Miami’s Nicolas Aixala (Conchita Espinosa Academy), Bal Harbour’s Maria Alvarez (Miami Country Day School), Miami Beach’s Sebastian Vidal-Casanova (St. Patrick School), Davie’s Emily Davidovic (Hochberg Preparatory School) and Hialeah’s Ulises Hernandez III (Our Lady of the Lakes School) were honored on the court as the Miami Heat/Miami Herald March Academic/Sportsmanship Team Players in conjunction with Gatorade at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Youth league coaches, team reps, school coaches, administrators, teachers and family members nominated South Florida recreational, travel league, elementary school, middle school or junior varsity basketball players who exhibit sportsmanship and display good grades or improvement in the classroom.
They were congratulated by Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley, guard Goran Dragic and forward Henry Walker before the Heat’s win against the Portland Trailblazers.
Each honoree received two game tickets, a Heat T-shirt, an award certificate.
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About the honorees
Nicolas Aixala, 13, of Miami is an eighth grader at Conchita Espinsoa Academy in Miami.
He helped the Cougars’ boys’ basketball team go 15-1, finishing runner-up in the Greater Miami Athletic League.
Carlos Salvat, athletic director of Conchita Espinosa Academy, said: “Nicholas has been in the school from kindergarten to eighth grade. He maintained an ‘A’ average academically. He has participated in varsity basketball, cross country, track & field and flag football. He is a member of the National Junior honor Society and exemplifies the true meaning of student athlete.”
Nicolas displays sportsmanship and leadership. He is a dedicated student and role model for his peers. He not only does well competing for his school but also for Thunder Athletics in Doral.
Bal Harbour’s Maria Alvarez, 14, is an eighth grader who starts on the Miami Country Day High School girls’ varsity basketball team in Miami Shores. She played a vital role on the team’s state championship run last season as a seventh grader and did the same as an eighth grader for the Spartans to earn back-to-back state titles.
Maria helped the Spartans capture the school’s first state championship in a team sport last season. In the championship game, she was outstanding, scoring a team-high 15 points (5 of 6 on 3-pointers) against Seffner Christian. She scored 10 points in the first half with two 3-pointers in a victory over Seffner Christian in the 2015 state finals.
Miami Country Day School Athletic Director Chuck Sennett said: “Maria is a full-time basketball player and played a vital role on the team’s state championship run last season as a seventh grader. She won the team’s Rookie of the Year Award last season.”
Sebastian Vidal-Casanova, 14, of Miami Beach is an eighth grader at St. Patrick Catholic School in Miami Beach. He is a point guard for the school’s basketball team. He also plays AAU basketball for Team Pete Blue Rays.
Sebastian averaged 12 points per game as he led St. Patrick over St. Timothy 43-33, St. Hugh 34-24 and Belen Jesuit 45-35 to win the Tournament of Champions of the Archdiocese of Miami.
For the season, the co-captain led the team in scoring, assists and steals and was third in rebounds.
St. Patrick School Athletic Director and Coach Art Fernandez said: “Sebastian is a leader with a huge heart and spirit you do not find in many 14-year-olds, He is always available to help with the younger teams at our school.”
Emily Davidovic, 13, of Davie is a seventh grader at Hochberg Preparatory School in North Miami Beach.
Emily has been a leader on Hochberg’s elementary school and middle school girls’ basketball, volleyball and soccer teams. Away from school, Emily was selected an all star in the Plantation Athletic Basketball League.
A long-time straight A student, taking advanced classes, Emily is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and the school’s Student Government. She recently organized a drive for Jafco to supply children in need with athletic equipment, because she feels that sports is so important and wanted to share her love of it.
Hochberg Preparatory School Athletic Director Andy Degen said: “Although she is not physically gifted, she is one of our most fundamentally sound players in every sport. She works so hard and easily gets the mental part of every sport.”
Hialeah’s Ulises Hernandez III, an eighth grader, led the Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Middle School boys’ varsity basketball team in Miami Lakes.
Ulises, 14, the team leader in assists, had a team-high 121 points, averaging 15 points per game to lead the Cheetahs to the school’s first All Catholic Conference Division title since 2009.
Having a very good conference championship game including scoring the winning basket at the buzzer, Ulises was named conference MVP. He also plays in the Ball Go Get It Youth Basketball League in Hialeah. Ulises earns A’s and B’s in the classroom.
Talk about doing a lot with a little. The defending FBA champs Miami Midnites were short-staffed with only seven players available in the team’s Florida Basketball Association season opener at the Marion County Showtime Stallions in Ocala.
To make matters worse, with the Midnites trailing 82-77 late in the third quarter, a squirmish broke out between Terence Shelman and a Stallions player, which cleared both benches. Miami's Shelman and Sylbrin Robinson were ejected from the game, and four Stallions players were also thrown out, which left the Midnites with five players. At the end of the third quarter, it looked like the game may get away from the Midnites, behind 92-82.
The story of the evening was the "never say die" attitude of Miami, led by the heroics by three Midnites players. Former FIU guard Ray Taylor broke out for 50 points and 13 assists, followed by former Florida Memorial University guard George Gray's 46 points and 12 assists, and Miramar native Kenny Bellinger’s 29 points and 10 assists.
The three players accounted for 125 of the 153 points scored (81 percent) as they carried the Midnites on their backs to erase the deficit in the fourth quarter and reclaim a one-point advantage, 111-110, after a Bellinger triple. However, give the Showtime Stallions credit, as they would not relent either, retaking a 121-116 lead with 3:40 left to play. The Midnites again fought back and trailed by two points, 133-131, with 17.8 seconds left in regulation. Center Keion Palmer sent the game into overtime with a layup.
In the OT, Miami opened with a 7-0 run, but the Stallions answered with their own 8-0 run to take a 141-140 lead. Miami pulled ahead for good as Taylor who iced the game with a nifty ankle breaking layup to put Miami ahead 151-147 with 13 seconds left in the game. Miami would seal a 153-147 OT win to secure their its victory of the 2015 FBA season.
Miami heads to Shreveport, La. from April 6-13 for the ABA Final Four. The No.3 Midnites will face the No.2 Jacksonville Giants on April 7 in the first game of the ABA Final Four.
The Miami Midnites, established in 2014, are the official Minor League affiliate of the reining Israeli Basketball Super League runner-up and 2012-13 champions Maccabi Haifa basketball team. In their debut season, the Midnites won the 2014 Florida Basketball Association championship.
The Midnites will compete year-round, playing home games at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie. For information on the Miami Midnites, visit the team's official website at
Barry University men's basketball player Yunio Barrueta was named NCAA Division II Honorable Mention All-American by Division II Bulletin.
It was his second honorable mention All-American selection this season. He was also named College Sports Information Directors of America Honorable Mention All-American.
Barrueta, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound junior forward from Miami, averaged a team-best 18.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Barrueta had 14 double-doubles and scored 20 or more points in 14 games. He had a career-high 31 points at Palm Beach Atlantic and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds twice, including against Union in the NCAA Tournament win.
Barrueta has 300 rebounds, which ranks second in school single season history. He scored 581 points, which ranks fourth.
Next season, Barrueta has a chance to become the fourth player in school history to score 1,000 points with 500 rebounds. He recorded his 500th rebound this year.
Barrueta, a Hialeah Gardens High School grad, is a former Miami Herald All-Dade first team selection.
Nova Southeastern basketball
Nova Southeastern University women's basketball forward Jasmine Wilkins of Miami gained national recognition as she was chosen by Division II Bulletin as a member of their NCAA Division II All-American Third Team.
In her final season with the squad, Wilkins led the 26-7 Sharks in scoring and rebounding this season while finishing third in DII in field goal percentage. She also recently garnered Honorable Mention All-American status by Daktronics, Inc., with both national honors coming after she earned the double nod of Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year and SSC Defensive Player of the Year.
Wilkins, a Hialeah High School grad, is a former Miami Herald All-Dade first team selection.
The Miami Open and the City of Miami Beach Centennial held Kids Day events, featuring some of the biggest names in tennis along with hundreds of kids, adults and families joining in the on-court play.
During the Miami Open at The Tennis Center of Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, the entertainment ranged from a dancing Victoria Azarenka, the former No.1 player in the world, to top American John Isner hitting lower-compression “orange balls” with kids. Coaching legend Nick Bollettieri also participated on the Grandstand stadium court, offering an inspirational speech to kids who afterward took to the court to play through different “tennis stations” for Kids Day, presented by Lexus.
The early-morning event kicked off a week of on-court activities for kids, adults and families run by USTA Florida throughout the first week of the Miami Open.
“Every player should get involved in something like the Kids Day; it’s very fun for me to see kids playing tennis at that very young age,” Isner told USTA Florida. “When I was their size, I was doing things like that.”
The 84-year-old Bollettieri bluntly spoke to kids about maintaining their character, staying out of trouble and realizing they have the ability to achieve from any station in life, advantaged or disadvantaged.
“I want them to come away with the message that they have hope to achieve in life,” Bollettieri said. “They can make it; they can come through adversity and no feeling sorry for themselves. It’s not to go out and say ‘I’m going to try and make it;’ it’s ‘I will make it.’”
Kids, adults and entire families will have a chance to hit together on the mini-courts throughout the first week at the Miami Open.
USTA Florida moved the Kids Day party to South Beach, where it hosted two courts on the beach as part of the City of Miami’s Centennial Celebration. Tennis teaching pros and volunteers split the two courts into eight mini-courts as hundreds of kids played games and rallied with USTA Youth Tennis kid’s-sized racquets, courts and lower-bouncing balls.
The courts were surrounded by elevated seating for fans for a later tennis exhibition by Milos Raonic, Donald Young and other ATP players, and from behind by a giant sound stage that featured acts such as Gloria Estefan, Wyclef Jean and Barry Gibb.
“It’s a unique event, and appropriate since tennis has been such a big part of Miami for such a long time,” said USTA Florida Miami-area Tennis Program Coordinator Cathy Nordlund. “We had almost 100 volunteers between the two events. We are a volunteer-driven organization and that showed today, getting racquets in the hand of so many kids.”
To find a play event near you, visit
For information on the City of Miami Beach Centennial, visit
Scheck Hillel sports
Scheck Hillel Community School named three outstanding athletes as its Student-Athletes of the Week.
Boys’ varsity volleyball player Bradley Moskovitz, a junior, is the team’s strongest outside hitter and demonstrates excellent power and consistency. His power hitting and net defense were key to the Lions victory over Riviera Prep. Moskovitz is also a dominant server, and he passes and covers well from the back row.
Girls’ varsity tennis player Alexa Cohen, an eighth grader, won three matches (singles and doubles versus Chaminade-Madonna and singles versus Miami Country Day at the No.1 position). Dealing with a shoulder injury, this was a great comeback for her.
Girls’ varsity flag football star Simi Serfati, a freshman, played an amazing game in the Lions first home game with two interceptions. Not only was she a defensive stalwart, she caught three passes on offense.
More events, leagues, programs
Kendall Hammocks flag football
The Kendall Hammocks NFL Flag Football program announces the registrations dates and times for the 2015 NFL Flag season.
Registration is open to boys and girls, age 5-16. Can’t turn 17 in 2015. Copy of birth certificate is requested for age verification only, during the registration process.
Teams are based by age only. Regular season is 12 games, and the season starts May 4.
NFL Flag Registration Dates:
April Registration fee: $125 -- Friday, April 10 and 24 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
Registration fee includes: NFL team reversible jersey, NFL flag belts with flags, secondary insurance, referee cost, and participation awards.
Discounted rates for head coaches. If interested in coaching, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tryouts and draft will be Saturday, May 2. Time chart by division can be found at the web site www.khwarriors.org
All registrations, practices and games are at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122 Ave.
The NFL Flag Football program is under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks and is an all volunteer organization, serving the community in sports for more than 26 years.
Palmetto Bay flag football
Palmetto Bay Broncos Flag Football is at Coral Reef Park.
Open to boys and girls, age 4-18. Register as an individual for $100 or as a team of 10 with a coach for $800.
Registration is 10 a.m.-noon April 11 near the concession stand.
Practice starts April 20. Practices and games are weekdays either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday.
In its 39 years, the Broncos have provided more than 7,000 children the opportunity to participate in an organized football and cheerleading program. Tackle football and cheerleading are under the Greater Miami South Florida Pop Warner League banner.
Visit Palmetto Bay Broncos
Cavaliers football, cheerleading
Registration is open for the Cavaliers Tackle Football and Cheerleading program for boys and girls, age 4-14, at Coral Gables High School. For information contact Jon at 305-923-7656 or visit www.playactionsports.org.
Optimist Club of Suniland Sports Conditioning is now-May 31 at Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy., Pinecrest.
Registration is 6-8 p.m. weeknights for boys and girls, age 5-15. Fee is $20 which covers T-shirt, insurance and awards. Contact Jose Regalado 305-458-1966 or email@example.com.
Howard Palmetto fundraiser
A night of simulated casino gaming action, food and drink is Saturday, April 18 to raise money for the Howard Palmetto 12U Aces baseball team. Funds raised that evening at the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame will enable the Aces to compete in a national tournament in June in Cooperstown, NY.
Hosted by K.C. Jones, president of the U.M. Sports Hall of Fame and a two-time Super Bowl winner with the Denver Broncos, the event will run from 6-10 p.m. at the Hall, 5821 San Amaro Dr. in Coral Gables (next to the Hecht Athletic Center).
Tickets are available in advance and at the door for $100 per player, which covers all food and drink, too. Social tickets for non-players are available for $50. Several prizes will be awarded at the end of the evening. All proceeds will benefit the Howard Palmetto Aces 12U Team, which is a non-profit organization.
“This is an opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of young Miami athletes and their families,” said K.C. Jones. “We welcome Howard Palmetto Aces supporters to the Hall of Fame for what will be a fun evening.”
Richard King, manager of the Howard Palmetto 12U Aces, said, “Our team is honored to represent the Howard Palmetto league at this prestigious tournament. On behalf of league officials, our team parents and the players, I would like to thank K.C. and the U.M. Sports Hall of Fame for providing a one-of-a-kind venue for our fundraiser. From this Hall we shall help our kids to compete in the shadows of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.”
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South Beach Triathlon
The 2015 South Beach Triathlon, produced and presented by Life Time - The Healthy Way of Life Company (NYSE: LTM) and part of the 11-race Life Time Tri Series, is returning Sunday, April 19 with the gorgeous backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and Miami Beach's Art Deco district.
Classic and International distances will start with a salt-water swim off the shores of South Beach, followed by a bike ride across the MacArthur Causeway into Miami and a run through South Beach.
Registration is open.
In addition, Triathlon weekend offers a series of support events including an Open Water Swim and First Timer Clinic at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, April 18 and the St. Jude Tot Trot, a 50-yard beach dash for children, age 3-5, and a 100-yard dash for children, age 6-9, at 10 a.m. Sunday, April 19 with all proceeds going to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
The South Beach Triathlon also features the CEO Challenge for business owners, Presidents and C-Level executives of companies with at least $1 million in annual revenue.
The race serves as a major fundraiser for St. Jude, which has raised more than $1 million through the South Beach Triathlon.
Registration for the South Beach Triathlon is $190 (International Individual), $275 (International Relay), $140 (Sprint Individual) and $225 (Sprint Relay) and can be processed at southbeachtriathlon.com.
For information and updates, visit
Sunshine State Games
Florida’s Sunshine State Games online registration is open for select sports of its 2015 Calendar of Events.
Now in its 36th year, the Sunshine State Games has become an amateur sports tradition in Florida and nationwide. All Floridians are welcome to compete in any of the more than 25 sports offered in 10 different Florida communities between April and November.
SSG strives to provide first-class facilities, a family-friendly atmosphere and professionally organized, yet affordable competition, for more than 10,000 athletes of all ages.
Online registration is open for select events, including three multi-sport festivals in Broward, Sarasota and Palm Beach counties at
Since making its debut in 1980, Florida’s Sunshine State Games has established itself as the Nation’s Longest-Running State Games.
SSG Basketball Championships, May 8-10, Alachua County
SSG Spring Festival, May 15-17, Broward County
SSG Sarasota County Festival, June 6-8
SSG Palm Beach County Festival, June 13-14
SSG Table Tennis Championships, June 20-21, Lakeland
SSG Water Polo Championships, June 26-28, Coral Springs
Entry fees vary by sport and registration deadlines are approximately two weeks prior to the competition date.
The Broward County Festival includes three sports: Figure Skating, Lacrosse, rugby.
The Sarasota County Festival features competition in seven sports; Archery, Canoe/Kayak, Disc Golf, Racquetball, Rowing, Synchronized Swimming and Ultimate.
The Sunshine State Games returns to West Palm Beach for the first time since 2002 when the Palm Beach County Festival offers eight sports; BMX Cycling, Fencing, Judo, Karate, Powerlifting, Taekwondo, Weightlifting and Wrestling.
“We look forward to working with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission to present the eight sports of the Palm Beach County Festival,” said Florida Sports Foundation Senior Vice President, Stephen Rodriguez. “The Palm Beach Convention Center will come alive the weekend of June 13-14 with seven sports being held in the building and over 1,000 athletes competing.”
Look for upcoming information about the 2015 Sunshine State Games events at
MLB Bat Girl contest
Nominate someone who is Going to Bat Against breast cancer.
Winners will receive MLB game tickets and the opportunity to be recognized on-field during the game. Vote for nominees affected by the disease.
Pitch, Hit & Run
Pitch, Hit & Run allows boys and girls, age 7-14, to showcase their baseball and softball skills, while also providing them the opportunity to advance through four levels of competition, including Team Championships at every Major League stadium or ballpark and the National Finals at the 2015 MLB All-Star Game.
Hosting a local competition is fun and free. Upon registering, an administrative kit is provided to each host including a handbook, strike zone banner, posters, awards and other materials needed to host the event.
♦ Free to the local host and local competitors
♦ Any coach, parent or adult volunteer can host a competition
♦ Local competitions can be offered in March, April or early May
♦ An exciting one-day community event that can take as little as 2-3 hours
Questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To support Miami Marlins star pitcher José Fernández on his road to recovery, the Marlins announce the return of the José’s Heroes season ticket package for the 2015 season.
For $499, José’s Heroes receive:
-A ticket to all 81 Marlins regular season home games. That’s about $6 a seat.
-A special edition José’s Heroes T-shirt each month.
-A complimentary ‘K’ Card!
-A meet-and-greet event with the man himself, José Fernández.
-Purchase the José’s Heroes season ticket package and travel to Marlins Park to support the Fish, 25 men strong.
The international sport Footgolf is being introduced to the South Miami-Dade community at Killian Greens Golf Club, 9980 SW 104th St.
Footgolf (18 holes) can be played in two hours and is a great source of exercise for those who enjoy kicking a soccer ball. Times are available everyday of the week after 4:30 p.m. to players of all skill levels, families and groups. Balls are available for rent for $5 to those who do not already own one.
Killian Greens is an accredited Footgolf course with the American Footgolf League. Call 305-271-0917.
USTA Florida will bring its Team Tennis Challenge series to South Florida on April 25-26 at Crandon Park Tennis Facility, 7300 Crandon Park in Key Biscayne.
The event -- open to boys and girls, age 7-18 -- is "BYOT" (bring your own team). Teams do not need to have prior participation in a local league to participate. USTA members and non-members are invited to participate, and all players will receive a complimentary lunch during the event.
“USTA Florida Team Tennis Challenges offer fewer restrictions, allowing more teams to participate,” said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. “They also give players who are not yet USTA members the opportunity to experience our events and programs, while offering a clear value proposition for our junior members.”
The two-day tournament will host divisions that will include 10-under advanced, 11-14, 14-18, with three skill divisions: novice, intermediate, advanced. All age 11 to 18 intermediate/advanced teams need a minimum of two boys and two girls. 10-and-under advanced and all novice teams are gender-blind with a minimum of four players and a maximum of eight players.
The 10-under age advanced and all novice divisions will play with the green-dot ball on a full-size court. Players ages 10 or younger must play in their natural age division. The green-dot ball will also be used in the older novice age divisions.
Registration is open, and coaches are encouraged to register teams early. The cost for early registration is just $25 for USTA members and $35 for non-members. Prices will increase two weeks prior to the event. Facilities and coaches who bring teams to the event will receive special incentives.
For information about Team Tennis Challenges, the facility/coach incentive program and a list of upcoming events visit:
Heads Up Football
USA Football’s Heads Up Football program for high schools and youth organizations will include sudden cardiac arrest protocols andHeads Up Blocking fundamentals in 2015.
Both topics are now included in USA Football’s Level 1 coaching education course and its high school certification course.
USA Football is the national governing body of the sport and educates more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the United States.
USA Football’s Heads Up Football program is supported by more than two dozen medical and football partners.
“Coaches should be prepared to respond to a life-threatening emergency if needed,” said Dr. Jonathan Drezner, past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and a member of USA Football’s Medical Advisory Committee.
“With prompt recognition, early CPR and use of an AED, sudden cardiac arrest is largely a survivable event if treated quickly. USA Football is committed to the safety of young athletes, and I am proud that a sudden cardiac arrest training module is being added to the Heads Up Football program. The module provides coaches the information they need to be prepared for sudden cardiac arrest.”
“Blocking is one of football’s basic skills that every player needs to be taught,” said Jeff Saturday, a former NFL All-Pro center and ESPN analyst. Saturday is a member of USA Football’s Football Advisory Committee.
“USA Football’s Heads Up Blocking technique helps coaches teach this fundamental – properly engaging with a defender, driving with the legs and maintaining the correct body position for effective and safer play. This is how blocking should be taught.”
Heads Up Football is a comprehensive collection of resources and medically approved protocols to establish important standards rooted in education to change behavior for the better.
In addition to sudden cardiac arrest and Heads Up Blocking, the program covers concussion awareness and recognition, heat and hydration protocols, proper tackling fundamentals and equipment fitting. More than 5,500 youth leagues and 750 high schools in 2014 participated in the program this past fall, benefiting nearly 1-million players.
Follow USA Football at www.facebook.com/usafootball
or on Twitter @USAFootball
NFL Football Matters
The National Football Foundation announced the launch of FootballMatters.org, a powerful new addition to the organization’s campaign to highlight the good in the game and the lifelong benefits to those who play it.
“Football makes a positive impact on so many levels, and we realized that we needed a centralized resource for capturing and subsequently promoting all the great football stories out there,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “FootballMatters.org provides us a potent platform for addressing that void and delivering compelling content directly to audiences who can help us amplify our messages about the value of football in producing leaders and creating educational opportunities.”
NFF Chairman Archie Manning added: “It’s just gratifying to be part of something that does so much good for our young people. The stories are out there, including the thousands of young kids who could not have gone to college but got some aid because of football, and their lives have been changed for the better. FootballMatters.org will enable us to directly capture those stories and inspire the next generation to further their educations.”
The NFF has linked with Arkleus Broadcasting, a Dallas-based full-service media company, to create the platform, which also encompasses a strong social media component to gain traction for the campaign.
“Arkleus is honored and thrilled to be chosen by such a prestigious American institution as the NFF to build and market an exciting new sports media property,” said Arkleus Broadcasting President Joe Shults. “We are passionately committed to helping the NFF in every way to protect, enhance, and ensure the future of football for generations to come.”
The site focuses on stories, videos, and franchises highlighting the very best in high school and college football, such as: Football Moms, Special Teams, Hook & Corporate Ladder, Man-to-Man, the Quote of the Day and many more. The site will also be the home to exclusive profiles of Campbell Trophy finalists, Leadership Award Winners, Courage Award Winners and all the honors associated with the NFF.
“We are really excited about the Football Matters initiative,” said Hatchell. “I want to thank everybody at Arkleus for their passion for the project. They have done a marvelous job of getting it up and running in a short amount of time, and we have already received great feedback.”
The site focuses on the stories that evoke the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal, character building and the drive for academic excellence that exemplifies many of the young men who play football and the families who support them.
You can learn more about the site and watch a video featuring NFF Chairman Archie Manning and NFF Board Members Jack Ford, Archie Griffin, Kevin Plank and Rod West by clicking here.
Former tight end Troy Drayton played nine seasons in the NFL, including 1996-99 with the Miami Dolphins, and he is the Dolphins’ youth program coordinator.
Drayton added a new title to his résumé — NAmbassador for Heads Up Football.
The Nand 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 NFoundation.
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 expanded to more than 600 youth leagues in 50 states. Of these leagues, 100 were assigned a former Nplayer mentor. Drayton served as a mentor to a local Heads Up League — the Tamiami Colts of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.
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.
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,
For information on Brain Gymnasium, visit www.braingymnasium.org or call 305-788-7339.
Thunder Basketball opened its new year-round facility at ThunderPlex, 1440 NW 82th Ave., Doral.
The 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 email@example.com or call 786-505-5585.
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 youth basketball registration is open for girls and boys ages 5 to 16.
Email Tamiamibasketball@gmail.com or call 305 -273-1145.
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.
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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
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.
Soccer 5 Academy Mini Soccer Program, also referred to as small-sided soccer, is 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.
For more information or to register, visit www.miamisoccer5.com.
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.
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.
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.
Miami-Dade Parks welcomes children with disabilities in its youth leagues. If you need accommodations to participate, call 305-735-7847 (V/TDD).
Submit info to Sports Scene
Sports Scene spotlights news and notes from youth sports activities in your neighborhood. The aim is to feature game notes and the accomplishments of athletes from Miami-Dade County.
We rely on the directors and coaches of each league, as well as community members, parents and schools to submit information. We accept photos but ask that everyone pictured be identified with a first and last name and the name of the team or park they represent.
Nominate youth baseball, softball players to be honored for academics, sportsmanship at Miami Marlins game
In an effort to recognize deserving South Florida youth baseball and softball players for doing well in school and displaying sportsmanship on the diamond, the Miami Marlins have once again partnered with The Miami Herald to co-sponsor the Team Player Spotlight on the Sunday Youth Sports pages in the Neighbors section of The Miami Herald in print and online.
Youth league coaches, team representatives, teachers, friends or family members can nominate youth baseball or softball players, who display sportsmanship and good grades or academic improvements. Eligible nominees are from the recreational in-house league or travel league or school league (elementary school or middle school aged) for any season of the year.
Honored players – selected by random drawing – will be invited to a Marlins game where they will receive a certificate of achievement and a Marlins item during a recognition ceremony at Marlins Park.
To nominate someone, e-mail Miami Herald Youth Sports Editor Jim Varsallone at
email@example.com or call 954-538-7153.