Charles Calli (Doctors Charter School), Damani Downs (Maddie Ives Elementary School), Connor Goodman (Miami Country Day School), Mason Koczwara (Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center) and Sofia Rodriguez (Springview Elementary School) are the Miami Marlins/Miami Herald Team Player Honorees for June.
These standout student athletes, who also display community involvement and sportsmanship, were congratulated by Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich and lovable mascot Billy the Marlin near home plate during a ceremony before the Marlins game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Marlins Park.
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 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.
Never miss a local story.
Each honoree received a certificate of achievement, two tickets, complimentary parking and an autographed Yelich card.
About the honorees
Charles Calli, 13, recently completed seventh grade as a scholar athlete at Doctors Charter School on the campus of Barry University in Miami Shores. Enrolled in honors/advanced courses, he maintains a B-plus average and competes for the school’s inaugural middle school baseball team.
Not giving up, Charles is a pitcher who, after Doctors Charter went 0-12, pitched the team to two consecutive victories.
Anthony Haderer, athletic director, Doctors Charter School, said: “Charles Calli displays what a student-athlete really is each and every day. Charles is a proud member of the National Junior Honor Society for his accomplishments in the classroom. He maintains A's and B's in all of his classes.
“In our inaugural baseball season here at Doctors Charter School, Charles took the mound and pitched a complete game while recording seven strikeouts to help lead his team to their first victory in school history 5-3 against Ransom Everglades. The following day, Charles scored two runs and stole four bases to help lead the team to their second straight victory over Hollywood Christian. Charles is a positive role model and teammate on and off the baseball field. I am pleased to have him as a part of our athletic program.”
Damani Downs, a 7-year-old at Maddie Ives Elementary School in North Miami Beach, competes for the FSU Seminoles in the 8U division of Pasadena Lakes Optimist baseball in Pembroke Pines.
Damani practices everyday, because he is also part of a travel baseball team. In school, he is registered in Gifted classes, earning A’s and B’s with perfect attendance. For a 7-year-old, he does exceptionally well with a busy schedule.
Ms. Jay, a teacher at Maddie Ives Elementary School, said: “It has been an honor watching him blossom into the intelligent and kind child that he is. He is fast learning and is not afraid to speak out when he knows there are other ways of completing a task at hand.
“Damani has earned all A's & B's and has perfect attendance. He goes out of his way to help others whether it be in the classroom or on the sports field. Damani Downs is a great candidate for this award. He speaks about baseball as if it's his life line, very passionate about the sport. He has told me that he is aspiring to be a professional baseball player.”
Connor Goodman, 13, is an outstanding student athlete at Miami Country Day School in Miami Shores. An eighth grader in 2014-15, Connor is already a starting infielder for the MCD High School varsity baseball team.
Miami Country Day School Athletic Director/Head Varsity Baseball Coach Chuck Sennett said: “At the beginning of the season, our coaching staff was unsure as to whether Connor would participate on the varsity or middle school team. After two weeks of practice, we decided to keep him as a part of the varsity squad but were a bit worried about the amount of time this eighth grader would get with the older kids.
“Connor worked as hard as anyone to earn playing time. He began the pre-season and regular season as the starting third baseman, hitting seventh or eighth in the order. Connor would eventually earn the starting shortstop position and would remain a starter at shortstop and third base the entire season – batting as high as fifth. He finished second on the team in batting average, second in on-base percentage and recorded some quality innings at shortstop. In addition, he was named to the South Florida Baseball Conference first team.”
Connor, who maintains an A-B average, is also the co-founder of the Miami Marlins MVP Program, and he is committed to helping the youth make positive choices.
Mason Koczwara, 9, who recently completed fourth grade at Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center in Bay Harbor Islands, competes for the Miami Marlins in North Miami Beach Little League.
Mason shows a tremendous amount of sportsmanship, and he never complains. He is an outstanding athlete and also a standout student. He made the Honor Roll all year and is involved in services throughout the community. He works tremendously hard on and off the field.
Frances Mora-Gonzalez, fourth grade teacher at Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center in Bay Harbor Islands, said: “Mason is a natural leader. He has a great attitude, helping other students become successful in and out of the classroom. He is caring and responsible and displays strong characteristics of a team player. He enjoys school and works hard everyday to be the best version of himself.”
Coach Kenny Fill of North Miami Beach Little League said: “Mason is an outstanding young man. He gives 100 percent on every play, but most importantly, he is a great teammate. Mason does not know what the word 'quit' means. His enthusiasm and hard work inspires all others around him on the field and in the dugout.”
Sofia Rodriguez, 10, is a standout student in the Gifted program at Springview Elementary School in Miami Springs.
Springview Elementary School teacher Jill Vizcaino said: “Sofia is an excellent student and hard worker. She takes great pride in her work and enjoys the feeling of satisfaction she receives from her accomplishments. Her hard work has paid off this year, as she has made the Principal’s Honor Roll. Sofia is a great role model and is well liked by her peers.”
In softball, she is very responsible, loves the game and never quits. She began playing with Miami Springs Little League and joined Team Crush two years ago.
Team Crush 10U Softball Coach Angel Torres said: “Sofia Rodriguez is a player I have been around and coached since she was at the early age of 6-years-old. She is 10-years-old now and has grown into a player/person that one would hope all kids would be like. Each season she is the first to show up at practice -- always wearing a bright smiling face and a glove. ‘Where do I go coach?’ as she always asks.”
Kendall Hammocks NFL flag football
The Kendall Hammock Optimist NFL Flag Football season concluded with champions and special awards in each division at Devonaire Park.
U6 Division: MVP: Noah Muniz (49ers). Champion: 49ers: Josiah Perez, Christian Lois, Harvel Jackson, Marcus Mesa, Noah Muniz, Giovanni Pineda, Alek Diaz, Ethan Hernandez, Enzo Zeledon, Maddox Toruno. Coaches Jorge Cespon and Carlos Perez.
U8 Division: MVP: Shawn James (Dolphins). Champion: Raiders: Ryan Garcia, Marcus Garcia, Daniel Prieto, Nicholas Prieto, Jordan Cordero, Justin Parson, Mario Mangana, Tyler Bourland, Aiden De Olivera. Coaches Marcus Garcia and Angel Cordero.
U10 Division: MVP: Marc Quarrie (49ers). Champion: Rams: Ryan Gonzalez, AJ Arellano, Mark Cohen, Jason Demetrius, Daniel Serralta, Anthony Castillo, Robert Perera, Aiden Seara, Gabriel Cifuentes, Amanda Jackson, Sidney Bisek-Seeber. Coach Raul Gonzalez.
U12 Division: MVP: Tedarius Strowbridge (Dolphins). Champion: Falcons: Pedro Casanova, Bryan Jacobson, Abel Carvajal, Sebastian Borges, Keylon Leno, Juston Jarro, Andrea Protti, Ryan Dominquez, Christian Ortiz, Zachary Hernandez. Coaches Pedro Casanova and Sean Morris.
U14 Division: MVP: Zach Chavez (Seahawks). Champion: Cowboys: Brandon Leon, Zeth Leon, David Serralta, Robert Swett, Daniel Pupiro, Aidan Chacon, Adrian Diaz, David Castillo, Brian De Zayas, Shaun Barrow, Marco Lopez, Max Villar. Coaches Doc Serralta and Pablo Leon.
Kendall Hammocks Optimist NFL Coach of the Year: Laz Corrales. Rookie Coach of the Year: Neil Vaughan.
Week No.6 results from the First Tee Miami-Dade Amateur Golf Association Summer Series at International Links Miami - Melreese Golf Course.
1st Flight (18 Holes, Blue Tees): Scott Martinez, 71; Cole Castro, 72; Paolo Ariano, 81.
2nd Flight (18 Holes White Tees): Nicolas Cimadevilla, 78; Drew Moscoso, 89; Eric Estape, 91.
4th Flight (9 Holes Red Tees): Alex Moscoso, 44; Danny Guillen, 45; Lance Jerauld, 45.
5th Flight (5 Holes Green Tees): Ricardo Pereira, 27; Hugo Senstrom, 27; Felipe Jikal, 28.
1st Flight (18 Holes Red Tees): Laura Lou, 76; Cassandra Chen, 76; Natalia Jimenez, 80.
3rd Flight (5 Holes Green Tees): Nicole Hecheverria, 31; Alessandra Lanz, 34; Sofia Cannon, 36.
Miami Midnites basketball
The Maccabi Bazan Haifa professional basketball team of the Israeli Basketball Super League signed shooting guard Kenny Bellinger II to a three-year contract through the 2017-18 season as a first-ever Call Up from Haifa’s official developmental team affiliate the Miami Midnites.
Bellinger, 23, appeared in a combined 26 games for the Miami Midnites in the American Basketball Association and the Florida Basketball Association, tallying 12.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 steals in 26.4 minutes per game.
“We are thrilled to have Kenny Bellinger become the first signee at Maccabi Haifa to have gone through our developmental system at the Miami Midnites,” said Maccabi Bazan Haifa Owner Jeff Rosen. “Kenny earned the nickname ‘Spider Man’ because he’s an electric player, who plays well above the rim. He is a very exciting athlete, who we anticipate will become a fan favorite in Haifa.”
Miami Midnites Head Coach Damon Wilcox said: “I'm very proud of Kenny and his promotion to Maccabi Haifa. He is a true testament to what playing for the Miami Midnites is all about. I believe that Haifa is getting a player who can really flourish at that level. He's a coach's dream regarding his attitude, work ethic, and professionalism. In one full season of coaching him, I've seen his game grow in leaps and bounds. His presence will be missed, but at the same time, it gives the rest of the players in the program an added incentive to try to make it to that level and beyond."
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound shooting guard played his first two collegiate seasons at St. Petersburg College in Florida from 2010-12. As a sophomore, Bellinger averaged 12.5 points, 4.0 rebounds while shooting 40 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line, earning first-team All-Conference honors. He transferred to NCAA Division II Armstrong State University in Georgia for his junior and senior seasons from 2012-14. As a junior, Bellinger notched 9.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.6 steals in 27 games. He finished his senior season appearing in 25 games (13 starts), posting averages of 8.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists in 24.4 minutes per game.
“We had the opportunity to see Kenny in Miami and were impressed with his shooting ability, defense, and intensity,” said Maccabi Bazan Haifa Head Coach Rami Hadar. “We see Kenny as a prospect with potential, who started to develop at the Miami Midnites and will continue to do so at Maccabi Haifa.”
Miami Midnites Vice President of Player Personnel Federico Brodsky said: “The signing of Kenny Bellinger to Maccabi Haifa shows that we are accomplishing our farm team concept. Kenny is a very energetic and positive player, who gives his all on both ends of the court.”
A naticve of Miramar, Bellinger played for American Senior High School in Hialeah. He was selected to the Dade vs. Broward County All-Star Game in 2010.
About Maccabi Haifa
Maccabi Haifa, an Israeli Basketball Super League team, has a long and storied legacy as they were one of the original eight teams to form the Premier League for the 1953-54 season. Under the ownership of American businessman, Jeffrey Rosen, the team earned its first title in franchise history after being crowned the 2012-13 Israeli League champion. The team was purchased by Jeffrey Rosen in July 2007.
For information about Maccabi Haifa, visit
About Triangle Financial Services
Triangle Financial Services, a sports and entertainment investment firm based in Hollywood, has a diverse portfolio of international sports enterprises. The acquisition of the Maccabi Haifa professional basketball team in Israel along with the launch of TriangleInternet.tv, the first-ever Internet TV site to feature full-length Israeli Super League games and highlights in English, represent Triangle’s continued effort to invest in emerging international sports ventures.
For information on Triangle Financial Services, visit
Gulliver track & field
Gulliver Schools hired Mike Ward as the head coach for its girls’ track and girls’ cross-country teams for the 2015-16 school year. Ward joins the Gulliver Athletic Department from the University of Miami, where he spent 16 years, including 11 seasons as head coach of the men’s track & field program and assistant coach with the women’s program.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mike to the Gulliver community,” Mark Schusterman, Gulliver’s athletic director, said in a release. “Mike has extensive experience working with top-level athletes who have gone on to professional careers in their sports. He is a valuable asset to our girls’ track and cross-country programs.”
Under Ward’s guidance, the UM track program won 28 individual and relay conference titles and saw six athletes earn All-American honors. Ward took over as head coach of the UM program prior to the 1998 season, and led the team to one of the most successful campaigns in school history. He enabled the team to finish second at the Big East Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 1998, matching the Hurricanes’ highest finish rankings at the conference meet. Additionally, Ward was named the Big East men’s track and field coach of the year in 1998.
“As the school year begins, my goal is to make the Gulliver girls’ track program consistently competitive,” Ward said. “This is a group that cares passionately about their school and the track program, and I am enthusiastic to take it to the next level.”
Before taking on the head coach job at UM, Ward was in charge of the Hurricane men’s and women’s cross country teams and directed its long-distance programs for five years as a full-time assistant coach to the men’s and women’s track programs. He guided the long-distance runners as they rewrote the school’s record books, setting new marks in nine men’s and six women’s long-distance events. During 2010, Ward was head girls’ coach at Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn, Md., where he guided the girls’ indoor and outdoor track teams to 14 school records and guided two relay teams to the national high school championships.
About Gulliver Schools
Gulliver Schools is a 501(c)(3) private, non-profit, independent, coeducational, nonsectarian day school with the mission of providing a superior, personalized college-preparatory education fostering well-rounded, successful, lifelong learners. Gulliver is committed to developing the unique gifts and talents of each student in a nurturing environment that promotes academic excellence, innovation, global understanding and character.
For information about Gulliver, visit www.gulliverschools.org
Advantage Basketball Camp
Advantage Basketball Camp Florida, under the direction of former WNBA player and Miami Central High School alum Tracy Reid, is 9 a.m.-5 p.m. July 20-25 at Miami Central High School, 1781 NW 95th St.
Reid leads a group of instructors that include pro players who compete overseas and retired players. Their camp, promoting fundamentals, is open to boys and girls, age 6-18. ABC has been nationally recognized as one of the best sports training systems in the country.
Registration is available online at www.advantagebasketball.com or sign-up at the door. Call 305-769-8210 or 425-670-8877. Email email@example.com.
More events, leagues, programs
Summer Fun Runs
The 19th 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 of community participants.
Runners and walkers of all abilities meet Tuesdays and Thursdays 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 30.
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 15 gatherings. Athletic experience ranges from a twenty-five time participating marathoner, to a tri-athlete, to someone who had never run recreational before. The age range of the participants is 11-60.
There are 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 a range from three to seven miles, with no pace ever being set.
For information call the school at 305-751-8367 or visit www.acnd.net
Florida ushered in a new era of tennis development for tournament players, age 10 and younger, with the introduction of the USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway, a graduated development path with established benchmarks at each level to guide parents and coaches through junior tennis.
From beginning “red ball” play on 36-foot courts, youth progress through “orange ball” and “green ball” at various tournament levels before graduating to full-court “yellow ball” tennis. Each level contains appropriate kids-sized racquets, balls and court sizes, along with participation or achievement benchmarks to progress between age groups or tournament levels.
The Pathway contains a “Grandfather Clause” for players that turn age 11 during 2015 who currently have the skill set to play full-court yellow ball tournaments.
The USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway roll-out is in partnership with the USPTA-Florida Division (United States Professional Teaching Association) and PTR (Professional Tennis Registry), the two largest tennis teaching professional certifying organizations in the U.S.
The USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway was also developed with solicited input from coaches and parents throughout Florida.
The red, orange and green ball levels correspond on the USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway with tournaments beginning at Level 9 (beginner) up to the start of advanced tournaments at Level 6 and higher.
The USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway was recently implemented in Florida tournaments.
For information on the Pathway, go to www.USTAFlorida.com/10UPathway
Miami Dolphins reading
The Miami-Dade Public Library System kicked off its Summer Reading program with the Miami Dolphins.
Now through Aug. 1, you can participate in the library’s heroic summer reading program by finding your inner hero within an inspiring biography, unmasking a mysterious novel or escaping the ordinary with a marvelous book. No matter your age, everyone is eligible for a chance to win a fabulous prize with the library’s Summer Reading Program by reading or listening for a minimum of two hours, attending a library program or downloading an eBook.
Stop by your neighborhood library to pick up an entry form with official contest rules or visit
The Summer Reading Program is made possible with the generous support of the Miami Dolphins Foundation and the Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library.
Registration for the 2015 Suniland Sundevils youth football season is open, continuing through July, from 6-8 p.m. each weekday and 10 a.m.-noon every Saturday at Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy.
Boys and girls, age 5-13, are eligible. Fee $175. For information call Jose Regalado at 305-458-1966 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kendall Hammocks cheer, football
The Kendall Hammocks Warriors Tackle program offers registration for the 2015 football and cheerleading season.
Tackle fee $185 which includes home game jersey that players keep, secondary insurance, participation awards, and the rental of helmet, shoulder pads, game pants. Issued equipment to be returned at season’s end. Also, the NFL’s Stephen Tulloch Football Camp as well as the Rookie Camp.
Cheer registration fee $385 which includes $185 initial deposit for practice T-shirt, shorts, game day socks, hair bow, cheer brief, and shoes, secondary insurance, and participation awards. The remaining $200 is for competition, body liner, shoes, socks, warm up, cheer bag, and uniform rental.
Registrations and practices are at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122 Ave.
For information email Football Commissioner Mike Pintado at email@example.com
or visit the web site at www.khwarriors.org
The Warriors Football program, under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks, is an all volunteer organization, serving the community in sports for more than 28 years. The Warriors compete in the Miami Xtreme Football League.
Play Action Sports cheer, football
Play Action Sports bought the Coral Gables Cavaliers Youth Football & Cheer Program and is re-rebuilding it.
The group seeks a cheer director and cheer coaches as well as football coaches, volunteers and team moms and dads to assist with the 2015 season in the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League. Home games will be played at Coral Gables High School.
NFL, USA Football, GENYOUth
NFL, USA Football, GENYOUth and Fuel Up to Play 60 today announced the expansion of their commitment to youth health and wellness by giving NFL FLAG Essentials Kits to one million students across 2,500 schools nationwide, including 10 focus cities: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Jacksonville, Miami, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. The expansion is made possible by a $1 million commitment from NFL Foundation.
The announcement was made by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CEO of GENYOUth Alexis Glick and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the 2015 NFL Draft Youth Football Clinic in Chicago’s Grant Park.
During 2014 Kickoff, NFL, USA Football, GENYOUth and Fuel Up to Play 60 announced a commitment to providing children in elementary schools and after-school programs nationwide with NFL FLAG Essentials Kits enabling kids and communities to “Play 60.” The kits which include footballs, flag belts, posters and a PE curriculum designed for elementary and middle school students, garnered enthusiasm, reaching 1,800 schools nationwide, resulting in 500,000 kids getting more active, and the demand for NFL FLAG powered by USA Football to be played before, during and after school.
The goal of the partnership between the NFL and Fuel Up to Play 60 is to give children more opportunities to be physically active and to "Play 60" by offering PE teachers and school administrators the equipment, curriculum, training and recognition they need to uplift and support physical education. This extension of the program provides a million more students across the country with the tools to play NFL FLAG, which combines the strategy of football with the lessons of teamwork, resiliency and respect.
“We want all kids to have the chance to get active and flag football is a fun way to play 60 and learn the fundamentals of football,” said Commissioner Goodell. “We know many children are physically inactive and the critical need in schools and communities for equipment and ways to increase participation in physical education. We want to make this a positive experience by offering NFL FLAG Kits to inspire kids to play football and be active today and in years to come.”
Results from the program’s first year include:
· 98% of teachers reporting using the Kits in PE class for more than one semester
· 47% using Kits after school
· 28% using Kits during recess
· 21% using Kits weekend activity and/or sporting activities
· 12% using Kits before school, leading to an increased number of physically activity kids
NFL FLAG provides children of all ages with the opportunity to be active and learn the basics of football in a fun environment. With the tremendous reach of Fuel Up to Play 60, the nation’s largest in-school nutrition and physical activity program, an additional 1,000,000 children in more than 2,500 schools will be able to participate in the coming 2015-16 school year via the new Kits. The program will culminate with the NFL FLAG National Championships at Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco.
“GENYOUth is proud to support this partnership by bringing this fresh and exciting sport to schools nationwide through our flagship program, Fuel Up to Play 60,” said Alexis Glick, CEO of GENYOUth. “Flag football is a fun, fast-paced, skills-based and strategy-driven game that inspires more kids to get active. It allows physical education teachers and communities to introduce a new curriculum that has already inspired more physical activity among both boys and girls during and outside of the school day.”
Schools can apply for the Kits starting in early May via the Fuel Up to Play 60 website:
www.FuelUpToPlay60.com and will be provided at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year while supplies last. Additionally, in-person FLAG trainings using the curriculum developed by USA Football and SHAPE America will be held in the 10 NFL markets this fall.
About NFL FLAG
NFL FLAG powered by USA Football (http://www.nflflag.com/) provides opportunities for children ages 5-17 to enjoy America's favorite sport.
With more than 250,000 participants nationwide, players benefit by being physically active through non-contact, continuous action while learning the fundamentals of football, lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship. NFL FLAG is a program of PLAY 60, the NFL’s campaign to encourage kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity.
About Fuel Up to Play 60
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Football League (NFL) and National Dairy Council (NDC), which was founded by America’s dairy farmers, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools.
The program additionally encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. As a result of the program, last year 14 million students made better food choices and are getting more physically active during the school day. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Association/Foundation, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association.
Visit FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.
About GENYOUth Foundation
A leading nonprofit, GENYOUth brings leaders in health and wellness, education, government and business together in a movement to empower America’s youth to achieve a healthier future by uniting partners, raising funds and uplifting the student voice.
GENYOUth has established itself as a thought leader in youth health and wellness and collaborates with its partners to convene experts, conduct research, publish perspective reports, and build programs that make a lasting difference in the pursuit of healthy, high-achieving youth. Founded in 2010 through a public-private partnership with the National Dairy Council and the NFL, GENYOUth has raised funds, increased visibility and commitment to school wellness among health and wellness leaders, educators, students, parents, community leaders and businesses.
Learn more about GENYOUth partnership, volunteer and donation opportunities at
www.genyouthfoundation.org or contact
About USA Football
Indianapolis-based USA Football (www.usafootball.com) is the sport’s national governing body, leading the game’s development for youth, high school and other amateur players. The independent nonprofit partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and sport to establish important standards rooted in education. USA Football trains more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the U.S., advancing coaching education and player skill development for safer play and positive experiences through athletics.
Follow USA Football at
www.facebook.com/usafootball or on Twitter
About SHAPE America
SHAPE America - Society of Health and Physical Educators is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, physically active lives. As the nation's largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals, SHAPE America works with its 50 state affiliates and national partners to support initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Let's Move! Active Schools and the Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart programs.
Since its founding in 1885, the organization has defined excellence in physical education, and our resources provide the leadership, professional development and advocacy that support health and physical educators at every level - from preschool to university graduate programs.
For information, visit www.shapeamerica.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Giancarlo Stanton’s G-Squad
To support Miami Marlins powerhitter Giancarlo Stanton, join Giancarlo Stanton’s All-New G-Squad.
For $27, you can be a member of the G-Squad, which will unite during five Saturday games.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit marlins.com/gsquad.
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 FIU men's soccer program officially announced its 2015 schedule. The 16-game slate features seven home contests and games against six teams that participated in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
“We have put together a very challenging schedule that will really test our team from day one,” Head Coach Scott Calabrese said in a release. “We jump right in by opening up at UNC-Chapel Hill, who advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight last season. We follow up this game with another big test against a talented Wake Forest team who was also a Top 25 team and NCAA participant in 2014.
“Ultimately we believe that this strong non-conference schedule will prepare us to perform against our conference opponents. Conference USA featured five teams in the Top 25 last season with four teams being drawn into the NCAA tournament. C-USA is one of the premier soccer conferences in college soccer and elevating our program in C-USA will be our focus. I am very much looking forward to our season.”
The schedule will kick off at the end of August as the Panthers will spend the weekend in the state of North Carolina to take on two ACC powers. FIU will first face off with North Carolina on Aug. 28 in Chapel Hill, followed by a trip to Winston-Salem on Aug. 30 to battle Wake Forest. The Tar Heels reached the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament in 2014, and the Demon Deacons were also a participant.
The Panthers will open the month of September playing three of their first four games at the friendly confines of the FIU Soccer Stadium. FIU’s home opener comes on Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. against Fairfield. Following the Fairfield matchup, the Panthers will head to Deland on Sept. 7 to meet the Stetson Hatters before returning to Miami to face Penn on Sept. 10 and Princeton on Sept. 12.
Conference USA action will begin on Sept. 18 as fans can make the easy drive to Boca Raton to watch the Panthers play Florida Atlantic. Following an eight-day turnaround, FIU will encounter its first C-USA home game against Marshall on Sept. 26. The Panthers will close the month of September with a non-conference game at UCF on the 29th.
During October, FIU will total six games, with three at home and three on the road. The Panthers will host the Charlotte 49ers on Oct. 3 before heading on the road on Oct. 10 at UAB. With FIU hosting Old Dominion on Oct. 17, it will close a stretch of three-straight opponents that participated in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Following back-to-back road games at FGCU (Oct. 20) and at South Carolina (Oct. 27), FIU finishes October on Halloween as it hosts New Mexico.
Just one regular season game will be featured in November, at Kentucky, on the seventh. The C-USA Tournament will occur from Nov. 11-15 in Charlotte.
Fans are encouraged to follow the Panthers on Twitter (@FIUMensSoccer) and become a fan on Facebook (Facebook.com/FIUMensSoccer) for all the latest men’s soccer news.
Follow all of FIU's 18 athletic teams on Twitter (@FIUAthletics), Facebook (Facebook.com/FIUSports), YouTube (FIUPanthers), and Instagram (FIUathletics).
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 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).
WWE NXT in Miami
WWE NXT makes its Miami debut on Friday, July 24 in the Fieldhouse at the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami, 1245 Dauer Dr., Coral Gables, 33146. Call 305-284-8686.
See the future of WWE with new NXT champ Finn Balor, NXT women’s champ Sasha Banks, NXT tag champs Blake & Murphy with Alexa Bliss, Enzo Amore & Big Cass with Carmella, Samoa Joe, Tyler Breeze, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, The Vaudevillians (Simon Gotch & Aiden English), Bull Dempsey, Dana Brooke, Uhaa Nation, Tye Dillinger, Bayley, Solomon Crow, Charlotte and more.
Bell time is 7:30 p.m., and ticket prices start at $20.
Go to NXTTickets.com or
Legends of Wrestling at Marlins Park
The Miami Marlins baseball team, including Tom Dino Koehler and The Mexicutioner AJ Ramos, is hosting Legends of Wrestling Night, benefiting Up2Us, on Friday, July 31 as the Marlins face the San Diego Padres at Marlins Park.
Entertainment Mogul Louis ‘Uncle Louie’ Gregory, the president of Legends of Wrestling, is bringing Mick Foley (aka Cactus Jack), Big Sexy Kevin Nash, Bushwhacker Luke, Tyrus (Brodus Clay) and the Nasty Boys (Knobbs & Sags) to Marlins Park.
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 954-538-7153.
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.