Sports Scene: Summer fun for youth baseball player Kevin Martin


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

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YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)


Pitcher Kevin Martin, 12, of Miami had an incredible summer of travel baseball.

After helping the Team USA 12U baseball team win the IBAF World Cup in Taipei, Martin traveled to California upon his return home to help Team Miami win the Pony League World Series.

A seventh grader at Belen Jesuit School in Miami, he is a straight A student.

Martin’s summer journey started in San Francisco, where he attended tryouts for the first USA National 12U Baseball Team. Players selected would compete in Taipei against teams from other countries in the IBAF World Cup. He was not chosen, but that did not discourage him.

As soon as he returned from San Francisco, he began an intense diet and workout regimen, losing nine pounds, before taking a trip to Georgia for a second chance at making the team. Limited spots remained, but Martin was determined.

The next week felt like an eternity, waiting for a response from USA Baseball, but one morning the phone rang. Drew Chism, coordinator of the 12U National Team & Development, USA Baseball, told an excited Martin he was selected for the national team.

This meant a trip to California en route to Taipei, all expense paid with all equipment included.

Martin, a relief pitcher, made the IBAF World Cup All-Tournament Team in helping Team USA win gold in Taipei.

On his return flight to California, he had more baseball work ahead. Team Miami, his home team, qualified for the Pony League World Series, and the event was in California. Good timing. He joined the team as a starting pitcher and tossed a complete game, seven-inning win against Korea as some of his Team USA teammates watched from the stands. He helped Team Miami win the series.

RBI baseball

Megan Diaz of the Miami Marlins RBI softball team was one of 12 recipients nationally of a Major League Baseball RBI Scholarship.

A $20,000 national scholarship, she will use it toward her studies at the University of Florida. A Miami Senior High School graduate, Megan is the sixth winner in the last five years who competed for the Marlins RBI program (baseball/softball).

The ceremony was during the RBI World Series in Minnesota.

• The Miami Marlins honored the Miami Marlins RBI Junior baseball team (age 13-15) for competing in the RBI World Series in Minnesota. The MLB Marlins -- led by players Nate Eovaldi (P), Adeiny Hechevarria (SS), Juan Pierre (OF), Donovan Solano (2B) -- congratulated the team during the ceremonies.

The locals qualified for the world series by beating the Atlanta Braves RBI team in the finals of the Southeast regional tournament in Vero Beach. They went 1-2-1 at the world series. They are Ricardo Amaya, Alejandro Perez, James Spatafora, Alejandro Castro, Ryan Williams, Alejandro Vazquez, Eddie Nodarse, Nicholas San Marty, Demitrius Duvege, Max Gordan, Dillon Belle-Viel and Levis Aguila. The coaches are Michael Jordan, Mario Rodriguez, Kelvin Harris and Michael Rodriguez.

The RBI program was created via MLB to revive baseball in inner cities and give those students the opportunity to play baseball in the summer. MLB covered all accommodation and travel expenses for world series qualifying teams.

•  YouTube video of Miami Marlins RBI Junior baseball team being honored before the Marlins/San Francisco Giants game at Marlins Park.

YouTube - Jim Varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)

Orange Bowl YFA

Now in its 15th season, the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority visited five sites as part of its Park of the Week Program. The Orange Bowl YFA Park of the Week program presented by Sports Authority recognizes select youth football parks across South Florida each Saturday during the fall to show its continued support to the community.

The Park of the Week schedule included visits to five Florida Youth Football League members – the Washington Park Buccaneers, East Miramar Dolphins, Miami Gardens Vikings, Miami Gardens Rams and Miami Gardens Cowboys. At each stop during its Park of the Week program, Orange Bowl members, ambassadors and staff distribute promotional items and discounts from official Orange Bowl YFA sponsors and present each park with a commemorative plaque and a financial contribution toward park improvements.

More than 16,000 young football players and cheerleaders in 10 football leagues across eight South Florida counties directly benefit from the Orange Bowl YFA. More than $5 million has been invested by the Orange Bowl Committee in youth sports in South Florida since 1999. In addition to its continued support of the Orange Bowl YFA, the Orange Bowl directly supports locally-based festivals and events, including those that provide participatory opportunities to youth from all over the world. These events include the Junior Orange Bowl, Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta, Orange Bowl Lacrosse Classic, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, Orange Bowl Swim Classic and Orange Bowl Paddle Championships among others.

Celebrating its 80th anniversary, the Orange Bowl has been one of South Florida’s leading civic organizations, driving tourism and economic development, as well as supporting scholarships and community athletic facilities. Inspiring thousands of student athletes every year, the Orange Bowl’s activities help foster youth confidence, celebrate student achievement, engage the community and enhance the South Florida economy.

The Orange Bowl YFA is presented by Sports Authority, with additional sponsors American Airlines, Doctors Hospital, Florida Blue, FOX Sports Florida / Sun Sports, Hampton Farms, MetroPCS, Nike, Sparkling ICE, Sun Life Stadium & The Miami Dolphins, The Miami Herald, Toyota and Wells Fargo.

For information about the Orange Bowl Committee and the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority, visit

Kendall Hammocks football

The Kendall Hammocks Warriors hosted Ives Estates and North Miami Beach in Miami Xtreme Youth Football.

The weather caused four games to be postponed.

Results: PeeWees: Ives Estates 24, Kendall Hammocks 0. 10U: Kendall Hammocks 32, Ives Estates 12. 12U: Kendall Hammocks 14, Ives Estates 12.

Highlights: Darren Mcqueen scored three touchdowns, and Manny Fraga converted two extra points to lead the 10U victory. On defense, outstanding performances by Ken Hanna Jr., Chance Toledo, Abel Carvajal and Evan Cruz.

The 12U game was a tough physical game. Jacob Armenta and Otis Walker each scored with Armenta also recording an interception. The differecne was the PAT conversition by Fabrizzio Vigna. Marcus Smoke was stellar at defensive end. Linebacker Jude Pino tackled the Ives Estates ball carrier as time ran out to seal the win. Hammocks improved to 2-1.

The Warriors are part of the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammcoks.


Tennis standout Miami’s Katerina Stewart raised the trophy at the USTA Girls’ 16s National Hard Court Championships in San Diego.

Stewart, the No.2 seed, ousted top-seeded Ena Shibahara in the final 6-4, 6-1. She was coming off a runner-up effort weeks earlier at the USTA Girls’ 16s National Clay Court Championships.

Kariann Pierre-Luis of Miami teamed with Boca Raton’s Anna Bright to win the doubles title at the USTA Girls’ 14s National Hard Court Championships in Peachtree City, Ga. The No.5 seeds defeated No.9 seeds Victoria Flores and Isabella Lorenzini 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in the final.

More tennis

Jonathan and Michele Drucker of Coral Gables were runners-up in the Husband/Wife division during the National Family Tennis Championship at Sportime Randall’s Island in New York City.

The competition included 23 teams from 14 states in six divisions.

The 23 teams earned a trip to the national championship after winning an NFTC tournament at their local tennis facility and then winning or earning a wildcard slot into the finals at one of three Super Regional Playoffs

Teams for the national championships received travel and hotel accommodations at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, as well as tickets to Arthur Ashe Kids Day and opening day of the US Open at the USTA/Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

NFL Play 60

The Miami Dolphins partnered with the NFL and Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Muñoz for a two-day NFL Play 60 Character Camp at Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah.

The two-day camp hosted approximately 300 local boys and girls, age 9-13, with little to no football experience. The children, mostly from local youth organizations, were taught football skills by former NFL players and current high school and college coaches.

The camp focused on three components: Football, Play 60 and Character. The first portion consisted of teaching the kids how to play football; the Play 60 portion focused on teaching kids about exercising and proper nutrition; the character component focused on teaching kids traits such as honesty, integrity, self-control and faith.

The camp featured former NFL players Jeff Faulkner, Roy Foster and Jed Weaver in addition to Muñoz.

“I think for a lot of the kids it’s one of the biggest days of their lives. They watch television and see the Dolphins playing, so for them, it’s a dream come true,” said Ryan Betscher, director of the camp. “We want to give them a positive experience from the game of football. We want them to be life-long Dolphins fans and life-long football fans.”

The mission of the event was to make a positive impact on youth through teaching football skills, emphasizing exercise and reinforcing the importance of character in athletics and life. The program will work in collaboration with USA Football and their FUNdamentals curriculum, which introduces children to football by teaching basic skills in a non-contact setting.

Each camp participant received a football with a bilingual hang-tag that offers youth an opportunity to view videos in Spanish and English that teach the basics of football on the NFL’s youth website, The NFL donated more than 30,000 footballs to youth as part of its Hispanic outreach initiative.

“I think the Play 60 Character Camp is an excellent initiative, and I am glad we could be a part of it,” Miami Dolphins Youth Programs Director Twan Russell said. “This is an excellent way to introduce football to children who have had very little experience with the game.”

The camp was the 11th NFL PLAY 60 Character Camp this summer as part of the NFL’s year-round Hispanic outreach initiative, focused on offering youth opportunities to play and experience the game of football.

For information on the Miami Dolphins Youth Programs Department, visit or call 305-943-7272.


Gabriel Benitez, 35, of Sunny Isles Beach was runner-up during the Labor Day Triathlon at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek.

Benitez completed the 0.25-mile swim, 10-mile bike, 3-mile run in 50 minutes 15 seconds.

Other top local finishers: Clydesdale 200 40+: 1. Mark Milisits, Miami, 1:12:13. Female: 15-19: 1. Larisa Sidorovich, Miami, 58:46. Male: 30-34: 1. Abraham Cohen, Doral, 54:15. 35-39: 1. Sean Killen, Miami, 52:40. 50-54: 1. Paul Kvedaras, Homestead, 56:33. 60-64: 1. Robert Maughan, Aventura, 1:01:47.



Jennifer West, 33, of Miami Beach was first in the women’s 30-34 age group during the Labor Day Duathlon at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek.

West covered the 0.75-mile run, 10-mile bike, 3-mile run in 1 hour 6 minutes 55 seconds. In men 60-64, North Miami’s Christian Poirier, 62, won in 59:29.


Physical fitness

Thunder Athletics and Brain Gymnasium LLC teamed to offer a complete fitness program of body and mind.

Students can improve their basketball skills and physical fitness, as well as strengthen their academic skills through specialized tutoring programs.

Thunder Athletics at ThunderPleX, 1440 NW 82 Ave., Miami, has a mission to teach the principles, fundamentals and basic skills of the game to kids age 5-17.

Brain Gymnasium offers specialized tutoring, FCAT Prep, SAT/ACT Prep and Entrance Exam Prep at ThunderPleX. Their degreed, professional and experienced teachers provide a simple and exciting approach to learning.

For information on special packages and after school programs, visit, or call786-505-5585. For information on Brain Gymnasium, visit or call 305-788-7339.

WWE in Miami

A World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-view will be in South Florida on Sunday, Oct. 27 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.

This is the first pay-per-view at the AAA since WWE’s Survivor Series in November 2010.

The AAA is a long-time host of WWE events including the first SmackDown of 2013, the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony during WrestleMania Week in 2012, the Raw after WrestleMania in 2012 and the Rock’s birthday on Raw in 2011.

Tickets are on sale at the AAA box office and via TicketMaster. Keep posted at

More events, leagues, programs


USTA Florida has teamed with the City of Homestead and Friends of Miami Tennis to bring an array of new tennis programs to JD Redd Park.

The park is one of seven facilities across the state to participate in USTA Florida’s new “Tenis para Todos” initiative, which is focused on bringing tennis to more Hispanic families in Central and South Florida.

Through this partnership, JD Redd will offer USTA Leagues and Junior Team Tennis at the park. Additionally, Friends of Miami Tennis is partnering with Special Olympics to have year-round programming at the site. Programming officially begins Sept. 1, and USTA Florida and Friend of Miami Tennis will host a series of events this fall to invite families to experience tennis at the park.

“This partnership is really an outstanding example of how USTA Florida is working with our community partners to grow tennis here in South Florida. With the support of the City of Homestead and the direction of Friends of Miami Tennis, we can reach out, not only to Hispanic families, but the entire community of Homestead,” said Cathy Nordlund, USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator.

Chairwoman of Parks and Recreation Councilwoman Judy Waldman added: “It is no secret I love my City and the parks within it. When there is opportunity to bring fun and exercise together in our beautiful parks, I am behind it 100 percent. I am so proud of our Parks and Recreation Department for their hard work and collaboration in bringing Friends of Miami Tennis to Homestead. When I believe in a project, I am totally committed; and I am over-the-moon happy about this tennis partnership.”

Event details:

Oct. 5

Junior Tennis/PlayDay,

9 a.m.-6 p.m.

To register visit:

• Check for more details.

• For information on “Tenis Para Todos” and a full list of events, visitñol.


USTA Florida is launching a new Hispanic outreach initiative, designed to bring youth and adult tennis programs to Hispanic communities across the state. Tenis Para Todos or Tennis for Everyone will initially focus on programming and outreach at seven facilities in Central and South Florida, workshops and tools to help promote additional outreach in all Hispanic communities, and a series of family-friendly events this fall.

As part of the initiative, USTA Florida also will be launching a new web site,, later this month to help provide a wealth of information about tennis and USTA Florida programs in Spanish. This new initiative builds on the organization’s already strong focus on diversity.

“I understand first-hand the positive impact that tennis can have on Hispanic families and communities. Born and raised in Colombia, I was very fortunate to have been introduced to tennis at an early age. I started playing when I was five years old and it taught me discipline, hard work and social skills,” said Maria Romo, diversity & marketing coordinator for USTA Florida. “I am happy and excited to have an opportunity now to share the sport with Hispanic communities in Central and South Florida.”

Through Tenis Para Todos, USTA Florida is working with a team of local tennis professional and volunteers to deliver adult and youth programming to Hispanic families at Fort Gatlin Recreation Center (Orlando), Oak Street Park (Kissimmee) and Lake Cane Tennis Center (Orlando) in Central Florida, as well as Brian Piccolo Park (Cooper City), Pembroke Isles (Pembroke Pines), Fellsmere Elementary (Fellsmere) and JD Redd Park (Homestead) in South Florida.

Sept. 28: Ocean Club, 795 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne, 33149

To register:

A full list of events is posted at

For information on Tenis Para Todos, visitñol.


Florida tennis facilities can bring the power of Nickelodeon to tennis events and get more kids playing by hosting a USTA Free Tennis Play Event any day through Sept. 30.

Events will receive television exposure on Nickelodeon with millions of players and family members driven to to find events in their area.

Florida events will join thousands of USTA Free Tennis Play Events occurring throughout the country from Sept. 1-30 in an effort to get kids active in celebration of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play.

Schools that host a Kids’ Tennis Club and USTA Free Tennis Play Event can receive an equipment package of 12 racquets, 24 youth tennis balls and a portable net.

Visit to register or call 1-800-990-8782.

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.

Water golf

An unusual on-the-water golf tournament enables boaters in the Keys to hone their swings while raising money for charity one shot at a time. The unique Conch Scramble is Saturday, Sept. 28.

A kick-off party and team registration is 6-10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27 at the Alligator Reef, an exclusive private oceanfront compound at mile marker (MM) 87.4. Kick-off party tickets are available for nongolfers at $35 each.

A live auction and a 50/50 cash raffle also are planned. Bidders can participate in the online portion of the auction now through Sept. 27 at

Teams meet at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Islamorada Fish Company, MM 81.5, for breakfast and hole location assignments. Shotgun start is 9 a.m.

Teams of four players travel by boat from tee to tee and have two shots at each of nine holes at waterfront venues throughout Islamorada. Boats are docked, and golfers come ashore to tee off. An additional designated driver is required to accompany the teammates.

Holes consist of two floating rings whose distances from shore range from 30 to 120 yards off the venues’ dock or beach -- and only irons and putters are allowed. Golfers are awarded points for their shots, depending on whether they land inside or outside the rings. Mulligans are available for purchase.

Golfers use environmentally friendly biodegradable golf balls that become fish food after 96 hours in the water.

An awards ceremony is 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Ocean View Pub & Inn at MM 84.5 gulfside. The top three teams with the best scores receive trophies. Additional honors recognize the best individual score, most team spirit and hard luck awards.

Up to 45 teams can participate, and entry fee is $500 per team. Proceeds from the golfing challenge benefit the Upper Keys Foundation that funds athletic programs and facilities in the Keys.

Event information and registration:


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


Just over a year after a Florida Keys artist completed an eight-mile Atlantic Ocean swim to promote preserving six aging Keys lighthouses, interested competitive swimmers can attempt the same feat. The inaugural Swim for Alligator Light is Saturday, Sept. 21.

Larry Herlth, known locally in the Keys as Lighthouse Larry for his detailed, scale metal reproductions of Keys lighthouses, completed his roundtrip open-water swim to Alligator Reef Lighthouse in five hours and 11 minutes.

The passionate 53-year-old hopes participation in the competitive swimming event will grow each year along with awareness about the need to preserve the Keys lights. The large beacons were built in the 1800s to warn ships away from the Florida Keys reef tract.

“We need to bring the attention to a national treasure,” Herlth said. “These structures need to be saved.”

Modern Global Positioning System navigation has replaced the need for lighthouses in the Keys and, with the exception of their navigation lights, they are no longer maintained.

Swimmers can enter the eight-mile challenge as individuals or as two- or four-person teams. To compete as an individual, entrants must show prior proof of completing a 1,650-meter or one-mile swim in 35 minutes or less.

Individual and team swimmers have up to six hours to complete the course. The event is to have an in-water start and a beach finish, ending shoreside at The Moorings at the end of 123 Beach Road oceanside in Islamorada.

Awards await the top three male and female finishers overall.

Registration and check-in is 4-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20 at the Founders Park swimming pool at mile marker 87 bayside.

Entry fees are $95 per individual swimmer, $75 per person for a two-person team and $50 per person for a four-person team. Admission for spectators is free.

Event information:


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 or send a message at

For information:, or call 305-280-2088.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thunder basketball

Thunder Basketball opened its new year-round facility at ThunderPleX, 1440 NW 82 Ave., Miami.

Thunder Basketball is currently running a day camp and summer league, open to boys and girls, age 5-17. Thunder Basketball’s mission is to teach the principles, fundamentals and basic skills of the game. They stress the importance of team and sportsmanship.

Thunder also encourages players to succeed in the classroom and all aspects of life. For information visit Registration is now open. Contact or call 786-505-5585.

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 or call 305 -273-1145.

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

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

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 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: Contact: or 813-966-7844.

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 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

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 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 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.

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.


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 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 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


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 or call Brucio 786-629-5428. The American Amateur Jai-Alai Academy is a not-for-profit organization.

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 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 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

Miami Herald

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