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Sports Scene: Miami locals Sheehan Planas-Arteaga, Mike Gomez, Calvin Rayburn chosen in MLB Draft

FIU baseball

Florida International University senior Mike Gomez was chosen by the Chicago White Sox in the 2014 MLB Draft.

A Miami native, Gomez is a graduate of G. Holmes Braddock High School.

Gomez, selected in the 13th round, posted 25 career saves, an FIU record. The 6-2, 195-pound left-hander earned his 24th career save on May 3 at East Carolina, which broke the school record.

Gomez recorded eight saves this season, five of those in Conference USA games. He registered four saves his junior season before succumbing to injury. He tallied 13 saves during the 2012 season, the third most for an FIU closer in a single season. He was named to the SBC Academic Honor Roll with a 3.0-3.49 GPA.

In the 2010-11 season, he played for Miami Dade College and registered a 2-1 record, a 3.15 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 45.2 innings. In the 2009-10 season, he pitched for Brevard State College and had an 0-2 record with a 6.00 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 18 innings.

Growing up in Miami, Gomez played youth baseball in the Tamiami recreation league and competed in travel ball for the Miami Powerhouse and Homestead Storm.

Gomez became the 117th player in FIU history to be selected in the draft and the 14th player taken in the FIU coach Turtle Thomas era. The four draft picks this season are tied for the most in the Thomas era, matching the ’08 team.

The Panthers tied for the second most picks from Conference USA.

Follow the Panthers on Twitter (@FIUBaseball) and become a fan on Facebook ( for all the latest FIU baseball news. Follow all of FIU’s 18 athletic teams on Twitter (@FIUAthletics), Facebook (, YouTube (FIUPanthers), and Instagram (FIUathletics).

Barry baseball

Two Barry University baseball players who played in high school in Miami were chosen in the 2014 MLB Draft.

Senior Calvin Rayburn, a 6-5 right-hander pitcher, was selected with the 472 pick (16th round) by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Rayburn, an Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep High School grad, helped lead the Bucs to a 29-19 record this season, going 4-2 with a 3.78 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 66.2 innings.

Rayburn compiled a four-year record of 18-6, which ties for the sixth-most wins in program history. He threw six complete games, including a pair of shutouts.

Growing up in Miami, Rayburn played youth baseball for St. Rose of Lima School in Miami Shores before making Archbishop Curley’s High School team. In his senior season, he was the Knights’ top pitcher and also played shortstop. He was named the school’s Outstanding Male Athlete for his contributions to the baseball team, cross-country team and soccer team, where he was the goalkeeper. He was a member of the basketball team for three years, ran track one year and played for the golf team.

Archbishop Curley’s Jerry Yeash, who just completed his 32nd season as coach, said: “Calvin began playing baseball at ACND after his freshman year, but he developed very quickly. While watching one of Calvin’s Barry games, I remember sitting beside a scout who had thought his radar gun might be broken. He couldn’t believe the pitch recorded 90.”

Rayburn also played summer travel ball for Team Florida, based at Southridge High School.

Junior outfielder Sheehan Planas-Arteaga, a 6-2 left-handed hitter, went 711th (24th round) to the Seattle Mariners.

A Belen Jesuit Prep High School grad, Planas-Arteaga led Barry with a .388 average, 17 doubles and six homers. He was second on the team with 43 runs and third with 35 RBI. He led the Sunshine State Conference with a .507 on-base percentage.

One of the best hitters in Bucs history, he ranks third in career on-base percentage (.484), fifth in batting average (.367) and sixth in walks (104) in three years.

In his senior season at Belen, he hit seven home runs, two shy of the single-season school mark.

Belen Jesuit Athletic Director Carlos Barquin said: “Sheehan Planas Arteaga was an excellent student-athlete at Belen Jesuit who really stood out as an outstanding hitter, great young man and good student. We are extremely proud of having two of our Belen alumni joining the major-league sports baseball ranks this year: first Nick Martinez making the major-league ball club [Texas Rangers] and now Sheehan been drafted by the Mariners. We wish them both all the best.”

Planas-Arteaga played baseball in the Tamiami recreation league, and his travel team was the Miami Mavericks.


Miami Country Day sports

Miami Country Day School athletics celebrated the end of the school year with its annual sports awards.

The Upper School Athletes of the Year were seniors Danielle Minott and Shaun Berman.

The Sportsmanship Awards went to senior Brittany Castellanos and junior Pablo Mejia.

The Rotary Award for Athletic Achievement was awarded to seniors Brandon Parizo and Mallory Brown.

The Spartan Award was presented to seniors Olivia Katcher and Alec Koss.

The Sandra Lee Kenna Award, named in memory of the late Miami Country Day School athletic director, was awarded to seniors Winona Paez and Ricky Gonzalez.

The Middle School Athletes of the Year were eighth-graders Yakira Matisonn, Ryan Finvarb and Laurel Ivory. The Sportsmanship Awards went to eighth-grader Matthew Hanson and seventh-grader Isabella Allen. The Rotary Award for Athletic Achievement went to eighth-graders Jade Iadarola and Liam Weil.

Eighth-grader Mick Lynott was recognized by the Miami Heat and Miami Herald for academics, basketball and sportsmanship before a Heat/Cleveland Cavaliers game at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Eighth-grader Austin Pollak was recognized by the Miami Marlins and Miami Herald for academics, athletics and sportsmanship before a Marlins/Chicago Cubs game at Marlins Park.

Miami Country Day School’s FIAAA Sportsmanship Award nominees were seniors Mallory Brown and Alec Koss. Seniors Brandon Parizo and Brittany Castellanos were FIAAA’s Scholar Athlete nominees. Senior Kayla Kotalik and eighth-grader Carly Garazi were nominated for The Sports Society Outstanding Female Athletes of the Year. Danielle Minott and fellow senior Shaun Berman were Miami Country Day’s Wendy’s High School Heisman nominees. Minott was named a state finalist.

FHSAA Academic All-State Team nominees were seniors Michael Fente and Winona Paez.

Miami Herald Scholar Athlete nominees were Shaun Berman and Olivia Katcher. Berman was named as a finalist.

Jordan Karp was Miami Country Day School’s Silver Knight nominee for athletics.

Miami Country Day School’s Miami Herald All-Dade first team selections include senior Danielle Minott for a second consecutive season in basketball, as well teammates Channise Lewis (freshman) and Ogechi Anyagaligbo (junior). Eighth- grade goalkeeper Laurel Ivory was named to the first team in soccer, along with junior Pablo Mejia. Senior Shaun Berman was named to the first team for a third consecutive season in tennis.

Minott was named the Miami Herald Class 4A-2A Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year for a second consecutive season. She was the Florida Dairy Farmer Class 3A Player of the Year. Ochiel Swaby was named the Miami Herald Class 4A-2A Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year for a second consecutive season. He was the Florida Dairy Farmer Class 3A Coach of the Year. Minott and Swaby also won the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively, in Class 3A.

Florida Association of Basketball Coaches/Source Hoops All-State Basketball First Team selections were senior Danielle Minott and junior Ogechi Anyagaligbo. Minott was also nominated as a McDonald’s All-American finalist.

Junior Pablo Mejia was named to the FACA All-State Soccer Team, and eighth-grade goalkeeper Laurel Ivory was named to the U.S. Under-14 girls’ national soccer team.

Adam Seif was named to the Academic All-Conference Team in baseball.

Continuing their athletic careers at the collegiate level are Danielle Minott in basketball at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y.; Isaac Kassab in swimming at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass.; Shaun Berman in tennis at Washington University in St. Louis; and Olivia Katcher in swimming at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

Palmer Trinity sports

Palmer Trinity School seniors Sarah Medina, Kalle Fox and Danielle Littke were honored during Senior Signing Day.

Each year, PTS Senior Signing Day celebrates student-athletes who have been recruited to play in college. Medina will join the NCAA Division I Wake Forest University soccer team in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Fox the NCAA Division III Skidmore College volleyball team in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; and Littke the Palm Beach Community College volleyball team.


Sunshine State Games

More than 2,000 athletes competed in nine sports of Florida’s Sunshine State Games at the Sarasota County Festival.

In rowing, Anthony Touzard of Miami Beach won gold in Men Master 2X in 3:36.014 and was runner-up for silver in Men Master C (43-49) 1x in 4:04. Pinecrest’s Clemente Sanchez was third in Men Master C (43-49) 1x in 4:04.08. Ruben Merenfeld of North Miami Beach took silver in Men Junior (18 & Under) 1x in 4:00.007.

In stand-up paddleboard, Miami’s Helga Goebel won gold in Elite 6 Mile (18-49) Women’s 12.6 Race Board in 1:14:27.008.

In Ultimate Men’s Open, Miami’s James Glaze of The Delinquents captured a bronze medal.



South Miami’s Marianne Pazos, 38, won the women’s 35-39 age group during the Mack Cycle Triathlon Trilogy No. 1 at Virginia Key in Key Biscayne.

She covered a 0.25-mile swim, 8-mile bike, 3.1-mile run in 1 hour 2 minutes 46 seconds.

Rachel Blechman, 21, of Coral Gables was the first female finisher in 57:09. Vladimir Casanova, 38, of Miami won the men’s title in 49:01.

More Miami top finishers: Athena 165 0-39: 1. Angela Compton, Homestead, 1:22:37. Athena 165 40+: 1. Belkis Bengochea, Miami, 1:37:17. Clydesdale 220 0-39: 1. Jose Perez, Hialeah, 1:08:48.

FEMALE: 20-24: Rachel Losada, South Miami, 1:02:45. 25-29: 1. Victoria Paray, 28, Key Biscayne. 30-34: 1. Yanirys Frometa, Miami, 1:06:04. 50-54: 1. Leonora Gonzalez, Homestead, 1:08:01.

MALE: 20-24: 1. Brian Van Cleave, Miami, 59:07. 25-29: 1. Teddy Shriver, Miami Beach, 53:46. 30-34: 1. Alejandro Ortiz, Miami Springs, 57:01. 40-44: 1. Peter Meier, Homestead, 56:08. 45-49: 1. Santiago Pazos, Miami Beach, 54:57. 60-64: 1. Higinio Diaz, Miami, 1:03:54. 65-69: 1. Barry Wright, Miami, 1:13:55. 70-74: 1. Tim Regier, Miami, 1:04:21.


Kendall Hammocks flag football

The flag football program, through the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks and NFL Flag Football, continued play at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122nd Ave.

Led by Dylan Puentes, Dylan Rodriguez and Edgar Aguilar, the Rams went 2-0 for the week, totaling 53 points in the under-10 division. The Dolphins had 38 points in a win, sparked by Ethan Morris and MJ Padilla.

Results: U10: 49ers 13, Giants 6; Rams 32, Texans 6; Dolphins 38, Giants 12; Rams 21, 49ers 6; Texans 12, Saints 0; Seahawks 14, Giants 13. U12: Bears 27, Eagles 6; Raiders 26, Panthers 6; Packers 34, Seahawks 12; Panthers 19, Seahawks 0; Dolphins 27, Eagles 16; Bears 13, Packers 12; Dolphins 34, Raiders 13.

U16: Rams 32, Bears 7; Rams 36, 49ers 19; Panthers 35, Bears 7; 49ers 18, Bears 13. U6: Bucs 28, Seahawks 13; Dolphins 34, Cowboys 13; Bucs 31, Cowboys 6; Dolphins 28, Seahawks 0. U8: Dolphins 37, Seahawks 13; Dolphins 26, Broncos 12; Ravens 14, Broncos 7.

Contact Visit

Orange Bowl clinic

The Orange Bowl Committee is inviting South Florida youth football players and coaches to participate in the Orange Bowl Youth Football and Coaches Clinic, presented by Sports Authority, on June 28 at Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium on the campus of Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th St., Miami, 33199.

The FIU football coaching staff, led by head coach Ron Turner, will lead the youth and coaches clinic. The clinic is free of charge for all participants.

The day will be split into two sessions:

OB Youth Football Clinic

Boys and girls, age 5-15, may participate in this free half-day clinic.

Coach Turner, his assistant coaches and student athletes will run participants through offensive, defensive and agility drills, proper techniques to promote on-field football safety and talk about the importance of character development and good sportsmanship.

The goal is to provide youth the opportunity to be successful on and off the field, promote on-field football safety and reduce the number of injuries due to improper techniques and safety equipment.

Registration starts at 8 a.m., and the clinic runs from 9 a.m. until noon.

OB Coaches Clinic

All area youth football coaches are invited to this clinic.

Coach Turner and his assistant coaches will focus on practice drills, coaching strategies, precautions and safety measures, promoting character development and good sportsmanship.

Registration starts at noon, and the clinic runs from 1-3 p.m. The clinic is not open to children/players.

As part of the mission to serve the South Florida community, the Orange Bowl has hosted youth football clinics for youth football players and coaches for nearly a decade.

The Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance, presented by Sports Authority, will enter its 16th season and serves more than 16,000 young football players and cheerleaders in 10 football leagues across eight counties. Since its inception in 1999, the Orange Bowl has invested approximately $5 million in youth sports in South Florida.

For information or to register online visit

Students who have already began ninth grade classes are excluded from participation.

Running program

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

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

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

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

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

Participants can find updates and routes on the Facebook page:


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

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

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

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

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

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

For more info on Kids’ Tennis Clubs and school tennis go to

Thunder Summer Camp

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

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

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

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

Sibling discounts are available. Call for pricing and availability.

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

For information, visit or

Soccer training

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day Session 1: June 30-July 3

Day Session 2: July 14-18

Evening Session: July 14-18

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

Day Session 1: June 23-27

Day Session 2: July 7-11

Evening Session: July 7-11

For details about programs, dates and events, visit:

Archbishop Curley sports camp

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

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

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

Visit for information or to register online.

Florida Christian lacrosse

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

Suniland cheerleading, tackle football

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

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

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

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

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

For information, call Football Commissioner Jose Regalado at 305-458-1966 or e-mail


Kendall Hammocks cheerleading, tackle football

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

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

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

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

Tackle & Cheerleading Registrations Dates:

11 a.m.-3 p.m. June 28

Tackle Registration Fee: $180

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

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

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

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

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

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

For added tackle information, email Kendall Hammocks Football and Optimist President Mike Pintado at or visit the web site at

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

More events, leagues, programs

Miami Fury women’s football

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

visit ; or call 786-505-5585.

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


Kids love playing on teams, from junior team tennis to middle school tennis to high school. The new USTA Florida Regional Team Tennis Challenge is bringing recreational team play events to Miami-area children.

A USTA Florida Team Tennis Challenge for 10-under players, presented by Wilson Racquet Sports, will be hosted by the Tamiami Tennis Center, 11201 SW 24th St., on Saturday, June 28.

The one-day tournament will host gender-blind teams of no more than six players per team. Players must be age 10 or younger to compete in "orange ball" and "red ball" divisions.

The USTA Youth Tennis format allows smaller children to emulate adult play on smaller court sizes, with racquet sizes that fit their hands, low-compression low-bouncing balls, a simple scoring system, all adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where stars such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes.

These "BYOT" (bring your own team) events do not require previous team tennis league participation. USTA members and non-members can participate, with USTA members receiving a $10 discount on registration. Team registration closes on June 23. To register go to

“We have seen consistent demand across Florida for more open, recreational formats of play,” said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. “The new USTA Florida Team Tennis Challenges offer fewer restrictions, allowing more teams to participate.”

USTA Florida strongly encourages coaches to register teams early.

“The partnership with USTA Florida Team Tennis Challenges is a great fit for Wilson Racquet Sports and our shared vision to attract more youth participation,” said Erika Offerdahl, promotions manager for Wilson Racquet Sports.

Coaches and players can also connect with USTA Florida via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #BYOTeamTennis.

The Tamiami Tennis Center Tennis Center is at 11201 SW 24th St., Miami, 33165.

For more information or to register 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.

“We are absolutely committed to changing lives through tennis,” said Linda Curtis, executive director of the USTA Florida Section Foundation. “This agreement is a prime example of how USTA Florida and our Foundation work together to impact communities each and every day. These athletes play tennis for the pure joy of the sport. It’s inspiring to see, and I’m proud to know that we will be able to provide even more opportunities for them to play through this partnership.”

Sherry Wheelock, president and chief executive officer of Special Olympics Florida, said: “At Special Olympics Florida, we embrace the transformative power of sports. USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation will help us bring first-rate trainings and competitive experiences to our athletes throughout the state. We are excited for this new partnership and are confident that it will further ignite a passion in our athletes for tennis.”

To get a program started, Special Olympics coaches may apply for a USTA Florida Section Foundation equipment grant for adaptive tennis equipment and other program needs by contacting Jessica Flynn at Special Olympics Florida.

For additional training opportunities and training resources, contact Linda Curtis at the USTA Florida Section Foundation at


USTA Serves, the national charitable foundation of the United States Tennis Association, announced awards of $450,000 in grants to 40 organizations that provide tennis and education to underserved youth and people with disabilities. This brings the total awarded during the 2013 grant funding cycle to more than $1.2 million. Combined with scholarships, USTA Serves awarded a total of $1.6 million in 2013.

Special Olympics Florida of Miami-Dade County is a grant recipient. It incorporates tennis in providing year-round sports training and competition to children and adults age 8 and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It currently serves 2,848 athletes throughout Miami-Dade County.

The biannual grant process, a national initiative of USTA Serves, was established to award organizations that successfully combine tennis and education for underserved youth as well as people with disabilities to gain an opportunity to play tennis and improve their academic skills in a structured format. These programs also strive to help combat childhood obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles.

“USTA Serves is proud to end the year by awarding and recognizing some of the country’s most phenomenal programs for their efforts toward impacting the lives of youth through tennis and education,” Dan Faber, USTA Serves executive director, said in a release. “These programs have a solid foundation and exhibit tremendous dedication to serving children who deserve a life filled with education and physical activities. For this, we thank them for leading the way in designing a nurturing environment where students can thrive and succeed on and off the tennis court.”

USTA Serves has awarded more than $17 million in grants and scholarships to standout players and programs throughout the country in order to provide at-risk and underserved youth with greater opportunities to achieve success.

For more information about USTA Serves, visit

Marlins Jose’s Heroes

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

For $16, fans receive:

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

A José's Heroes T-shirt

A 'K' Card to wave when José records a strikeout

Go to

Marlins Tours

The Miami Marlins offer behind-the-scenes tours of Marlins Park. The tours are open to the public on non-event days for $10 per person.

The tour includes visits to the field (behind home plate), home clubhouse, home batting cage area and Diamond Club, Promenade Level featuring the art in the facility, the bobblehead museum and the premium areas, including the suites.

Tours operate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except when the Marlins play at home or when other major events are scheduled at Marlins Park. Group tours of 10 to 25 people are available by appointment.

For more information, fans can call 1-877-MARLINS or e-mail Tickets can be purchased at the ticket windows on Felo Ramirez Drive (Northwest Sixth Street between 14th and 15th avenues) and are for the time and date specified.

Tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable.

HOF baseball

Hall Of Fame Baseball is sponsoring travel baseball teams for 11-12, 13-14, 15-18 (high school) players.

Hall Of Fame Coach Rich Hofman and his staff will coach the teams, which will practice and play in tournaments and leagues. Register for a tryout at or call David Hofman at 954-804-5600 or Ed Tisdale at 803-463-2591.

Youth Rugby South Miami

The Miami Rugby Youth Division, for boys ages 6-18, practices from 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays at Murray Park and Wednesdays at Palmer Park, 6120 SW 67th Ave., South Miami. Call 305-400-0134, ext. 101.

Visit .

Tennis classes, programs

Tennis classes and programs for all ages are at the Penny Sugarman Tennis Center at Sans Souci, 1795 Sans Souci Blvd., North Miami. Call for information on group lessons, annual passes, court rates and private lessons. Tennis pro is Ross Dubins. Call 305-893-7130.

Soccer 5 Academy

Soccer 5 Academy Mini Soccer Program, also referred to as small-sided soccer, makes its South Florida debut at three Miami-Dade County-owned parks — Tropical Park (7900 Bird Rd.), Kendall Soccer Park (8011 SW 127th Ave.) and Amelia Earhart Park (401 E. 65th St., Hialeah).

Headed by Soccer 5’s Director of Coaching Development Alan Georgeson, who has more than 15 years of experience in Europe in mini/small-sided soccer, kids 3 to 12 years old will learn the history of mini soccer, the basics of how to play, reasons why mini soccer is the preferred form of soccer for kids, youth and even adults, and will have the opportunity to play in “3v3” to “7v7” matches.

The three locations make mini/small-sided soccer available across the county, providing a greater opportunity for children and families to access the proper 4G turf game fields specifically designed for “5v5,” “6v6” and “7v7” games.

With smaller fields, mini soccer is much easier for young children or children who have never played. In addition, mini soccer is designed for competition among teams with fewer players, providing more opportunity for pick-up games, as well as more opportunity to play the ball making mini soccer popular with older players, too.

Soccer 5 Tropical Park is open 3 p.m. to midnight Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to midnight Saturdays and Sundays.

“I cannot thank Miami-Dade Parks and our Soccer 5 coaching staff enough for making our dream of developing small-sided soccer for kids in the Greater Miami area a reality,” Georgeson said. “It is an exciting time for us at Soccer 5 as we continue to expand our Kids Academy in South Florida built on the success of our public/private partnership with Miami-Dade Parks and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade.”

Allison Diego, director of business development, fundraising and advocacy for Miami-Dade Parks’ Recreation and Open Spaces Department, added: “The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade is delighted to partner with The Soccer 5 vision to provide an outstanding experience for this community through soccer. We are happy to be a part of this important child sports development.”

For more information or to register, visit


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

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

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

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

Soccer Academy of the Americas ( at Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24th St. (786-486-3804)

Pinecrest Premier Soccer ( at Deerwood Bonita Lakes, 11511 S. Dixie Hwy. (305-255-3422).

Optimist Club of Westchester ( at Tropical Park, 7900 Bird Rd., (786-370-4222).

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

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

Southern Soccer Coalition-AYSO ( at Millers Pond Park, 13350 SW 47th St. and Westwind Lakes Park, 6805 SW 152nd Ave. (305-965-0083).

Thunder basketball

Thunder Basketball opened its new year-round facility at ThunderPleX, 1440 NW 82th Ave., Doral.

Thunder Basketball is currently running a day camp and summer league, open to boys and girls ages 5 to 17. Thunder Basketball’s mission is to teach the principles, fundamentals and basic skills of the game. It stresses the importance of team and sportsmanship.

Thunder also encourages players to succeed in the classroom and all aspects of life. For more information visit Registration is now open. Email or call 786-505-5585.

Miami Lady Express basketball

The Miami Lady Express girls’ basketball team needs funding to continue competing in tournaments throughout the United States. The coaches volunteered to train the girls, giving them something positive to do, and the parents have been raising funds.

Travel costs, food, tournament fees and lodging are very expensive for these girls. They practice at the Keys Gate Gym in Florida City and South Dade High School, where their coaches teach. Contact Coach Larry Hicks at 786-301-2577.

Tamiami basketball

Tamiami youth basketball registration is open for girls and boys ages 5 to 16. Email or call 305 -273-1145.

Heads Up

Former tight end Troy Drayton played nine seasons in the NFL, including 1996-99 with the Miami Dolphins, and he is now the Dolphins’ youth program coordinator.

Drayton is adding a new title to his résumé — NFL Ambassador for Heads Up Football.

The NFL and USA Football jointly announced the national launch of Heads Up Football, a youth football program aimed at making football better and safer for all who play it. The program is being supported with a $1.5 million grant from the NFL Foundation.

Three million kids already play tackle football, and the game can be even safer. Heads Up Football includes a tackling model that removes the head from the game.

Heads Up Football has five core elements: The use of the Heads Up Tackling model; coaching certification; Player Safety Coaches; concussion education; and proper equipment-fitting.

The program was launched in three test markets last year. This year, it will expand to more than 600 youth leagues in all 50 states. Of these leagues, 100 will be assigned a former NFL player mentor. Drayton will serve as a mentor to a local Heads Up League — the Tamiami Colts of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.

Rebelle volleyball

Rebelle Athletics Club offers girls’ volleyball tryouts at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School, 4949 NE Second Ave.

The volleyball club, a member of the United States Volleyball Association, is under the direction of Mandi Tate, Dee Rey and former Barry University player Kelly Dantas. They are former coaches with South Florida Volleyball Club and currently coach at the Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School Biscayne Bay Campus.

Rebelle Athletics is dedicated to providing developmental and participatory athletic sports programs beginning at the youth development level. It offers a progression of sports activities for persons of all ages, races and creeds. It strives to enhance the physical, mental and moral development of amateur athletes at all levels, promoting sportsmanship and active citizenship.

Visit .


Jai-alai is open to anyone, age 10 to 80.

With a rubber ball and cestas, the amateur jai-alai facility is at 1935 NE 150th St. in North Miami, near FIU’s North Campus.

It is indoors, air-conditioned and open to all. Call Luis at 305-389-2313 or Bob at 786-556-3574.

Jai-Alai for women

Who said you have to be a male to play jai-alai? Just as females play the sport in Spain, France and Mexico, women can play it in South Florida at the amateur indoor, air-conditioned fronton at 1935 NE 150 St., North Miami, near FIU’s North Campus.

There are also leagues for males and children. Rubber or plastic balls are used with free lessons by former pros. Cestas and balls are also provided free with a nominal court fee. Open every day. Email or call Brucio 786-629-5428. The American Amateur Jai-Alai Academy is a not-for-profit organization.

CB Sports Leagues

CB Sports Club offers youth basketball, flag football, youth soccer, adult soccer and adult basketball. Visit or call 786-273-5639.

Physically Challenged

Miami-Dade Parks welcomes children with disabilities in its youth leagues. If you need accommodations to participate, call 305-735-7847 (V/TDD).