a part of this important child sports development.”

For information or to register, visit www.miamisoccer5.com.

Soccer

South Kendall Sun Blazers (sksoccer.org) at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, 11395 SW 79 St. (305-630-3314).

Miami Dade Soccer League (miami-dadesoccer.com) at Three Lakes Park, 13375 SW 136 St. (786-488-5216).

Soccer 5 (ussoccer5.com) at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127 Ave. (1-888-575-2976).

Club Atletico De Miami (camsoccer.com) at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127 Ave. (305-764-5783).

Soccer Academy of the Americas (socceraa.com) at Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24 St. (786-486-3804)

Pinecrest Premier Soccer (pinecrestpremier.com) at Deerwood Bonita Lakes, 11511 S. Dixie Hwy. (305-255-3422).

Optimist Club of Westchester (tropicalsoccer.org) at Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40 St. (786-370-4222).

Coral Estates Soccer Club (coralestatessoccer.org) at Coral Estates Park, 1411 SW 97 Ave. (305-279-2328)

South Kendall Soccer Club (sksoccer.org) at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, 11395 SW 79 St. (305-630-3314).

Southern Soccer Coalition-AYSO (kendallsoccer.com) at Millers Pond Park, 13350 SW 47 St. and Westwind Lakes Park, 6805 SW 152 Ave. (305-965-0083).

Tennis classes, programs

Tennis classes and programs for all ages are at the Penny Sugarman Tennis Center at Sans Souci, 1795 Sans Souci Blvd., North Miami. Call for information on group lessons, annual passes, court rates and private lessons. Tennis pro is Ross Dubins. Call 305-893-7130.

Got Milk

The National Milk Mustache “got milk?” campaign launched the call for entries for the 15th annual Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year (SAMMY) Awards.

The SAMMY scholarship recognizes 25 student-athletes who excel in academics, athletics, community service, leadership and who fuel their daily success with milk.

Milk Mustache celebrity judges will help select 25 winners from across the country who will receive a $7,500 college scholarship, an awards ceremony at Walt Disney World and an opportunity to appear in their own special Milk Mustache ad.

For complete contest rules and applications log onto facebook.com/MilkMustache where visitors can also learn more about the exclusive SAMMY awards weekend and view behind the scenes footage.

CB Sports Leagues

CB Sports Club offers Youth Basketball, Flag Football, Youth Soccer, Adult Soccer and Adult Basketball. Visit cbsportsclub.com. Call 786-273-5639.

Physically Challenged

Miami-Dade Parks welcomes children with disabilities in its youth leagues. If you need accommodations to participate, call 305-735-7847 (V/TDD).

Read more Miami-Dade Youth Sports stories from the Miami Herald

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