Sports Scene: Arleeya Alexander, Michael Hammond, Kathryn Serra win OBIE Awards

06/28/2014 12:00 AM

06/26/2014 4:54 PM

Kathryn Serra won the Orange Bowl Jr. Courage Award during the Orange Bowl Impact and Excellence Awards: A Taste of South Florida, presented by Florida Blue and supported by Publix Supermarkets, at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale.

Serra is a 9-year-old who earned a spot at right tackle on the Key Biscayne Key Rats 90-pound youth tackle football team in the Miami Xtreme Football League, a member of the Orange Youth Football Alliance, presented by Sports Authority. She’s the first and only girl playing for the Key Rats. She is serving as a role model for girls by fearlessly excelling at a physical sport typically dominated by males.

Lauryn Williams won the Orange Bowl Keith Tribble Community Service Award. She is the only woman and the fifth person to medal in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, having won gold and silver in track and field in ’04 and ’12 and silver in bobsledding in ’14.

In the community, she was U.S. Track and Field’s 2006 Visa Humanitarian of the Year, having done everything from volunteering with deaf students to establishing a scholarship fund to having been involved with USATF’s Be A Champion youth outreach program promoting the benefits of physical activity.

Proceeds for the OBIEs go toward the Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, Special Olympics Florida and the Orange Bowl Leadership and Academy, which is scheduled to launch a pilot program in the fall.

The Orange Bowl and Make-A-Wish Southern Florida surprised 7-year-old Wish Kid Joey M. by bringing him on stage to cook his favorite dish, macaroni and cheese, with Chef Viviani. Joey was then told that his wish to go to Disney World for the first time with his family has been granted.

Through the years, the Orange Bowl has been able to invest millions of dollars in the South Florida youth and sports through support of intercollegiate athletics, education, events, organizations and causes, in addition to the economic impact it provides. At this year’s event, about $100,000 was given back to the South Florida community.

Beneficiaries include six high school senior student athletes from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties who will receive scholarships toward their college education.

Student Athlete Scholarships

• Arleeya Alexander (William H. Turner Technical Arts High School/Basketball at Miami Norland Senior High School).
• Tyson Grace (Dillard Senior High School/Basketball, Baseball).
• Michael Hammond (Coral Gables Senior High School/Golf).
• Sacha Jadotte (Royal Palm Beach Community High School/Football, Weightlifting, Wrestling).
• Morgan Lauer (Seminole Ridge Community High School/Flag Football, Volleyball).
• Guimarsha Louis (Miramar High School/Soccer, Softball).

Much of the success and longevity of the OBIEs can be attributed to Florida Blue, the title sponsor, which is joined by supporting sponsor Publix Super Markets and additional event sponsors AutoNation, Deloitte, FedEx Express, Gold Coast Beverage Distributors, Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, Stella Artois, Sun Life Stadium/Miami Dolphins and TD Bank.

The OBIEs was also a culinary experience, featuring a group of celebrity chefs and restaurants offering tastings and pairings, and competing to capture the title of best chef/restaurant as chosen by the patrons. More than 500 attendees experienced a night of food, entertainment and giving as we celebrated those who share Orange Bowl’s values in giving back to the South Florida community.

Tennis

Katerina Stewart, 16, of Coral Gables joined the Four or More Title Club after capturing the Girls’ 18s title for the second time at the USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Tennis Championships.

Stewart became the first player in 27 years to win four Bobby Curtis junior state championships, joining Florida legends such as Chris Evert (five titles) and her sister Jeanne Evert (four titles). Stewart became the first player since Luanne Spadea (1987-84), sister of former ATP pro Vince Spadea, to win four titles.

The 66th edition of the tournament was at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach and three other Central Florida locations, crowning Florida state champions in boys and girls, age divisions 10-18.

In the Girls’ 18s final, Stewart, the No. 7 seed, defeated No. 6 Gabriella Poller of Boca Raton 6-2, 6-2. During the tournament, Stewart lost 13 games in six matches en route to the title.

Stewart is the first player to win a title on the USTA Pro Circuit (and runner-up in another) and return to win a USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Championship.

In Girls’ 16s, No. 1 seed Adriana Reami of Miami reached the semifinals, before being upset by No. 11 seeded Emma Decoste of Stuart, last year’s 14s’ winner, who won the 16s title.

For info go to http://bobbycurtis2014.youthtennisflorida.com

Visit www.ustaflorida.com

Miami volleyball

A pair of University of Miami volleyball signees were recently honored as some of the top athletes in Miami-Dade County.

Sylvia Hernandez and Brooke McDermott was each named Player of the Year in their respective divisions at the Miami Herald’s annual All-Miami-Dade Athletic Awards.

“Both Sylvia and Brooke are very deserving, and I am excited to have them both on our roster,” University of Miami head coach Jose Gandara said in a release. “We expect big things from both of them, and we believe they are both capable of contributing right away this fall.”

Hernandez, who amassed 360 kills, 263 digs and 59 aces while leadng Westminster Christian to its first state championship in girls’ volleyball, was named the Miami Herald All-Miami-Dade Class 4A-2A Volleyball Player of the Year for the third consecutive year. She has earned first team All-Miami-Dade honors since her freshman season and is a two-time winner of La Copa Dorada, an award given annually to Miami-Dade County’s top Hispanic athletes.

“Silvia is a proven winner and that is one of the things that attracted us to her beyond her athletic ability and her overall volleyball sense,” Gandara said.

The standout athlete also won a state title in softball this season, making her the Miami Herald All-Miami-Dade Class 5A-1A Female Athlete of the Year.

McDermott was named the Class 8A-6A Player of the Year for girls’ volleyball after a season in which she tallied 366 kills, 45 aces and 30 blocks while helping TERRA Environmental Research Institute reach the Class 6A regional final.

“Brooke is an exceptional athlete with a good volleyball skill set,” Gandara said. “She does so many things well that most of the time they go unnoticed. I am very happy she was acknowledged for her exceptional talent.”

A star at TERRA, McDermott has been team captain all four years of high school and earned her second consecutive first team Miami Herald All-Miami-Dade honor following the 2013 season. The standout outside hitter carried TERRA to a district championship in 2013 and earned the distinction of Scholar-Athlete of the Month in September. In 2011, McDermott was selected third team All-Miami-Dade for her play at TERRA. Beyond her stellar play on the volleyball court, McDermott is also a star in badminton, earning first team Miami Herald All-Miami-Dade honors in 2012 and helping TERRA win the GMAC Championship in 2013.

While the two players attended different high schools, they play club volleyball together for Miami Elite and will soon do the same at the NCAA Division I level for the University of Miami.

For the latest information on Miami Hurricanes volleyball, follow the official Twitter feed, @CanesVB

You can ‘Like Them’ on Facebook at facebook.com/UMVolleyball.

Sunshine State Games

Florida’s Sunshine State Games Polk County Festival featured seven sports with more than 1,300 athletes competing in Lakeland. The Lakeland Center hosted five of the seven sports with fencing, judo, karate, taekwondo and weightlifting.

In fencing, Men’s Foil showcased a rematch of the 2012 championship match as Rafael Suarez of Masters Fencing Academy in Miami defeated Jacksonville’s Will Cook for the gold medal. Suarez, a member of the 1996 Venezuelan Olympic fencing team, also won the gold medal in 2012.

Miami’s Andres Lopez improved on his 2013 showing in Men’s Veteran’s Foil by winning the gold medal. He was a silver medal winner in 2013.

Masters Fencing Academy of Miami won the team trophy with 22 points, followed by the Jacksonville Fencing Club with 16 points and the Southwest Florida Fencing Academy 14 points.

In table tennis at the Simpson Park Community Center, Mark Plyler of Miami won gold in Sandpaper and silver in Under 2100.

At Lakeland High School, Predator Wrestling of Miami won the team championship with Calvary Wrestling of Fort Lauderdale finishing second and the Lakeland Wrestling Club third.

Florida’s Sunshine State Games are a program of the Florida Sports Foundation, a division of Enterprise Florida, presented in conjunction with Polk County Sports Marketing.

Visit www.flasports.com for full results.

Golf

Boca Grove Golf and Tennis Club, a premier country club in Boca Raton, hosted the 35th SFPGA Junior Championship. The Club welcomed 96 young athletes as they contended for a shot in The PGA of America’s Junior PGA Championship.

After two rainy days, Anthony Gabriele of Wellington shot 67 (-5), and Valeria Sophia Pacheco of Hallandale Beach shot 70 (-2) in the first round and were crowned the overall winners; the second round was washed out.

Top Miami finishers: Girls: T3. Chloe Horton, Miami, 75 (+3). 8. Tanya Eathakotti, Miami, 78 (+6). T15. Ariana Garcia, Aventura, 83 (+11). Boys: T5. Pedro Gomez, Doral, 73 (+1). T9. Rafael Martinez, Miami, 74 (+2). T14. Segio Escalante, Aventura, 76 (+4).

Gabriele and Pacheco will represent South Florida at the 39thannual Junior PGA Championship at Miramont Country Club in Bryan, Texas. The field is comprised of one boy and one girl from each of the PGA of America’s 41 geographical sections as well as some special invitees.

The SFPGA Junior Tour, presented by The Honda Classic, is a membership-based tour open to boys and girls, ages 11-18, in South Florida with the aspirations and skill levels to compete at the high school and collegiate level and features some of South Florida’s most talented junior golfers. The Junior Tour offers 28 two-day championships for junior golfers in South Florida. They are divided between the Championship Tour, an invitational tour featuring extended yardages, and the Challenge Tour.

For information, visit www.sfpgagolf.com.

Miami Country Day sports

Miami Country Day School had another banner year in athletics. The Spartans won one state championship, one regional championship and seven district championships, was district runner-up three times and qualified nine teams for postseason play.

In the fall sports season, the girls’ varsity volleyball team won its ninth district championship in 10 years. The boys’ varsity cross-country team qualified for state for a fifth consecutive year and captured its second consecutive district championship.

The girls’ cross-country team was runner-up in the district and qualified for regionals for a fifth consecutive season. The boys’ golf team qualified for regionals for a 12th consecutive year. The girls’ and boys’ swim teams finished as district runners-up. It was the first time the boys finished second and the first time since 1997 for the girls’ squad. Qualifying for state were the girls’ 200 medley and 200 free relay teams (Olivia Katcher, Eva Sher, Amelia Gregorio, Andrea Santander). Katcher also qualified in the 200 and 500 free, Santander in the 50 and 100 free, Emma Rodriguez in the 100 breaststroke and Alexis Goya in the 100 fly.

In the winter sports season, the girls’ varsity soccer team won its second consecutive district championship. The girls’ varsity basketball team won the district championship for a fourth consecutive season and captured the regional championship for a second consecutive season. It advanced to state in Lakeland, capturing the school’s first team state championship.

The spring sports season produced a 17th consecutive district championship in boys’ varsity tennis with the team being represented at state by seniors Shaun Berman and Alec Koss for a fourth consecutive year. The girls’ varsity tennis team captured its second consecutive district championship. The varsity softball team captured its first district championship since 2006.

Thunder Summer Camp

The Thunder Basketball Summer Camp is at the ThunderPlex, a 10,000 square feet facility in Doral at 1440 NW 82nd Ave.

Thunder Basketball operates year round, and the mission is to play basketball in a recreational setting, teaching students the principles, fundamentals and basic skills.

The camp runs 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Aug. 15.

Thunder will also host the Norris Cole Camp on the week of June 30. Cole is a point guard for the Miami Heat.

Sibling discounts are available. Call for pricing and availability.

Thunder has also teamed with Brain Gymnasium for complete mind and body fitness. Brain Gymnasium will offer help with summer reading and math review classes K-12.

For information, visit www.jointhunder.com or www.braingymnasium.org

Tennis workshop

The Boys & Girls Club of Miami hosted a free Kids’ Tennis Club coaches workshop for community tennis providers, attended by 36 participants from the Miami area.

The event was organized by USTA Florida Miami-area Tennis Program Coordinator Cathy Nordlund and presented by USTA National faculty member Susan Allshouse. Participants learned how to introduce tennis in non-traditional spaces such as gyms, playgrounds and multi-purpose rooms with no courts required, and no teaching experience necessary.

The three-hour workshop also included sessions on how to adapt any space for tennis using kid-friendly equipment; large-group management techniques that can be used in any physical activity setting; and how to direct and supervise basic tennis and fitness skills using activity stations and the Tennis Skillastics game.

Upon registering as a Kids’ Tennis Club, participants will receive free Kids’ Tennis Club Playbooks, Kids’ Tennis Club Pocket Playbooks, Youth Achievement bag tags, a Sportsmanship Poster, recognition letters and certificates for offering tennis.

Additionally, USTA Florida is offering free Kids’ Tennis Club Starter Kits containing racquets, balls, court markers and more to those clubs in need via an online application at www.USTAFlorida.com/KTCkit.

Kids’ Tennis Clubs are designed to give children the opportunity to try tennis in a safe, supportive, extracurricular setting. With tennis sized right for age and ability, it’s easier and more fun than ever for kids to play -- even if they’ve never picked up a racquet. Organizing Kids’ Tennis Clubs for elementary school students, as well as intramurals and interscholastic team play at the middle school and high school level, is an excellent way for kids to experience camaraderie, cooperation and individual self-growth.

For more info on Kids’ Tennis Clubs and school tennis go to www.ustaflorida.com/schools.

Running program

The 18th annual Summer Fun Runs, hosted by the Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep cross-country team, returns to Miami Shores. Last year, the team welcomed its largest of number community participants.

Runners and walkers of all abilities meet every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Miami Shores Recreation Center, 9617 Park Dr., Miami Shores, 33138. The runs are free and continue through July 31.

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

Archbishop Curley Coach Br. John Corcoran designs three courses of gradually increasing mileage: one for beginner runners or walkers, a second for recreational runners and joggers, and a third for advanced or competitive runners. By the end of July, the distances covered from three to seven miles, with no pace being set.

For information call the school at 305-751-8367, email Br. John Corcoran at jcorcoran@acnd.net.

Participants can find updates and routes on the Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/319310221549350/

Crandon Park

Crandon Park Marina at 4000 Crandon Boulevard in Key Biscayne has undergone a major facelift, which includes new charter boat docks, a new seawall and new state-of-the-art marina amenities that offer better access and security for boaters.

The new development is the result of an extensive shoreline restoration effort led by the Florida Inland Navigation District, the state’s sponsor of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

“The improvements to Crandon Marina have preserved a vital Miami-Dade County waterfront treasure and served to enhance the Marina as a world-class boating destination for visitors and residents,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “We commend the Parks Department for their collaborations and shared vision, which is helping us to restore and beautify the recreational treasures of our community.”

As part of the marina restoration project, a total of 515 linear feet of existing concrete seawall (built circa 1950) was replaced with a newly designed ‘sheet pile seawall’ that consists of deep in ground galvanized steel piles encased in concrete. A new five-foot-wide cap was installed atop the new seawall, which added three more feet of boardwalk.

The charter boat area received new fender and mooring piles, a new concrete walk with integrated light bollards and planters, and 10 new boat slips, each with its own new power/water pedestal and fish-cleaning station. The two original scales used for weighing-in fish were renovated and reinstalled on the docks, for a touch of nostalgia. There is also a new transient boat slip just south of the site.

The marina restorations were completed through the collaborative efforts of FIND, working with Neville/Steffens Architects LLP; Ports and Coastal Engineering Practice - Atkins; SDM Consulting Engineers, Inc.; and Construction Contractors - Shoreline Foundation, Inc.

Miami-Dade County District 7 Commissioner Xavier Suarez said: “We are happy to provide this boating community with a fresher and new looking marina. This renewed facility is more accessible than ever, easier to use and will continue to meet the recreational needs of boaters for many years to come.”

The marina has also added a new entrance and several new security features, such as eight-foot-high fencing around the perimeter and dry boat storage and wet slip areas, electronic gates that open and close via a key card, and non-motorized pedestrian gates that allow for emergency or occasional egress. The dry boat storage area also has new inside lighting fixtures and new HD security cameras and lamp posts for its parking lot.

All parking areas were re-surfaced and re-striped and have new wheel stops and traffic signage. The grounds have a new automatic irrigation system and new landscaping throughout that includes Emerald sod (a top golf course turf known as Zoysia) and an assortment of native trees, such as Palms, Oaks, Royal Poincianas, and Gumbo Limbos. There are also new concrete walkways throughout the site, creating a seamless connection to marina facilities.

Miami-Dade County Parks worked in conjunction with KVH Architects, Laura Llerena and Associates, Inc., and ABC Construction, Inc. to complete the improvements.

Miami-Dade County Parks Department Director Jack Kardys added: “Miami-Dade Parks is committed to meeting the needs of the boaters that use our marina facilities. These enhancements will enable us to provide the boating public with a better overall boating experience.”

The total cost for the marina restorations and improvements was $8,060,000. Funding was provided by the Building Better Communities General Obligation Bond Program, Capital Outlay Reserve Funds, FIND, and the Marina Capital Improvements Fund.

Crandon Park Marina is near some of the most spectacular fishing and diving opportunities in the United States. The marina features a dock master complex with a bait-and-tackle and shower and laundry facilities, 425 wet slips, 10 commercial slips, moorings, and dry dock storage. Boat rentals and charter fishing excursions are available.

The facility is conveniently situated on the Intercoastal Waterway (at Mile Marker 73) and nearby Miami-Dade Parks’ Crandon Park Beach, Crandon Park Golf Course and the Crandon Park Tennis Center.

For information about Crandon Park Marina, call (305) 361-1281, or visit www.miamidade.gov/parks.

Soccer training

Inter Academy Florida is the first official youth soccer training program sanctioned by one of the best soccer clubs in the world, Italy’s F.C. Internazionale (widely known as Inter Milan).

Inter Academy Florida features a former Italian pro player, Riccardo Ferri, fronting the entire program, which will be available in Miami-Dade County.

This academy, geared for boys and girls, age 4-17, is the result of years of careful planning and aims at passing onto young players the expert training philosophy and methodology used by Italy’s F.C. Inter adult and youth national teams.

Programs offered by Inter Academy Florida are divided into three different options: Camp, Elite Academy, Recreational.

Day sessions run 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, and Evening sessions are 5-7 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Pinecrest: Evelyn Greer Park, 8200 SW 124th St., Miami, 33156.

Day Session 1: June 30-July 3

Day Session 2: July 14-18

Evening Session: July 14-18

Coral Gables: Ponce de Leon Middle School , 5801 Augusto St., Miami, 33146.

Day Session 2: July 7-11

Evening Session: July 7-11

For details about programs, dates and events, visit: www.interacademyflorida.com/register.

Archbishop Curley sports camp

Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep will offer a summer sports camp for students in grades 6 through 9 through July 18.

The Summer Knights Athletic Camp teaches the fundamentals of sports and competition with each week focusing on a new area including: basketball, football, volleyball, tennis, soccer, softball, baseball, and wrestling.

ACND Athletic Director Greg Magner, a Miami-Dade County Football Coach of the Year, heads the camp. Instructors have between five and 40 years coaching experience. The camp costs $100 per week with discounts for multiple weeks booked.

Visit www.acnd.net/SummerKnights for information or to register online.

Florida Christian lacrosse

Florida Christian School Athletic Director Ed Riggan, announced that FCS Athletics will offer lacrosse at the JV level for the spring of the 2014-15 school year. For information call 305-226-8152 or visit www.floridachristian.org.

Suniland cheerleading, tackle football

The Suniland Optimist Club Sundevils have registration for tackle football and cheerleading for the 2014 Miami Xtreme Youth League season.

Cheer registration is 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesdays thru July 8 and noon-4 p.m. Saturdays thru July 5 at Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy. (US1) Pinecrest, 33156.

Ages 5-15. Registration fee is $160 for the season that starts in July and runs thru December. For information, contact Cheer Commissioner Roca Nova at 305-733-9872 or e-mail at sunilandsundevils@aol.com

Football registration is 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and noon-4 p.m. Saturdays thru July 5 at Suniland Park.

Ages 5-14. The fee is $160 for the season that starts in July and runs thru December.

For information, call Football Commissioner Jose Regalado at 305-458-1966 or e-mail sunilandsundevils@aol.com.

Visit WWW.SUNILANDSUNDEVILS.ORG.

Kendall Hammocks cheerleading, tackle football

The Kendall Hammocks Warriors announces the registrations dates and times for the 2014 tackle football and cheerleading season in the Miami Xtreme Youth League.

Registration is open to boys and girls, age 5-14. Must turn 14 after Aug 1 .

A copy of birth certificate, 2x2 color face photo and a 2014 physical is needed by July 30 but is not required at time of registration. Potential players must be present during the registration process to be weighed in, and cheerleaders will be sized for uniforms.

The tackle teams are based on age and weight. Cheerleaders are based only on age.

Tackle Registration Fee: $180

Fee includes use of equipment, helmet, shoulder pads, home and away uniform at the end of the season the player keeps the home jersey, participation award, secondary insurance, referee cost, county and league fees. Fee also includes yearly one day NFL Tullock Camp.

Tackle Military Discount: As part of giving back and honoring the real Warrior heroes, the league offers a 15 percent discount with proper military ID.

Rookie Camp: Free with paid registration fee. Camp, an introduction to tackle football, is for new players.

Cheerleading Information: For detailed information on the cheer registration fee and cheer gear packages, email Cheerleading Commissioner Alicia Zamorano at Cheer.4Warriors@aol.com. A mini camp is in June for a nominal fee.

Planned include new uniforms for cheerleaders and also a cheerleading competition at Disney’s Wide World of Sports aside from the local competitions.

Registration and practices are at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122 Ave. Practice begins 6:30 p.m. on July 7.

For added tackle information, email Kendall Hammocks Football and Optimist President Mike Pintado at khwfootball@aol.com or visit the web site at www.khwarriors.org

The tackle and cheerleading programs consist of an all volunteer group under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks.

More events, leagues, programs

Miami Fury women’s football

The Miami Fury women’s tackle football season is underway. Home games are at North Miami Athletic Stadium on the FIU North Campus, 2555 NE 151 St.

For the past 12 years, the Miami Fury has represented South Florida, while providing an opportunity for female athletes to fulfill the dream of playing organized football at the highest level. Sports have really transformed where adults, especially women, now have the opportunity to excel into the Global market as athletes.

They practice at 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Southwest Broward Jr. Athletic Association Complex, 6210 SW 33rd St., Miramar.

Opportunities are available with the Miami Fury season from April-July, and volunteering can continue year round. For volunteering, community service hours, tickets and more, contact Miami Fury Owner Gayla Harrington at 786-229-7487 or info@miamifuryfootball.com.

ThunderPlex

Thunder Athletix and Brain Gymnasium LLC teamed to offer a complete fitness program of body and mind at the new ThunderPlex, 1440 NW 82 Ave. in Doral.

Students can improve their basketball skills and physical fitness, as well as strengthen their academic skills through specialized tutoring programs. They can have fun and finish their homework.

The mission is to teach the principles, fundamentals and basic skills of the game to children age 5-17.

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

For information on special packages, after school programs and summer programs,

visit www.jointhunder.com ; contact@jointhunder.com or call 786-505-5585.

For information on Brain Gymnasium, visit www.braingymnasium.org or call 305-788-7339.

Tennis

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 www.USTAFloridaFoundation.com.

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.

Marlins Jose’s Heroes

Tickets to the José’s Heroes Fan Zone are available each time Miami Marlins star pitcher José Fernandez takes the mound at Marlins Park.

For $16, fans receive:

A ticket in the José’s Heroes Fan Zone (Left Field Bullpen Reserved)

A José’s Heroes T-shirt

A ‘K’ Card to wave when José records a strikeout

Go to

http://miami.marlins.mlb.com/mia/ticketing/joses_heroes.jsp?partnerId=ed-8012831-665489153

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 tours@marlins.com. 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 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, 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 www.miamirugbykids.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 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 www.miamisoccer5.com.

Soccer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southern Soccer Coalition-AYSO (kendallsoccer.com) 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 www.jointhunder.com Registration is now open. Email contact@jointhunder.com 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 Tamiamibasketball@gmail.com 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 www.rebelleathletics.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. 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 admanUSA@aol.com 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 cbsportsclub.com 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).

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