Sports Scene: Miami Country Day School girls’ basketball makes history with state title


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The Miami Country Day School girls’ varsity basketball team captured the first team state championship in the school’s 75-year history.

The Spartans (26-3) defeated Seffner Christian 65-51 in the FHSAA Class 3A State Finals at the Lakeland Civic Center.

The team played a demanding regular season schedule which included Jacksonville-Ribault, Orlando-Colonial, Jacksonville-Potter’s House, Miami High, Orlando-Edgewater, Orlando-Jones, Tallahassee-FAMU, Coral Springs Charter, Davie-Nova, Plantation-American Heritage, Palm Beaches-Oxbridge Academy, Ferguson, Norland and Melbourne-Florida Air. FAMU reached the Class 2A State Semifinals. Jones made the Class 4A State Semifinals. Ribault won the Class 4A state title. Norland made the Class 6A State Semifinals. Miami High won the Class 8A state title.

FHSAA Class 3A State Finals in Lakeland

Miami Country Day 65, Seffner Christian 51: Finals MVP Channise Aryan Lewis led the way with 15 points, six assists and four rebounds. Maria Alvarez had 15 points, four assists and three steals. Ogechi Anyagaligbo totaled 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Stephanie Mackenzie had eight points, four rebounds and three steals. Danielle Minott added six points, eight rebounds and three steals. Michelle Berry recorded four points and five rebounds, and Marsha Edwards had four points and four rebounds.

Player breakdown

Senior Danielle Minott, who signed with Syracuse University, was the heart and soul of the team. Freshman Channise Aryan Lewis was the engine that drove the team, and junior Ogechi Anyagaligbo was the fuel that kept the squad going.

Seventh grade stand-out Maria Alvarez shocked Seffner in the state finals with her 3-point prowess, making four three-pointers in the first six minutes and five overall. She was like the Miami Heat’s Mike Miller in Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals and Shane Battier in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals.

Junior Stephanie Mackenzie’s quick hands on defense generated a lot of fast breaks, and junior newcomer Michelle Berry and sophomore Marsha Edwards provided toughness in the middle of the paint.

Team background

After placing second a year ago at state, Miami Country Day was on a mission to not only return to the state finals but to win it. That journey began the week after last year’s disappointing state finals.

The Spartans won their fourth consecutive district championship and second consecutive region title to again qualify for the state semifinals. They dismantled Tallahassee Maclay 69-20 in the state semifinal to reach the state finals.

Miami Country Day School started its girls’ basketball program in 1988, totaling six district championships, two region titles, two state Final Four appearances and now one state title.

What they’re saying

Senior captain Danielle Minott said: “Being at Miami Country Day School for only two years and making it to three state finals in a row (one with Parkway) and finally winning…well, it’s like a dream. Being a part of the this school’s first ever state championship is an honor.”

Junior Ogechi Anyagaligbo said, “The timing was fantastic, this being the school’s 75th anniversary and all.”

Junior Michelle Berry said: “It’s my first year at Miami Country Day School and to help be a part of school history is surreal.”

Junior Stephanie Mackenzie said, “I have been a member of the varsity basketball team since I was in the eighth grade and have seen this program grow leaps and bounds. I am honored to be a part of the school’s first state championship.”

Freshman Channise Arayan Lewis said, “I can’t believe in only my second year at Country Day, I have been to two state finals and helped win the school’s first ever.”

Seventh grader Maria Alvarez: “ Seffner was doubling and tripling Dee [Minott], and I knew that she was going to kick it out to me. I was coming off a lousy semifinal where I made no threes, but once that first bucket went in [in the finals], I knew I was going to have a great day, and I just let it go. All the practices I went through led up to that moment. It feels like I achieved a goal and am so proud of what this team accomplished.”

Miami Beach basketball

The Knicks defeated the Timberwolves 24-13 on opening night of Miami Beach/SRYC Basketball in the 9-11 age group. Alessandro Inverardi led the Knicks with eight points. Anthony Delrosario added six points. Magnus Kron and Ariel Arwas had four points apiece. Dylan David also scored. Sam Noli paced the Wolves with seven points, and Jack Serman, Michele Di Bari and Cooper Adams added two points apiece.

The Bucks outlasted the Celtics 18-8. The duo of Max Gotlin and Antonio Todd led the Bucks with eight points apiece, and Bryan Gonzalez added a basket. Jackson Gessner led the Celtics with six points, and Justin Maldonado scored.

The Bulls beat the Pelicans 13-5. Aiden Fuentes sparked the Bulls with five points, and Mateo Strickland and Arthur Joulin added four points apiece. Owen Spill scored three points for the Pelicans, and Daniel Sordo scored.

The Bucks defeated the Lakers 18-11. Bryce Hammon topped the Lakers with seven points, and Alex Levine and Dillon Weissman each added a basket. Antonio Todd topped the Bucks with 10 points, and Max Gotlin finished with eight points.

The Heat beat the Timberwolves 22-13. Maximo Bratter led the way for the Heat with 14 points, connecting on four 3-pointers. Brock Levin countered with seven points, and Dylan Allen made a free-throw. Sam Noli led the Wolves with 11 points, and Antonio De Souza added a basket.

The Clippers defeated Knicks 22-9. Sebastian Perez-Bravo guided the Clippers with 10 points, and Jarad Rogoff scored five points. Rolando Medina finished with four points, and David Saka sank a foul shot. Anthony Delrosario paced the Knicks with five points, and Alessandro Inverardi scored. Aidan Murphy and Ariel Arwas each made a foul shot.

Division (7-8 Age Group): The Knicks edged the Lakers 13-9. Cole Young guided the Knicks with six points, and Caleb Samuel had three points. Eli Rudd, Owen Ebner and Jonathan Garcia each had a basket. Isaac Sokol paced the Lakers with four points, and Julian Corniel and Joshua Harris scored two points apiece, and Zach Zimmerman made a free-throw.

The Bobcats defeated the Heat 16-8. Adonys Christo, Jack Meltzer and Franco Lamana led the Bobcats with four points each, and Jasper Jansen and Matthew Clark had two points apiece. Brody Minick scored four points for the Heat, and Noah Scheinblum and Logan Moskovitz scored.

The Clippers beat the Pelicans 14-9. Miguel Arronte, Zachary Nedjar and Trent Mopsick totaled four points apiece, and Max Abrahamson added a basket. Jamil Hall led the Pelicans with four points, and Jordan Duran and Harrison Delisle scored. Avery Sinnes made a free throw.

The Heat defeated the Pelicans 8-6 in a defensive battle. Brody Minick sparked the Heat with four points, and Logan Moskovitz and Fynn Olsen added a basket each. Elijah Belval, Harrison Delisle and Jamil Hall combined for the Pelicans’ points.

The Clippers edged the Lakers 18-17. Owen Basner ignited the Clippers with six points. Trent Mopsick and Zachary Nedjar each scored four points, and Lohan Joulin scored. The Lakers Julian Corniel had a game-high eight points. Zachary Zimmerman had four points, and Paul Russell finished with three points.

The Bobcats dodged a last second shot at the buzzer to hold off the Knicks 20-19. Jack Meltzer scored a league-high 13 points for the Bobcats, including the winning free-throws with two seconds remaining. Adonys Christo had four points, and Jasper Jansen added a basket. Cole Young led the Knicks with 12 points, and Owen Ebner totaled three points.


Local ultra-marathoner Aly Venti, 31, was selected to run the Badwater Ultramarathon in California.

Badwater, known as one of the most challenging ultramarathons, starts in Death Valley in July and ends 135 miles later on Mt. Whitney. Temperatures can stay in the triple digits throughout the race. Badwater, traditionally one of the most difficult ultramarathons to enter, has very strict requirements. First, runners need to run a minimum of three 100-plus mile races and then must be fortunate enough to be selected by race organizers.

Venti, a doctoral degree candidate at the University of Miami Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, has won several ultras. She was the first female in the 2012 edition of the Keys 100M, a 100-mile race from Key Largo to Key West, setting the female course record at 16 hours, seven minutes, the second fastest time in a 100-mile race in the United States in 2012.

In 2013, she was the overall winner of the Keys 50M in a record time of 6:51 and the Ghost Train 100M in Brookline, N.H., also in a course record 18:59. Earlier this year, she won the Long Haul 100M in Tampa, again setting the course record of 17:14. Following the string of victories, Venti was named the 2013 USA Track and Field Female Mountain and Ultra Trails Runner of the Year for 2013.

Venti’s training will average between 160-200 miles per week, peaking at approximately 220 miles per week, leading to Badwater.

Her training will not be her biggest challenge. The registration fee for Badwater is $995. Also, $7,000 in expenses she’ll incur between traveling, hotels, van rental (for her support crew throughout the 135-mile journey), food, and fluids.

“These expenses vastly exceed my graduate student budget,” Venti said in a release.

She seeks sponsorships to help her get to Badwater.

“Any kind of financial support would be greatly appreciated” she added.

She is also interested in potential marketing collaborations. Contact Hector or Cobi at iRun at 305-751-9440 or via email at

Surf Camp

Chances are, you or someone you know has a child with autism. According to the Autism Society, one percent of children in the U.S. age 3-17 has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD is a life-long developmental disability that impairs communication, self-control, social interaction and learning.

Miami Beach Parks & Recreation, in conjunction with the University of Miami Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD), hosts a free, week-long spring break surf camp for children with autism. The special camp will run from March 23-28 on the beach adjacent to South Pointe Park.

“We are excited to be offering this camp again for the sixth year,” said John Rebar, director, Miami Beach Parks and Recreation. “It will provide a unique and wonderful experience that could for some be a once in a lifetime experience.”

Parents of special need children are often challenged with limited opportunities for their children to participate in recreational sports. This surf camp provides children, age 8-12, with either low to high functioning autism, pervasive developmental disorder or Asperger syndrome a chance to surf and be part of a recreational activity like any typical child.

Children are selected for the camp by undergoing evaluations with CARD and City of Miami Beach staff to ensure that the camp will be beneficial to the child.

On the first day of camp, participants will be evaluated on their swimming skills as well as receive some surf practice. During the remainder of the week, campers will ride surfboards and kayaks, build sand castles and enjoy the ocean waves. The camp concludes with an awards ceremony and surfing demonstrations for family and friends.

Although dedicated research regarding the benefits of surfing for individuals with autism is scarce, parents and camp instructors can attest to the many positive effects. An increase in self-esteem is one positive result, as is the opportunity to interact with others. Some children who display repetitive behaviors and/or anxiety seem to be calmed by the ocean, which can allow for increased attention and focus. Surfing also provides a fun way to build physical fitness into a child's life and is an activity that can be pursued long term in the form of a hobby or sport.

Parks and Recreation also offers a free, young athletes program to improve basic motor skill development for two to seven year-olds with developmental disabilities on Saturday mornings at the North Shore Park and Youth Center. Additionally, children with disabilities can participate in regularly scheduled recreational activities through their inclusion in recreation program at various city parks and youth centers.

Adults with disabilities can also benefit from an array of city programs including a bowling league, sailing club, social club and Special Olympics athletic training for bowling, soccer and tennis.

For additional information on programs for children and adults with special needs, contact the Miami Beach Parks and Recreation Department at 305-673-7730.

South Florida Boy Scouts

More than 190 Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, along with their families, enjoyed the unique and world class entertainment of the Harlem Globetrotters at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.

In a show of support and patriotism, as demonstrated and taught by the South Florida Council of Boy Scouts of America, boys, age 6-16, had the honor of conducting and participating in the opening flag ceremony before the game.

Dressed in their Class ‘A’ uniforms, they walked onto the court. Robert Spalding from Troop 80 then called the color guard to attention, and the young men saluted as the crowd rose to their feet to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

After the flag ceremony was completed, they walked off the court with an experience that they will remember forever. Then the entertainment and laughter began, watching the choreographed antics of the hilariously funny Harlem Globetrotters.

Miami Country Day sports

Miami Country Day School: Girls’ Middle School Athlete of the Week: Isabela Pedraza (varsity water polo) : As a seventh grader on the varsity team, Isabela had four goals and an assist in the Spartans’ win against Hialeah High School.

Boys’ Middle School Athlete of the Week: Evan Meiselman (tennis): As the team's No.1 singles player, Evan won his matches in wins against Ransom Everglades and Palmer-Trinity schools.

Girls’ Upper School Athlete of the Week: Sidney Thomas (water polo) : Sidney had three goals, seven assists and two steals in the Spartans’ win against Hialeah High School.

Boys Upper School Athlete of the Week: Austen Weinberg (lacrosse): Austen led the way with five goals and five assist in the Spartans’ win against Calvary Christian.

Spartan Super Fan: Laureen Jean-Jacques (seventh grader).

Scheck Hillel sports

Scheck Hillel Community School has named varsity tennis players Sarah Dreyfuss (sophomore) and Daniel Doron (junior) as school athletes of the week. Each displayed amazing focus and precision during their winning matches against Doctors Charters School.

Miami Country Day lacrosse

The Miami Country Day Middle School boys’ lacrosse A team (4-2) beat Ransom Everglades 5-2.

Oleg Shabanets led the way with three goals. Ryan Finvarb and Sean Fuller each scored, and Zachary Hart had four assists. Marlon Robins won nine of 10 faceoffs, and Maximo Eriksson and Carlos Ortega played well.

The Spartans also beat Palmer-Trinity 7-2. Theo Levacher scored twice, and Blaise Pronesti had a goal and two assists. Evan Mendelson and Noah Reines each added a goal and an assist. Jack Finvarb and Julius Klepach also scored, and Zachary Hart added an assist.

World Cup soccer

McDonald’s is giving young soccer enthusiasts in South Florida the opportunity to meet their soccer heroes competing for the 2014 FIFA World Cup title in Brazil this summer and also secure a $1,000 grant for a South Florida soccer organization.

McDonald’s Player Escort sweepstakes gives 25 children, age 6 to 10, across the country the chance to travel to Brazil and walk hand-in-hand with some of the world’s best soccer players as they take the field for a 2014 FIFA World Cup match. One lucky winner, along with their parent or guardian, will represent South Florida and embark on a four-night, five-day trip to Brazil, with the first stop in Rio de Janeiro.

The 25 McDonald’s Player Escorts will lead players onto the field in one of four match cities – Rio de Janeiro, Natal, Manaus or Recife. Parents or guardians in South Florida can visit between now and April 6 to enter the sweepstakes.

More events, leagues, programs

Kendall Hammocks flag football

The Kendall Hammocks NFL Flag Football program announces registrations dates and times for the 2014 season.

Registration is open to boys and girls, age 5-16 (cannot turn 17 in 2014) . Copy of birth certificate is requested for age verification only during the registration process. Teams are based by age.

The opening exhibition games will be on May 3. The regular season is 12 games.

Registrations, practices and games are at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122 Ave.

Registrations Dates: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. March 22 and 29

Final registration: 6:30-8:30 p.m. April 4

Registration fee $115. Fee includes NFL team reversible jersey, NFL flag belts with flags, secondary Insurance, referees, and participation awards. Discounted rates for head coaches.

Tryouts and draft are April 19. Time chart by division can be found at

For information or to coach, email or visit

The NFL Flag Football program is under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks and is an all volunteer organization.

Red Zone flag football

Red Zone Sports presents NFL Flag at Tropical Estates Park, 10201 SW 48th St.

Red Zone Sports offers NFL jerseys, NFL flags, scoreboards for all games, weekly MVPs for top performers. With help from USA Football and Dick’s Sporting Goods, this will be an outstanding youth flag football league.

The season begins April 5. Register from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at Tropical Estates Park or online. Deadline is March 27.

Boys and girls ages 5 to 17, are welcome. Coaches’ discount available. For information call Luis at 786-344-1855 or visit

Tennis Play Days

Miami-area tennis facilities will host Tennis Play Days in March and April in an extended celebration of World Tennis Day.

The events introduce children to the excitement of tennis competition in a low-pressure setting of organized play, with rotation of opponents and short continuous matches over a two- to three-hour period.

“Play Days are a great transition for kids to team tennis and tournaments as they provide them with the opportunity to improve their game in a competitive environment with players of their same level, and where results are not reported,” Cathy Nordlund, USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Miami area, said in a release. “Kids new to the game can pick up tennis right away with the youth tennis equipment designed to ease them into the game, including smaller racquets, lower-bouncing balls and smaller court sizes.”

For more information about the new way for kids to learn tennis, go to

Kids of all skill levels and ages are welcome to the events that will showcase the “red” and “orange” lower-bouncing balls on 36-foot and 60-foot courts for children age 10 and younger. Both members and nonmembers of the USTA can participate, but USTA members will receive a discount on the registration fee.

World Tennis Day on March 3 is the international effort to get kids excited about and active in tennis. It is a celebration of tennis around the world that includes professional tennis matches in New York City, Hong Kong and London. The televised World Tennis Day celebration at New York’s Madison Square Garden featured Novak Djokovic squaring off against Andy Murray, and Bob and Mike Bryan taking on John and Patrick McEnroe.

More than a thousand facilities will host USTA Tennis Play Events this month, each showcasing how fun and easy it is for families to get into the sport. These events will also allow parents to sign up their children for spring and summer tennis programs.

Sunday, March 16

3 p.m., Diplomat Golf and Tennis Club, 501 Diplomat Pkwy., Hallandale Beach 33009

Ivan Kostic, 954-258-0590

Sunday, April 6

11 a.m., Michael-Ann Russell JCC, 18900 NE 25th Ave., North Miami Beach 33180

Donna Toleffsen, 305-932-4200, Ext. 160

Saturday, April 27

Turnberry Isle Tennis, 19735 Turnberry Way, Aventura 33180

Eduardo Gomez, 786-312-0128

For information visit or email Cathy Nordlund at


USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation announced a landmark three-way agreement with Special Olympics Florida to provide more tennis playing opportunities to athletes in Florida.

The formal agreement builds on the existing support that USTA Florida and its charitable arm have provided to local Special Olympics programs by offering free 10 and Under Tennis workshops, grants and other resources to providers that offer tennis programs to Special Olympics athletes.

Likewise, Special Olympics Florida will encourage their athletes to participate in USTA Florida programs and events.

“We are absolutely committed to changing lives through tennis,” said Linda Curtis, executive director of the USTA Florida Section Foundation. “This agreement is a prime example of how USTA Florida and our Foundation work together to impact communities each and every day. These athletes play tennis for the pure joy of the sport. It’s inspiring to see, and I’m proud to know that we will be able to provide even more opportunities for them to play through this partnership.”

Sherry Wheelock, president and chief executive officer of Special Olympics Florida, said: “At Special Olympics Florida, we embrace the transformative power of sports. USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation will help us bring first-rate trainings and competitive experiences to our athletes throughout the state. We are excited for this new partnership and are confident that it will further ignite a passion in our athletes for tennis.”

To get a program started, Special Olympics coaches may apply for a USTA Florida Section Foundation equipment grant for adaptive tennis equipment and other program needs by contacting Jessica Flynn at Special Olympics Florida. For additional training opportunities and training resources, contact Linda Curtis at the USTA Florida Section Foundation at


USTA Serves, the national charitable foundation of the United States Tennis Association, announced awards of $450,000 in grants to 40 organizations that provide tennis and education to underserved youth and people with disabilities. This brings the total awarded during the 2013 grant funding cycle to more than $1.2 million. Combined with scholarships, USTA Serves awarded a total of $1.6 million in 2013.

Special Olympics Florida of Miami-Dade County is a grant recipient. It incorporates tennis in providing year-round sports training and competition to children and adults age 8 and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It currently serves 2,848 athletes throughout Miami-Dade County.

The biannual grant process, a national initiative of USTA Serves, was established to award organizations that successfully combine tennis and education for underserved youth as well as people with disabilities to gain an opportunity to play tennis and improve their academic skills in a structured format. These programs also strive to help combat childhood obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles.

“USTA Serves is proud to end the year by awarding and recognizing some of the country’s most phenomenal programs for their efforts toward impacting the lives of youth through tennis and education,” Dan Faber, USTA Serves executive director, said in a release. “These programs have a solid foundation and exhibit tremendous dedication to serving children who deserve a life filled with education and physical activities. For this, we thank them for leading the way in designing a nurturing environment where students can thrive and succeed on and off the tennis court.”

USTA Serves has awarded more than $17 million in grants and scholarships to standout players and programs throughout the country in order to provide at-risk and underserved youth with greater opportunities to achieve success.

For more information about USTA Serves, visit

South Miami baseball

The South Miami Youth Baseball League at Palmer Park has openings in the 8-to-12-year-old divisions.

Call Coach Nick at 305-878-5087 or email

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 per 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 of 10 to 25 people are available by appointment.

For more information, fans can call 1-877-MARLINS or e-mail Tickets can be purchased at the ticket windows on Felo Ramirez Drive (Northwest Sixth Street between 14th and 15th avenues) 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) players.

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, for boys ages 6-18, practices from 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays at Murray Park and Wednesdays at Palmer Park, 6120 SW 67th Ave., South Miami. Call 305-400-0134, ext. 101.

Visit .


The new 2013-14 Century Doubles Men’s Tournament series, presented by Cliff Drysdale Tennis and an official USTA Florida Pilot Event Series, will conclude in Miami.

The five-event Century Doubles Men’s Tournament series is open to men’s doubles teams with a combined age of 100 years or more, featuring a Club Division and an Open Division. Players must be 35 or older to compete.

For each tournament, players will earn points on a sliding scale toward qualification in the end-of-series Grand Finals at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne in April. A minimum of 60 total points will be required to participate in the Grand Finals.

“Trophies and cash prizes will be awarded for each tournament’s division winners and runners-up, with the addition of luxury hotel getaways awarded to the series winners,” series coordinator Bertan Cikigil said in a release. “All participants are guaranteed at least two matches, with a maximum of three per day at each event.”

Series schedule:

April 5-6: Miami Grand Finals & Awards hosted by The Ritz-Carlton Tennis Garden, Key Biscayne.

The Club Division and Open Division at each event will be limited to 16 teams each. Scoring is best of three sets, with a 10-point tiebreak in lieu of a third set. USTA rules and regulations apply, including the point penalty system and 15-minute default rule. Teams must be available to start at 9 a.m. each Saturday and Sunday.

“USTA Florida is excited about partnering with Cliff Drysdale Tennis to offer alternative events that will offer different play opportunities compared to our traditional events,” said USTA Florida President Bob Pfeander.

Event entry fee is $100 per team, and players must be active USTA members.

For information email Bertan Cikigil at or call 914-815-4093, or to register online go to

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.

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 Bird Rd.), Kendall Soccer Park (8011 SW 127th Ave.) and Amelia Earhart Park (401 E. 65th St., 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 3 to 12 years old will learn the history of mini soccer, the basics of how to play, reasons why mini soccer is the preferred form of soccer for kids, youth and even adults, and will have the opportunity to play in “3v3” to “7v7” matches.

The three locations make mini/small-sided soccer 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 competition among teams with fewer 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. to midnight Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 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 more information or to register, visit


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

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

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

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

Soccer Academy of the Americas ( at Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24th 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 Bird Rd., (786-370-4222).

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

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

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

Thunder basketball

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

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

Thunder also encourages players to succeed in the classroom and all aspects of life. For more information visit Registration is now open. Email 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 raising funds.

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 ages 5 to 16. Email or call 305 -273-1145.

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 résumé — 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 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: The use of the Heads Up Tackling model; coaching certification; Player Safety Coaches; concussion education; and proper equipment-fitting.

The program was launched in three test markets last year. This year, it will expand to more than 600 youth leagues in all 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 Second 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 the Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School Biscayne Bay Campus.

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 .


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. Call 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, women can play it in South Florida at the 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 are used with free lessons by former pros. Cestas and balls are also provided free with a nominal court fee. Open every day. Email or call Brucio 786-629-5428. The American Amateur Jai-Alai Academy is a not-for-profit organization.

CB Sports Leagues

CB Sports Club offers youth basketball, flag football, youth soccer, adult soccer and adult basketball. Visit or 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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