Sports Scene: Miami Marlins, Miami Herald honor William Alvarez, Peter Amaro, Austin Pollak, Ryan Santiago, Dana L. Williams

07/12/2014 12:00 AM

07/10/2014 10:39 PM

William Alvarez (King’s Christian School), Peter Amaro (Conchita Espinosa Academy), Austin Pollak (Miami Country Day School), Ryan Santiago (Herbert Ammons Middle School) and Dana L. Williams (Madie Ives Elementary School) were awarded for being the Miami Marlins/Miami Herald Team Player Honorees before the Marlins/Chicago Cubs game at Marlins Park.

The program once again recognizes South Florida youth baseball and softball players for doing well in school and displaying sportsmanship on the diamond. Each honoree received a certificate of achievement and a Marlins autographed card presented by Marlins closer Steve Cishek during a recognition ceremony on the field near the backstop before the game. They posed for photos with Cishek and Billy the Marlin.

YouTube video of the ceremony

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvCDWHH8C5Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2k18IR1UAA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-eWRCDa64w

About the honorees

• William Alvarez, 8, who recently completed third grade at King’s Christian School in Miami, has been on the Principal’s Honor Roll since first grade.

This past school year, Williams earned the Physical Fitness Award, made the Principal’s List, won a state Creative Writing Award, garnered a Superior Award at the Junior Fine Arts Festival and received a Responsibility Award. He also won the King’s Kid Award, voted by his classmates as the student who best exemplifies a consistent Christ-like spirit.

King’s Christian School teacher Melanie Pereira said: “William Alvarez was in my third grade class this past year and has not only excelled in every area academically, but has also shown integrity and good camaraderie. He earned the Principal’s List and was also selected by his classmates for a good character award. He is a very hard-working and humble young man.”

King’s Christian School Principal Debbie Hew added: “William is an exceptional young man who is not just hard-working, high-achieving and athletic, but he is also diligent, respectful, trustworthy and extremely sweet. He was selected by his peers as the student who is the best example in his class. Well done.”

An outstanding student, he has also succeeded on the field. He is playing pitcher and shortstop for the Tigers Elite 8-and-under travel team. A caring kid, William loves baseball and school and always gives his all, making his family, coaches, teachers and teammates proud.

Tigers Elite Coach Tony Perez said: “In the years of coaching I have dedicated to youth sports, I have had the privilege of guiding and influencing many young athletes not only on the game of baseball but more importantly in the ‘game’ of life. As with all mentors, we strive to instill good sportsmanship, leadership and humility among so many other qualities. But every so often, a special athlete comes to us who shines not only through his talent but equally so, through his inherent attributes.

“William Alvarez is an inspiring young man who is passionate in all he undertakes -- both on the field and in the classroom. This talented little boy exemplifies leadership abilities balanced with assertiveness and compassion that many of us as adults pursue in our lives. It is with great honor and pride that we, his coaches, congratulate Will for his accomplishments and thank him for being an inspiration to us all.”

William recently led Tigers Elite to a league championship at Tamiami Park while going undefeated at 24-0. He also helped Tigers Elite win the championship at the USSSA Spring Slam Tournament where he was named MVP.

His favorite baseball players are Jose Fernandez and Derek Jeter.

• Peter Amaro, 13, who recently completed eighth grade at Conchita Espinosa Academy in Miami, is a true example of sportsmanship.

Peter learned the game while representing All Sports (2008-11), Miami Pro Instruction 2011-14), Conchita Espinosa Academy Baseball (2010-14). He helped teams win the Disney’s Turn Back the Clock Championship, MYBA League Championship, YMCA Park League Championship, Christmas Craze Tournament Championship, Kendall Craze Championship, Bird Lake Championship, and Myrtle Beach Ripken Experience.

He will continue his baseball journey on the school level in the fall at St. Brendan High School.

Conchita Espinosa Academy Coach Francis Fernandez said: “For the past three years, Peter Amaro has been a true leader of Conchita Espinosa Academy's Middle School baseball team. Peter's leadership is reflected in the fact that he has been our team captain for three years. He always leads by example, giving his best effort, whether on the mound, in the field or at the plate. And, even more importantly, Peter provides leadership through his positive and supportive actions and words with his teammates. He is the player that coaches love to have on their team.”

Miami Pro Instruction Coach Juan Butch Caricero added: “It has been my pleasure to have watched Peter grow into the person he is today. He has amazing passion and ability to play the game of baseball, but most importantly he has the heart that makes him a competitor and a quality individual, which offers compassion and support of all his teammates.”

Peter is also a very important part of the school’s morning news crew on CTV. He was a CTV co-anchor during the 2012-13 school year and an anchor in the 2013-14 school year.

Jose Companioni, his CTV advisor and history teacher, said: “I am employed at Conchita Espinosa Academy as a seventh and eighth grade teacher. I have been with the academy for the 11 years. I met Peter Amaro as a young baseball player during a weekend faculty student baseball game. At that time, he must have been in fourth grade. Since then, I have seen him grow and mature. During the last two years, I have had him in my homeroom. As a homeroom teacher, I spend more time with my class than with the other students that I teach. Consequently, I have spent a lot of time with Peter. So, in the last two years I have gotten to know Peter much better.

“Based on that, I have come to learn that Peter is a young man with great character. Like children of his age, he makes mistakes, but what sets him apart from many students is that he freely acknowledges his mistakes and works to correct them. He is honest and caring. On many occasions, I have witnessed Peter place his own interest behind that of his classmates and friends. He is always helpful and cooperative. I am very happy and proud of the young man that he has become, and the adult he is projecting to be.”

• Austin Pollak, 14, who recently completed eighth grade at Miami Country Day School, is an extremely hard worker on and off the field. As a seventh and eighth grader, he has started every game for the Miami Country Day School varsity (high school level) baseball team. He accomplished this while maintaining A’s and B’s throughout both years to make the Directors List for academic achievement.

In addition to his studies, Austin practices baseball each day for hours.

In seventh grade, he was the varsity team’s Rookie of the Year. He was also named Third Team All-Conference in the South Florida Baseball Conference. He has been nominated for the school’s Athlete of the Week twice.

Miami Country Day School Athletic Director Chuck Sennett said: “It has been a pleasure to watch Austin’s progression and improvement in baseball. He has the ability to play multiples positions [catcher, pitcher, third base, second base, first base] at a high level and is going to be a major offensive contributor in the next four years.

“As an eighth grader on the varsity team, Austin started every game at third base and was the team’s No.5 hitter. He plays the game with a tremendous about of pride, compassion and competitiveness. In addition, Austin trains all year with hopes that he will one day compete collegiately and beyond.”

Before playing varsity baseball for the school, Austin received the Spartan Award for the Miami Country Day Middle School baseball team. He was an all-star for North Miami Beach Optimist and played for Extreme Academy. He also competed for the Miami Sugar Kings in the TBS National Championship and the Elite 32 World Series.

Austin has also served as a member and secretary of the Reach For The Stars Foundation (r4stars.org), which supports individuals and their families in their fight against Cystic Fibrosis. Most recently, Austin has been elected to student government at school and will serve as a class rep in his Freshman year.

Austin continues his hard work this summer by playing on two different summer ball teams, attending various tournaments and practicing. His dream is to play in the Major Leagues; however he also realizes that his academic career is just as important and hopes to focus on studies related to sports and entertainment.

• Besides starring this year as a baseball player in the Kendall Hammocks Optimist League and Tamiami Youth Baseball Association, Ryan Santiago helped lead the Herbert Ammons Middle School softball team to the semifinals of the Miami-Dade County Softball Championships.

The 13-year-old, who recently completed eighth grade, also starred off the field.

Ryan was selected for entrance into Coral Reef Senior High School which is one of the best schools in the country. Part of that selection was because of his academic prowess as a Honor Roll student with a high average (A’s and B’s for the third quarter).

Mrs. Browman, one of Ryan’s teachers, said: “I have had the privilege of having Ryan in my eighth grade US History-Advanced class at Herbert A. Ammons Middle School, an International Baccalaureate-MYP program. As an IB-MYP school, we have a very demanding curriculum. Ryan has not only been able to meet these high academic expectations, but has done so while being a student athlete. Ryan is not only a scholar athlete, but is an unselfish team player both on and off the field, always being eager to assist his classmates and go the extra mile. It has been my honor to have had the opportunity to teach this remarkable young man.”

Ryan also handles the demands and responsibilities of many baseball teams as he works on being the best player and person on and off the field. As good as he is academically, he is also an outstanding pitcher who has thrown three no-hitters this year. Batting, he hit 300-330 foot shots at Hammocks and Tamiami parks.

Former Kendall travel baseball coach Alex Gonzalez said: “I had the privilege of coaching Ryan for a short period, but during that time Ryan showed great ethics for the game of baseball, followed every instruction he was given and demonstrated his love for the game and his talent. It was a real pleasure coaching Ryan.”

Currently, Ryan is competing for the Coral Reef freshmen summer team.

• Dana L. Williams, 7, recently completed second grade at Madie Ives Elementary School in Ives Estates.

Getting along well with his coaches and teammates, Dana plays first and third base for the Hallandale PAL Yankees. He has great compassion for the game and helps his teammates show sportsmanship, something he displays on and off the field.

Coach Eric of the Hallandale Yankees said: “Since day one Dana has proven to be a team player. He was always ready and willing to play any position he was assigned. He was motivated and never missed a game.”

A very good student, he earns As and Bs.

Mrs. McCarthy, Dana’s second grade teacher, said: “Dana is a very bright young man who continued to excel in academics throughout the year. He also showed great manners and was always helpful toward his classmates. Though I'm very proud but not surprised that he is being recognized, because he is a model student.”

Golf

Chloe Horton of Coral Gables won the American Junior Golf Association KPMG Stacy Lewis Open in Bentonville, Ark.

In winning her first AJGA title, Horton bested a top-notch field of 34 girls, many of whom are ranked, including Mexico’s Maria Fassi (56th, Polo Golf Rankings).

Horton fired even-par 216 (71-71-74) at Lost Springs Golf and Athletic Club. She finished ahead of runner-up Clarie Cameron of Martinsville, Ind., by two strokes. Fassi tied for third.

Horton will be a senior at Ransom Everglades School. She was a Miami Herald All-Dade high school first team selection last season.

Lewis, who played collegiately at the University of Arkansas, is on the LPGA Tour.

Tennis volunteer

Miami’s Robert Gomez -- one of the top tennis coaches in Florida and one of the state’s top volunteers in furthering the junior competitive tennis structure in the Sunshine State -- is the USTA Florida Volunteer of the Month.

Gomez is a long-time junior coach and event organizer, and as a volunteer member of the USTA Florida Junior Competitive Committee, he has for the last eight years helped guide the direction of the highest levels of junior competition in Florida.

In the last two years, he has upped his commitment as a member of the USTA Florida Coaches Commission, a partnership between the USTA Florida Section and the USTA national body to enhance coaching, junior development and programs and junior tennis leadership in Florida.

Gomez has also been instrumental in seeing that the USTA Florida Section adheres closely to the new USTA National Junior Competition Structure that debuted in 2014. The USTA National Junior Competition Structure is designed to maximize a player's competitive experiences, whether at the national, regional, sectional or district level. Players advance to higher levels as they earn their way through the competitive pathway, with a renewed importance on USTA Sectional play, and a quota system that places more importance on a section's strength of competition over size.

Gomez, based at the Biltmore and Salvadore Park tennis centers in Coral Gables, recently won the Touring Coach of the Year award from the United States Professional Tennis Association Florida Division, presented during the joint USPTA Florida/USTA Florida Semi-Annual Meetings at the Club Med-Sandpiper resort in Port St. Lucie.

Kendall Hammocks baseball

The Kendall Hammocks Optimist baseball program announces registrations dates and times for the fall season.

Registrations Information:

Divisions: T-Ball, 6U, 8U, 10U, 12U, 14U

Boys and girls, age 3-14, are eligible with age determined using May 1, 2014

Registration is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. July 26, August 2, 9, 16 and 23 at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122 Ave.

Copy of birth certificate is required for age verification only, during registration. Fee is $190.

The fall season is scheduled to start Sept. 6. For information email khobaseball@aol.com or visit www.khobaseball.org

The KHO Baseball program is under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks and is an all volunteer organization.

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 recreationaly. 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.

Golf

The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department will continue the Mayor’s Cup Youth Golf Series in July.

A series of two unique summer golf competitions, for boys and girls, includes the “Mayor’s Cup Youth Golf Tournament” for seasoned golfers, 17 and younger, and the “Mayor’s Cup Youth SNAG Golf Challenge” for beginner golfers, 14 and younger.

They are part of the Youth Sports Championship Series, an initiative of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez aimed at increasing participation in youth athletics. Registration is now open for both competitions.

As a father, grandfather and lifetime advocate of the long-term health benefits of regular exercise for children, Mayor Gimenez knows first-hand the esteemed values developed from continuous involvement in athletics.

“Youth sporting events, such as the Mayor’s Cup Youth Golf Series, are a great way for children to learn how to play and compete in a sport,” he said. “Through sports like golf, they also learn life-skills such as good sportsmanship, teamwork, responsibility, and discipline, which are the core ingredients for successful living.”

• Mayor’s Cup Youth Golf Tournament and Championship (17 and younger)

Sponsored by Golf Miami-Dade and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade

Below are remaining dates and locations of two remaining qualifying tournaments. Advance registration is required. The cost is $10 per player. Tournaments tee off at 11 a.m.

July 13: Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne (18-hole site), 6700 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne

July 20: Greynolds Golf Course (9-hole site), 17530 W Dixie Hwy., North Miami Beach

The format for the Youth Golf Tournament is individual stroke play and by age division: 12-and-younger, 13-15, 16-17. Top golfers from each of the five qualifying tournaments will compete in the Mayor’s Cup Golf Championship on Aug, 10 at Crandon Golf.

• Mayor’s Cup Youth SNAG Golf Challenge and Championship (6-14)

Sponsored by Golf Miami-Dade, Jack Nicholas Learning League, 2 Up Golf Club of Miami, Inc., and Golfing Gals

The innovative “Starting New At Golf” program offer players of all ages and abilities the opportunity to learn and play the game of golf in almost any environment. Since 2013, SNAG/JNLL (Jack Nicholas Learning League) has been a component of the Miami-Dade County Parks’ Fit2Play after-school and summer camp curriculum.

The format uses lighter, kid-friendly golf clubs, Velcro balls, targets, and other teaching tools.

Youth SNAG Golf teams will consist of four players and be co-ed, having at least one boy and one girl on a team. Teams in the 6-9 and 10-14 age groups are invited to participate in one of these regional SNAG Golf Challenges 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., on July 22.

North Region: Gwen Cherry Park, 7090 NW 22 Ave., Miami

Central Region: Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24 St., Miami

South Region: Goulds Park, 11350 SW 216 St., Miami

Registration is free and required by July 21. Age-appropriate golf equipment will be provided. The regional SNAG Golf Challenges will culminate in the Mayor’s Cup Youth SNAG Golf Championship 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 11 at Tamiami Park.

To register for the Mayor’s Cup Youth Golf Series competitions and for more information, visit www.PlayMiami.org, or contact Chris Evans at 305-755-7885 or ChrisEv@MiamiDade.gov.

Thunder Summer Camp

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

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

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.

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 2: July 14-18

Evening Session: July 14-18

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

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.

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 began 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 information visit www.jointhunder.com

Registration is 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).

Join the Discussion

Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service