Miami-Dade County

Sports Scene: Miami Midnites of Maccabi Haifa win Florida Basketball Association title

There’s a new basketball champion in Miami, and it’s not the Heat.

The Miami Midnites, a professional developmental team and minor league affiliate of the Maccabi Haifa professional basketball team of the Israeli Basketball Super League, capped its inaugural season in the Florida Basketball Association with a championship after defeating the Tampa Bay Rebels 98-82.

The relationship is an unprecedented one to have a minor league team in the States be a feeder system for an international basketball team in Israel.

The Midnites are owned by Aventura businessman Jeff Rosen, chairman of Triangle Entertainment, a sports and entertainment firm in Miami, who owns the Maccabi Haifa professional basketball franchise in Israel. Rosen made the decision he wanted to recruit "under the radar" talent close to home and sign the best prospects for his teams in Israel and South America.

The Midnites played in the FBA, a Florida-based professional basketball league providing a development, branding and exposure platform for athletes, referees and other individuals seeking to further their professional basketball career.

The FBA completed its third season, and the FBA commissioner is Greg Kite, a former NBA player with the Boston Celtics.


FBA Championship game recap

The Miami Midnites professional basketball team, the minor league affiliate of the Maccabi Haifa basketball franchise in Israel, were crowned the Florida Basketball Association champion after defeating the Tampa Bay Rebels 98-82 at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie.

The Midnites (13-1) concluded their inaugural season in the FBA on a 10-game win streak. Miami's Orane Chin, a former Cal State Fullerton forward, was named MVP of the championship, tallying 23 points on 9-of-18 from the field (5-of-8 from beyond the arc) and grabbing eight rebounds.

Six Miami players scored in double-figures with standout Cedric McGowan registering 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Miami’s Terrance Shelman notched a double-double 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Midnites crashed the boards, out-rebounding the Rebels 69-58. The Miami defense pressured Tampa Bay constantly, forcing 28 turnovers, while registering 10 steals.


Nigel Spikes, 24, the Miami Midnites‘ 6-foot-11 prospect and a Miami native, returned to playing competitive basketball after suffering a heart-attack following his collegiate career at Division I Marshall University. Spikes, who was cleared medically to play during the season, showcased his talents.

He said: “At first it was a little scary, but the team welcomed me with open arms. They told me to take my time and don't overdo it, and I got comfortable, which helped me a lot. I feel great now and happy to be a part of this team.”

Spikes on the successful Miami Midnites‘ season: “It was nice playing with a great group of guys; we are all like family. I was new to the team, and it was a great season with a lot of battles. We got the job done.”

Miami Midnites coach Shakey Rodriguez on the game: “I’m very proud of the guys. The defense in the first half was the best of the year. By virtue of that, we got a big lead early. We defended, and we rebounded, and that was the key. The guys wanted to win, and they come through the way they had to.”

Rodriguez, a Florida Association of Basketball Coaches Hall of Famer, on the season and league: “I enjoyed the league. I would like to see it grow. You want to see more balance, and you want to see more teams, so that you have a little more variety on the schedule. Tampa was a formidable opponent. This was not an easy game. The scoreboard did not indicate the type of effort we had to have to win this game. This league allows players to develop and showcase their talent and maybe catch on somewhere else. I'm looking forward to hopefully continuing in it.”

Jeff Rosen -- Aventura businessman, owner of the Maccabi Haifa basketball franchise in Israel, owner of the Miami Midnites -- on the successful first season of the Midnites: “Our first year in Israel, our Maccabi Haifa team got to the final, but we came up short. So, it feels extra sweet to be here in Miami in the States to get it done this time. I'm really proud of the guys and that we could bring home the championship.”

Rosen on the Miami Midnites being a feeder system to Maccabi Haifa in Israel: “We'’ building a developmental league team for the future that will feed our international team, which today is Maccabi Haifa in Israel, but we do have expansion plans in South America as well. Our feeder system will come from the Miami Midnites, and we took a giant step this year in putting together a strong program. Additionally, we are looking to play in the Fall as well as the Spring and Summer so we can have 12 months of year-round basketball to feed our teams in Israel and South America so they have a strong foundation.”

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 Rosen, the team earned its first title in franchise history after being crowned the 2012-13 Israeli League champion. The team was purchased by Rosen in July 2007.

For information about Maccabi Haifa, visit


South Miami-Dade County (Doral Park Country Club) won the USTA Florida League 18 & Over Sectional Men’s 4.0 championship and will represent the USTA Florida Section at USTA League Nationals.

Fifty four teams representing USTA League local champion squads throughout Florida competed during the weekend with the Men's and Women’s 3.0 and 5.0 divisions contested at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach and the 4.0 divisions at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center and Vinoy Renaissance Resort in St. Petersburg.

In the finals, South Miami-Dade County (Doral Park Country Club) beat Marion County (Fort King Tennis Center, Ocala) 4-1.

No. 1 Singles: John Narus (Miami) d. Oleksandr Kovalchuk 6-3, 6-2. No. 2 Singles: Mario Hidalgo (Miami) d. Matthew Yelken 2-6, 6-1, 1-0 (super-tiebreak). No. 1 Doubles: Eli Panell/Guillermo Brito (Miami) d. Chris Reed/Kaywan Afkhamie 6-2, 6-0. No. 2 Doubles: Alfredo Lomeli/Franco Palmiotto (Miami) d. William Steigner/Christopher Ulbricht 6-1, 6-2. No. 3 Doubles: Jeff Williams/Lukas Hago (Marion) d. Armando Cabane/Octavio Gomez 7-6, 5-7, 1-0 (super-tiebreak).

The champs are Eli Panell (captain), Mario Hidalgo, Alfredo Lomeli, Armando Cabane, Ramiro Abran, Octavio Gomez, Guillermo Brito, Patrick Kettel, Gustavo Alvarez, Jean Texier, Alberto Pierini, John Narus, Hans Sarmiento, Manuel Mifsut, Richard Samson, Cristian Mateluna and Franco Palmiotto.

South Miami-Dade County (Doral Park Country Club) advances to the USTA League 18 & Over 4.0 National Championships on Oct. 17-19 at the Jim Reffkin Tennis Center in Tucson, Ariz.

For information or general information on USTA Florida Leagues, go to

Miami Dolphins High School event

The Miami Dolphins held their second annual South Florida High School Media Day at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. The event which is open to all high schools in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties featured more than 75 teams.

“The event is really two-fold”, Miami Dolphins Youth Programs Manager Troy Drayton said. “We are able to get the local media all the information they need about the players and schools as well as prepare these kids for the next level. When they are playing college football, they will have media days and we want to make sure they are ready and prepared for those events.”

Teams that represented Miami-Dade County were American Senior, Archbishop Carroll, Belen Jesuit, Braddock, Champagnat Catholic, Columbus, Coral Gables, Dr. Michael M. Krop, Ferguson, Florida Christian, Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, Hialeah Miami Lakes, Homestead, Immaculata-La Salle High School, Keys Gate, Mater Academy, Miami Beach, Miami Carol City, Miami Central, Miami Edison, Miami High, Miami Jackson, Miami Norland, Miami Palmetto, Miami Southwest, Miami Springs, Miami Sunset, Mourning, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Ronald Reagen, South Miami, Westland Hialeah and defending national champ Booker T. Washington.

“It’s great, you see these media events going on all summer for the guys at the college level and it gives kids a head start to understanding what they’re going to be getting into,” Booker T. Washington head coach Tim Harris Jr. said. “I know this is a smaller version of it but for them to get any experience sitting in front of the media answering questions in front of a microphone is a positive.”

From Broward County, teams represented were American Heritage, Archbishop McCarthy, Blanche Ely, Cardinal Gibbons, Chaminade-Madonna, Coconut Creek, Cooper City, Coral Glades, Coral Springs, Cypress Bay, Deerfield Beach, Dillard, Everglades, Flanagan, Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood Hills, J.P. Taravella, McArthur, Miramar, Monarch, Monsignor Pace, North Broward, Northeast, Nova, Pine Crest, Pines Charter, Piper, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Somerset Academy, South Broward, South Plantation, St. Thomas, Stoneman Douglas, Stranahan, University School, Western, Westminster and Westminster Academy.

Each team brought up to five players to meet with the different media outlets. They were given 20 minutes to do head shots, team photos as well as a five minute press conference. After the teams made their rounds, each outlet conducted its own private session with the athletes and coaches. There were nearly a dozen outlets that came to cover the event and conduct interviews

“They had a great time and everyone is all giddy standing outside the door getting ready for interviews,” Miami Sunset head coach Joseph Petisco said. “A lot of times we as adults forget how it was to be a kid. This type of thing is not that big of a deal to us as coaches but for the kids it’s all about them and they love doing this type of stuff. So this is a great experience.”

Tickets are available at

Kendall Hammocks football

Ryan Ramirez, Angel Orozco, Colton Smith and Aiden Rodriquez scored on runs as the Kendall Hammocks Warriors Pee Wees tackle football team beat the host Hollywood PAL Eagles 25-6 in week two of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.

The defense was ignited by Reyes Herrera’s fumble recovery on the Eagles’ first possession to help the Pee Wees even their record at 1-1.

In the 85s, Kendall Hammocks improved to 2-0 by defeating the Eagles 24-0. A solid rushing performance of more than 200 yards and a defense that limited the Warriors to negative total yards keyed the win.

Kendall Hammocks 100s beat the Eagles 28-6 with touchdown passes from Angelo Ipparraguire to Dylan Puentes and Bryan Jacobson to Edgar Aguilar. The defense was led by Darius Conner, who had five tackles, and Keylon Leno who scored on a 40-yard interception return.

Kendall Hammocks 130s improved to 2-0 behind two touchdown passes by Anthony Cordovi, one 45 yards to Seth Robinson and the other to Dahven Gaynair. The game was sealed when rookie Mikkael Laraque scored on an interception return.

After last week’s tough last minute loss to Hialeah, the Kendall Hammocks 145s rebounded with a 32-0 victory over Hollywood PAL. Running backs Gio Isaza and Nick Watson each scored, and Andres Ruiz-Sanchez threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zack Chaveza to lead the offense. Cornerback Adrain Diaz had an interception, and Jeffery Perez blocked a punt which was returned for a touchdown by Nick Watson.


AJ Sardina of Key Biscayne won the boys’ 13-15 age group during event No.9 of the SFPGA Junior Challenge Tour, presented by The Honda Classic, at Hawk’s Nest Golf Club in Vero Beach.

Sardina shot 14 over (82-76--158). He tied for second in boys’ 13-18.

The girls’ 13-18 age division needed an extra hole to determine a winner, and Coral Gables resident Sara Ciliberto won it. A Venezuelan native, she opened with a 6-over par 78 to take the first round lead. She totaled 14 over (78-80--158).

Jake Beber-Frankel of Miami was runner-up in boys’ 11-12. He fired 7 over (76-75--151). Miami’s Juan Hurtado finished fifth in boys’ 16-18.

Beber-Frankel placed third in boys’ 11-12 with a final round 2-under-par 70 the following week at event No.10 at Worthington Country Club in Fort Myers.

For information on the Junior Tour and its respective Championship and Challenge tours, visit the new South Florida PGA Junior Tour website at

More events, leagues, programs

Miami Marlins wives fundraiser

The Miami Marlins Wives Foundation chose Camp Erin as its Foundation of Choice, and because of its support, the Marlins Wives Foundation has helped fund raise more than $11,000 to Camp Erin.

Catholic Hospice will be recognizing the Miami Marlins wives along with their husbands at the inaugural Shooting Star Cocktail from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 at The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, 3280 S Miami Ave, Miami, 33133. It is a fundraiser benefiting Camp Erin , a free bereavement camp for children suffering the loss of a loved one.

Tickets are $50 per person and include appetizers, open bar and silent auction. Sponsorships opportunities of all levels are available.

With the support of the community, Camp Erin host two camps yearly, and since 2013, Camp Erin South Florida has served more than 250 children.

One in seven children in the United States will experience the death of a loved one before age 20, but few are prepared to deal with the grief that follows. At Camp Erin, children learn that they are not alone in their grief. The fun, familiar environment of camp is combined with planned activities that give children a chance to honor their loved ones, express their feelings and make lasting friendships with their peers facing a similar life circumstance. Led by grief professionals and trained volunteers, Camp Erin helps children learn to cope and to heal.

For information, call Katharine Fuente at 305-984-3817 or Maylen Montoto at 305-351-7102.


The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair’s Cross-Country Race, open to middle school and high school athletes, will occur Thursday, Sept. 18 at Larry and Penny Thompson Park, 12451 SW 194th St., Miami.

Junior varsity races begin promptly at 3 p.m. followed by varsity races at 4:45 p.m. The final race of the day starts at 5:20 p.m. Winners will receive their awards, including the new Miami-Dade Mayor's Cup, at an awards ceremony following the races.

The Youth Fair's annual Cross-Country Race draws more than 1,500 high school and middle school students from Miami-Dade County public and private schools to compete at the park's cross-country track. The race has become part of the Youth Sports Championship Series, which is the premier sponsor of the event.

The Youth Sports Championship Series aims to build and support a strong foundation of organized sports through a series of sport championships coordinated by the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department and the local governing body of the individual youth sport.

Champions will be crowned in 10 sports at 15 events, predominantly at Miami-Dade County-owned parks and facilities. Winners of championships in tennis, track and field, basketball, baseball, flag football, golf, swimming, wrestling, cross country, cheer and dance, and soccer will be crowned with the Mayor's Cup.

The Youth Fair and the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department work together to promote a year round athletic program. Annually, there are more than 6,000 public and private school students who participate in the various sporting events: swimming and diving, cross country, tennis, track, golf, bowling, wrestling and badminton. These events are open to middle and high school students.

All athletic events are held in accordance with the official rules of the National Federation of State High School Association, Florida High School Activities Association and the Greater Miami Athletic Conference (GMAC).

The Youth Fair is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization that awards more than $300,000 annually in college scholarships, cash premiums and awards to local public, private, charter and home school students. To date, The Youth Fair has awarded well over $10 million to Miami-Dade students to help them achieve higher education. In 2014, it awarded $90,000 in college scholarships, including $7,000 to winners of Miami-Dade County Public School's inaugural Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in Ethics Essay Contest.

The Youth Fair is the only venue where students can showcase their educational, art and science achievements all in one place and be rewarded for their efforts. More than 40,000 student projects are exhibited annually to more than half a million families, friends and fairgoers.


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

Heads Up

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

Drayton added a new title to his résumé — 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 expanded to more than 600 youth leagues in 50 states. Of these leagues, 100 were assigned a former NFL player mentor. Drayton served as a mentor to a local Heads Up League — the Tamiami Colts of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.


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.

Thunder basketball

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

Registration is 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.


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

Tennis classes, programs

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

Marlins Jose’s Heroes

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

For $16, fans receive:

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

A José's Heroes T-shirt

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

Go to

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 .

Soccer 5 Academy

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.

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).

Heads Up

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

Drayton 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).

How to recognize someone or team in Sports Scene

Sports Scene spotlights news and notes from youth sports and adult league activities with the aim to feature game notes and the accomplishments of athletes from Miami-Dade County.

We rely on league directors and coaches, 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.

All sports are welcome as long as the team, individual or league is Miami-based.