Darley Charles (Our Lady of the Lakes School), Daniela Gutierrez (Fienberg Fisher K-8), Kyamara Montero (Our Lady of the Lakes School), Connor Sazant (Miami Country Day School) and Yael Tawil (Hochberg Prep) 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 Udonis Haslem, former Miami Heat player and current Heat TV and radio analyst John Crotty and former Miami Heat player and current assistant coach Juwan Howard during warm-ups before the Heat’s game against the Orlando Magic.
Each honoree received two game tickets, a Heat T-shirt, an award certificate and were honored on the court minutes before player introductions. Miami Heat guard/forward Joe Johnson and Burnie the Heat mascot video bombed the on-court ceremonies.
Darley Charley, 13, is an eighth grader on the Our Lady of the Lakes School boys’ varsity basketball team.
German Garcia, boys’ basketball coach and athletic director at Our Lady of the Lakes, said: “Darley is a silent leader off and on the court, but is a stand-up young man who makes the right choices and plays his heart out every game. There is no quit in him.
“Darley has committed his athletic talents to basketball, and with his training, hard work and dedication, one can see great improvement to his basketball skills. He is truly a great role model, and I wish him the best at Monsignor Edward Pace High School where he will be attending next year.”
Darley played basketball in the YMCA league, too, and he participated in basketball leagues around the area (Miami Gardens and Miami Lakes) during the summer. He also excels in the classroom. His grades for the second quarter were 93, 92, 84, 80, 81, 92, 94, 100, 98, 98.
Daniela Gutierrez, 12, is a small forward/guard for the Boys & Girls Club 14-and-under girls’ travel basketball team.
Off the court, Daniela is a ‘Straight A’ student with outstanding conduct as a sixth grader at Fienberg-Fisher K-8.
Yesenia Cruz, program director at the South Beach location of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade County, said: “Daniela Gutierrez shows great passion toward school and basketball. Not only does Daniela have a Straight A report card in academics and conduct, but she also shows great discipline and enthusiasm when it comes to basketball.”
When Daniela is not playing basketball, she is either helping a teacher tutor younger kids or having fun with her friends. Also, she does Rock Ensemble at her school twice a week, and she loves to read.
Kyamara Montero, 14, is an eighth grader on the Our Lady of Lakes School girls’ varsity basketball team. She also plays soccer and volleyball for the school.
She also does well in the classroom. Her grades for the second quarter were 92, 80, 82, 90, 90, 83, 93, 100, 97, 92.
Mrs. Fanny Medina, Spanish Teacher at Our Lady of the Lakes School, said: “Kyamara was a shy girl when she started at OLL and look at her now. What a great young lady she has become.”
Alan Gonzalez, Head Girls Basketball Coach at Our Lady of the Lakes School, said: “Kyamara, was not only our co-captain, but she also led our team in rebounding and blocks. Most importantly, she led our team with her powerful presence on the court.”
Quite the athlete, Kyamara has also been playing tennis since she was 5.
Connor Sazant, 13, is a very good basketball player for Miami Country Day School.
Miami Country Day School JV boys’ basketball coach Leslie Jeanville said: “Connor is a great young man with a bright future. Connor played point guard for our JV basketball team as an eighth grader. He’s a hard worker, smart and loves the game of basketball.”
Connor also plays for the outstanding Miami City Ballers 14-and-younger travel team. He has been playing with them since fifth grade.
Academically, Connor also shines. He is an ‘A’ student and made the National Junior Honor Society and the National Junior Spanish Honor Society. Respected by his peers, he was elected to the middle school student government board.
Miami Country Day School Honor’s English teacher Sandi Lew said: “Connor’s depth of knowledge, his ability to tear away the layers of the literature and his innate sense of humor makes him a superb honors student.”
A straight ‘A’ student, Yael Tawil played for Hochberg Prep’s undefeated Independent Athletic League girls’ basketball team.
Yael, 12, a seventh grader, also competed for the school’s Independent Athletic League South championship girls’ volleyball team, and she is on the school’s girls’ soccer team. She is also a key member of the Mo Steel travel basketball team, based at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami Beach, and she swims competitively.
Off the court and out of the water, Yael is involved with an organization in Israel -- Hand in Hand -- that builds schools for Jewish and Palestines to study together and form this new generation of friends, working toward peace.
When Yael was 5-years-old, she had Guillian Barre. Because of it, she could not walk for a very long time. She overcame it through basketball, and the sport is still her physical therapy. That’s why basketball is so meaningful to her.
Lady Shottas basketball
The Lady Shottas 8th grade travel basketball team won the AAU Disney Spring Fling Division II title at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista.
The Lady Shottas went 5-0, winning each game by an average of 29.6 points. The champs are Jenna Kaplan, Kaitlyn Sanders, Rachel Hernandez, Carla Jean, Rylie Love, Coach Paul Smith, Stephanie Carmenates, Taormina Cosomano, Delores Charlton, Ali Pagliery, Sabrina Mas, and Cory Jenkins.
They qualified for the AAU National Tournament.
Founded in 2012 by Coach Paul Smith, the Lady Shottas are based in Pinecrest. This season’s team, consisting of 10 girls, started playing together three months ago.
Florida Christian basketball
Westchester’s Gabriel Perez, a senior at Florida Christian School, signed a letter of commitment with NCAA Division III Ithaca College in upstate New York where he will pursue his dream of playing college basketball while obtaining a degree in athletic training.
Gabriel, 17, distinguished himself during his schooling as a stellar athlete and a good student.
He was a starter on the Florida Christian School boys’ varsity basketball team and did the same for the school’s football and volleyball teams. As a sixth grader, he was a wrestler.
His senior season, Gabriel made Miami Herald All-Dade second team in basketball. He was the MVP for the South All-Stars in the South Florida Private Schools All-Star Basketball Game. He also participated in the Hoop Miami Basketball All-Star Game. Gabriel has been invited to participate in the Miam-Dade All Star Volleyball Game.
In the classroom, Gabriel’s GPA is above 3.7, consistently taking Honors classes.
He was recruited by Eastern University, Hood College, Maryville College, Messiah College, Marietta College, St Vincent, Misericordia College, Lebanon Valley College, and the University of Chicago to name a few.
Gabriel played travel basketball with the Erik Spoelstra Basketball Academy and the Miami Hoop Squad.
Miami Midnites basketball
The two-time defending Florida Basketball Association champions Miami Midnites earned a 139-67 victory over the Palm Beach Knights in their season opener at Scheck Hillel Community School Gym in North Miami Beach.
The win extended Miami's winning streak in the FBA to 25 games, which spans to the 2014 season.
George Gray led Miami with 34 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Guard Kevin Thomas added 16 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals, and Ty Thomas had 22 points and 5 steals.
About Miami Midnites
The Miami Midnites, established in 2014, are the official Minor League affiliate of the 2012-13 Israeli Super League champions Maccabi Haifa basketball team. In their first season of existence, the Miami Midnites won the 2014 Florida Basketball Association championship, and followed up with back-to-back FBA titles after winning the 2015 FBA title.
The Midnites joined the American Basketball Association for the 2014-15 season and finished runner-up out of 90-plus teams across the country. The Midnites compete year-round, playing their home games at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie.
For information, visit the team’s official website at
North Miami Beach baseball
Jason Colon had two hits and was outstanding on defense as the Dodgers beat the Braves 6-2 in Minors Juniors of North Miami Beach Little League baseball. Jackson Boucher and Jake Lechner had two hits apiece.
In other action, the Angels defeated the Blue Jays 12-1. Anthony Ortega was 3 for 3 and made a double play at first base. Owen Schwartz starred on defense, and Lucas Cerrato, Joseph Medina, Jayden Sardinas, Michael Medina and Noah Rey contributed on offense. For the Blue Jays, Madisen Levya scored on an RBI hit by Marco DeFillipo.
In Minors, the Yankees defeated the A’s 6-4. Jason Benezra pitched 3 1 /3 solid innings, striking out five and walking one. Evan Seifer had an RBI triple, and Jesse Profetta singled. Matthias Sanchez, Abel Profetta and Jeremy Bronstein combined on a relay from the outfield to throw out a runner at the plate. For the A’s, Lane Parris tripled, and Braden Parris singled.
The Brewers won their fourth straight by beating the Cubs. Andrew Hyppolite pitched a stellar first inning, striking out one and played well on defense. Joey Oppenheimer hit a line drive single to right. After suffering a first inning injury, Stanley Fernandez re-entered the game and delivered an important single. For the Cubs, Daniel Bitton, Zach Jaffe and Ben Handwerger did well in their pitching debuts.
The Marlins defeated the Rangers on strong pitching by Mikey Plewinsky. Isi Waich was outstanding on defense. For the Rangers, Adam Siegel had two hits, and Alejandro Munoz tripled.
In the game of the day, the Royals edged the Tigers on a winning RBI double by Brady Babin in the bottom of the sixth inning, driving in Maxwell Hochenstein, after the Tigers tied the game in the top of the inning. Jacob Sims pitched 3 1 /3 inning of one hit ball, while striking out eight. For the Tigers, Brandon Pardo and Benji Sherwin led the comeback.
The Monsignor Edward Pace High School Spartan varsity baseball team is one of great heart, pride and brotherhood with a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.
This year’s team continues that tradition with a 15-game winning streak, a 6-0 district record and a championship victory in the HSBN March Madness Shootout Gold Tournament. The streak began in early March with a victory over American Senior High followed by a series of home wins over Miami Springs Senior High School, St. Brendan High School, and iMater Charter.
They then defeated district rivals Immaculata-LaSalle High School 7-0 at Barry University, with senior Christopher Rodriguez pitching six innings with six strikeouts, before finishing the month by winning the 16-team HSBN March Madness Shootout Gold Tournament.
“We have faced some of the best teams in all of South Florida, and due to our impressive pitching staff and great defensive work, we have been successful" said Pace pitching coach Charles Lyman.
Senior left fielder Jordan Topps added: “Our pitching staff has been our biggest strength.”
Key pitchers for the team include Christopher Rodriguez, whose pitches averaged 93-94 mph each game, and senior Jesse Castro with his impressive relief pitching.
Senior center fielder Jonathan Reyes-Diaz said: “We have excellent pitching. Our chemistry as a team is amazing. We are brothers on and off the field, and we have amazing defense to back up the pitchers.”
Pitcher Manuel Rodriguez said: “I feel like we can go the distance and make it to [the state championships] to win it all.”
Stephanie Texeira (Gulliver Prep) was 2 for 4 with a 2-run home run as the visiting NCAA Division I Florida International University softball team defeated University of Alabama-Birmingham 11-3. Ashley Leon (Gulliver Prep) added a 2-run triple and scored. FIU is 23-23.
Miami Country Day sports
Miami Country Day School: Middle School Female Athlete of the Week: Gabriella Marchesani (water polo) scored 2 goals and had 13 steals against Gulliver and Ransom Everglades.
Middle School Male Athlete of the Week: Dylan Turk (lacrosse) combined for 4 goals and an assist in South Florida Middle School Conference Championship against Ransom Everglades and Gulliver.
Upper School Female Athlete of the Week: Michelle Yakobi (softball) doubled, scored twice and drove in two runs in the South Florida Conference semifinal game against Archbishop Curley.
Upper School Male Athlete of the Week: Eric Bernstein (water polo) scored 3 goals in the Spartans’ state “play-in” game against ATM.
The PFC Bruce W. Carter Young Marines of Miami Dade is hosting its first 5k Walk/Run in honor of the Medal of Honor recipient who sacrificed his life fighting in Vietnam. The event is May 7 at the Village of Virginia Gardens Pavilion, 6500 NW 38 Ter.
Raised in Virginia Gardens, PFC Carter was a native Floridian, who diligently served his country.
Previously known as the Young Marines of Miami-Dade County, the unit was proud to have adopted the name PFC Bruce W. Carter Young Marines of Miami Dade because the legacy of this fine young man has inspired many boys and girls to pursue a life of dignity, respect and leadership. Though he left us too soon, PFC Carter’s life has stood as a testament to his courage and fortitude.
Community service is an integral part of the PFC Bruce W. Carter Young Marines ofMiami Dade unit’s day-in and day-out activities. As a 501 (3) c, non-profit organization, making this 5k Walk/Run possible is yet another testament of how these kids work conscientiously to remind others how important it is to give back to their community, while choosing a life of service and loyalty.
As a fundraiser, the 5k Walk/Run will help support the PFC Bruce C. Carter Young Marines of Miami Dade’s mission and also provide scholarships and leadership school opportunities for the unit.
The PFC Bruce C. Carter Young Marines of Miami Dade 5k Walk/Run will run on the very street named after PFC Carter, which is a great way to involve the Virginia Gardens community in something positive.
Sponsorship opportunities are available by calling Lisbeth Colon at 305-607-3030. Volunteers can contact Zenith Gordillo at 305-606-4011. For information about the program visit
www.youngmarines.com or log on directly to the Facebook Page
Kendall cheer, football
The Kendall Hammocks Warriors Tackle program announces the registrations dates and times for the 2016 Football & Cheerleading season.
Tackle season starts 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 5.
TACKLE REGISTRATION DATES:
All potential players must be present during the registration process.
APRIL 30: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; MAY 6 and 20: 6:30-8:30 p.m.; MAY 21: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; JUNE 4: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
TACKLE REGISTRATION FEE: $185
Registration fee includes: Home Game Jersey that players keep at end of the season, secondary Insurance, participation awards, referee cost and the rental of helmet, shoulder pads, game pants. All issued equipment is to be returned at end of season. Also includes NFL Stephen Tulloch Football Camp and Free Rookie Camp for all new players,
CHEER REGISTRATION FEE: $385
Registration fee break down: $185 initial deposit includes Practice T-shirt, shorts, Game Day socks, hair bow, cheer brief, shoes, secondary Insurance, and participation awards .
The remaining $200 includes for the competition: body liner, shoes, socks, warm up, cheer bag, uniform rental and all competition fees.
CHEERLEADING REGISTRATION DATES:
APRIL 30: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; MAY 6 and 20: 6:30-8:30 p.m.; MAY 21: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; JUNE 4: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Requirements to play tackle football and cheer for The Kendall Hammocks Warriors.
• 1.) Current Color Photo (2x2 face picture-passport size)
• 2.) Copy of Birth Certificate
• 3.) Current 2016 Physical
• 4.) Copy of 2016 final Report Card (with the four grading periods)
Registrations and practices are at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122 Ave.
For added information email Football Commissioner Mike Pintado at firstname.lastname@example.org and for Cheerleadingemail our Cheer Commissioner Meylin Castro at email@example.com or visit the web site at www.khwarriors.org/kendall.
The Warriors Football program is under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks and is an all volunteer organization, serving our community in sports for more than 29 years.
Suniland flag football
Sundevils Invitational Flag Football Two-Day Tournaments are May 14-15, May 28-29, June 11-12.
Divisions are 8U-5on5-$100 per team; 12U-7on7-$125 per team; 15U-7on7-$125 per team.
Registration is 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from now-June 9 at Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy., Village of Pinecrest
Contact Ken Hannah 786-606-4404, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Alfred Dallas 305-310-5611.
Sunshine State Games
Get into the 2016 Olympic Games spirit by competing in one of more than 25 Sunshine State Games sports between now and November. The 37th annual Sunshine State Games are Florida’s own Olympic-style Sports Festival.
The Games continue May 13-15 when Figure Skating and Rugby are contested in Broward County. Online registration is now open for both sports of the Broward Spring Festival and all other sports of the Games at
www.sunshinestategames.com and more information is available by email at
email@example.com or calling toll-free 866-354-2637.
The Broward County Spring Festival begins a plethora of SSG activity with six of the next seven weekends featuring amateur sports competitions through June 25.
Two multi-sport festivals will be in Manatee and Sarasota counties the weekend of June 11-12 and Palm Beach County June 18-19.
Two sports that returned to SSG action in 2015 (BMX Cycling and Boxing) are back for 2016, and Baton Twirling debuts in 2016 as part of a Fall Festival in Vero Beach, along with Lacrosse. Beach Ultimate returns in 2016 as part of a Beach Festival in Clearwater in September, featuring Beach Tennis and other sports.
The Sunshine State Games are an annual program presented by the Florida Sports Foundation, in conjunction with local sports commissions.
For more information visit
firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free 866-354-2637. Follow the Sunshine State Games on Facebook
More events, leagues, programs
The Florida High School Athletic Association in partnership with USTA Florida has increased high school “No-Cut” tennis teams from 22 at the end of 2015 to 164 registered schools thus far in 2016.
“The No-Cut program gave kids who wouldn’t normally make the team an opportunity to participate,” said Will Adams, the contract administration specialist for the FHSAA. “I received several calls from coaches thanking us for sending out the information so they could take advantage of the program. It gave teams the opportunity to receive a free case of balls, which is a huge benefit as tennis programs don’t always receive a lot of funding.”
USTA Florida offered an incentive where the first 100 schools to register received two cases of balls (or four cases if the school had both boys’ and girls’ teams). The next 50 schools to register each received one case of balls. A total $15,000 investment was made by USTA Florida for approximately 200 cases of balls to Florida high schools.
Thad Hawkes, the entry-level tournament coordinator for USTA Florida and a high school coach, coordinated the effort. As a No-Cut coach himself, he has seen the difference the program has made in keeping kids in tennis.
“The hardest thing for a coach is to tell someone that they didn’t make the team,” he said. “The other consequence is that the student may very well drop tennis and pick up another sport. Being a supporter of No-Cut means that I keep anyone who comes out. They practice with us, travel when they can, and many times get to play practice matches. They don’t just feel like part of the team — they actually are. The support we received from the FHSAA has made a huge difference this year.
“Growing this program is just the first step in growing the opportunity for high school tennis in years to come.”
Tony Lilly, the head men’s and women’s coach at Monsignor Pace High School, was one recipient from the program.
“As Thad stated in his letter, ‘I understand the value of tennis balls and how every little bit helps’ — this could not be more meaningful in our situation, and I’m sure for many programs throughout the nation with limited funding and resources.”
High school tennis and providing additional opportunities for players and coaches is high on the Florida tennis radar, along with collaborating with state and local coordinators, according to USTA Florida Associate Executive Director of Recreational Tennis Andy McFarland.
“High school tennis coaches and players are a demographic USTA Florida is looking to get more involved with these next few years,” McFarland said. “From offering education and resources to providing off-season Junior Team Tennis play opportunities, we at USTA Florida need to do a better job collaborating together with coaches and players. Building a sound relationship with FHSAA is a start in the right direction.”
For more information on No-Cut tennis go to
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 Sunshine State Athletic Conference, a multiple sport athletic organization made up of 35 private and charter schools created in 2008, announced that two additional sporting opportunities are being introduced for the 2016-17 school year.
SSAC currently offers four sports, including football and basketball at the middle and high school levels, but in keeping with its pledge to student-athletes and their families, the conference will grow to offer a second football classification and the formation of girls’ beach volleyball.
The second football classification of a Developmental Football League, debuting next fall, will provide member schools that are starting, growing or rebuilding programs with a competitive, but level, playing field in which to compete. This will not replace nor negate the highly successful championship Florida Bowl Series but will instead compliment all football programs and schools in the SSAC. The only criteria for schools to participate in the new Developmental Football League is for teams to have less than 23 players, and the championship Florida Bowl Series will be open to them, if they desire to participate.
The second addition to SSAC athletics is an exciting opportunity that perfectly captures the spirit of Florida’s athletic environment. Starting in spring of 2017, the SSAC will debut girls’ beach volleyball. This up-and-coming sport is quickly spreading around the nation and will undoubtedly be a natural fit for Florida student-athletes. This addition will help build exposure and opportunity for female student-athletes and will add value to SSAC’s independent athletic conference.
“Including girls’ beach volleyball was a decision that just made sense; it only requires a few players and we are blessed with an abundance of sun and sand,” said Stuart Weiss, president of Sunshine State Athletics Conference. “We believe that by adding these two new opportunities for Florida high schools, we are continuing to provide more choice and control to our partner schools addressing the need for a level playing field in high school athletics.”
Visit the SSAC website at
NCSAA academics honors
The NSCAA annually recognizes high school soccer programs that have excelled in the classroom, in addition to their work on the field.
Three hundred and eight nine soccer teams (243 girls, 146 boys) from throughout the United States have earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom as a team during the 2014-15 academic year.
To qualify for the award, the team must have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 for the entire academic year. The team GPA is determined by adding every player's GPA, then dividing by the number of players.
For information about the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, visit
Pitch, Hit & Run
Scotts Major League Baseball Pitch Hit & Run is a free, exciting skills event providing boys and girls the opportunity to compete in four levels of competition including Team Championship events at all 30 Major League ballparks and the National Finals at the MLB All-Star Game.
To host a local competition for your community and be involved in the official skills competition of Major League Baseball, go to
Gifts in Golf
PGA Certified Pro Philip Argianas, program director of GIG-Gifts In Golf, is proud to bring his expertise to special people with special needs to Coral Gables.
GIG programing -- like Golfing with Autism and Kids Swing Into Golf -- enrich the quality of life for families in the community.
Coach Phil said in a release: “Our fun programing impacts kids by teaching them life skills while providing physical and mental training through learning the game of golf.”
For information about registration including schedules and release forms, go to GIG’s website
To volunteer or for any other questions on the Autism and Down syndrome golf programs, call Coach Phil at 888-909-5709, check the website http://www.giftsingolf.org and Facebook page for updates.
GIG was founded in 2009 and has been serving several communities in Miami-Dade County. The organization provides fun instruction and mentoring while empowering special people with special needs. Integrating families and community, it provides all the benefits that golfing delivers with a focus on a person’s ability.
Suniland Sports Camp
The Suniland Sundevils Sports Conditioning Camp is now-May 29 at Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy.
The fee is $75 for boys and girls, age 5-15. That Includes:T-shirt, awards and secondary insurance.
Registration open 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
For information, contact Jose Regalado 305-458-1966 or email@example.com.
The Warrior Basketball Pre-Travel Team Program in Miami is intense training for boys and girls, age 8-15, to prepare athletes for a travel team level.
The athletes will train two times a week in a two-hour practice. To gain experience, scrimmages will be set up, and tournament like situations will slowly be introduced to the team.
Practice days are Wednesdays, Fridays and/or Sundays. Kids will receive a Warrior basketball jersey and shorts.
Olive Garden and the NFHS Network, the nation’s leading high school sports media company, are teaming up to recognize Team Moms and the high school athletes they support. This partnership includes the launch of GoTeamMoms.com, which will serve as a resource and destination to recognize Team Moms.
Team Moms volunteer to assist coaches and often lead team communications, fundraising, travel coordination and more. The website will feature Team Mom’s Best-Kept Secrets and game day highlights from high schools around the nation. In addition, coaches, athletes, family members and the community are invited to contribute shout-outs or photos of their favorite Team Mom using #GoTeamMoms on Twitter and Instagram to be featured on the website.
“The goal of the NFHS Network is to serve and support both the athletes and their fans,” said Christopher Young, senior vice president of sales for the NFHS Network. “There’s no bigger fan than a Team Mom and no better partner for the NFHS Network than Olive Garden, which resonates so deeply with our audience and shares our same commitment to families and the local community.”
To further assist Team Moms, each Olive Garden restaurant in the U.S. will be paired with a local high school to support through two national fundraising nights and Olive Garden VIP Passes that give teams access to exclusive discounts. With dining options that include ToGo and catering, Olive Garden is often the choice for feeding an entire team.
"Our restaurants are excited to support their hometown high schools and give back to their communities," said Jose Duenas, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden. “This partnership allows us to thank Team Moms nationwide as well as give families and teams chances to connect over meals and create memories during the busy sports season.”
ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN
Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.8 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales.
Headquartered in Orlando, and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated more than 33 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country. For more information, visit www.olivegarden.com.
ABOUT THE NFHS NETWORK
The NFHS Network (www.nfhsnetwork.com) captures the passion, pride, and energy of the high school experience by delivering live high school sports and events to family members and fans whenever they want, wherever they are.
The NFHS Network celebrates and showcases the unique accomplishments of high schools students, including the student-athletes participating in 27 different sporting events and the student broadcasters from schools around the country that produce events through the School Broadcast Program. The NFHS Network also broadcasts state playoff and championship events in 46 states.
The NFHS Network is a joint venture among the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), its member state associations and PlayOn! Sports. The NFHS is located in Indianapolis, Indiana and is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. PlayOn! Sports is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is the nation’s largest high school sports media company.
Follow the NFHS Network on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram at @NFHSnetwork for the latest news and event information.
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.
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.
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.
Youth sports online
For more area sports photos, go to
YouTube youth sports and more
YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)
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, travel league or school league (elementary school or middle school aged) from 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 305-376-3621.