Youth Sports

Mo Steel Football, R.Y.A.N. Football excel at NFL FLAG Championships during Super Bowl Week in Phoenix

R.Y.A.N. Football from Miami won the 10U division for the second consecutive year at the NFL FLAG Championships during Super Bowl XLIX Week in Phoenix. The national champs are front from left, Yavis Ferrell, Antino Smith, Nicholas Sosa, Jonjon Delgado Nicholas Sosa, Floyd Ridgeway; back, Coach Rudy Fernandez, Travios Lathan, Carson Haggard, Dedrick Browder, Matthew Boston, Kelvon Durham, and Coach Mike Haggard. Not pictured are Johan Betancourt and Patrick Webb. (CLICK ON ARROWS FOR MORE PHOTOS)
R.Y.A.N. Football from Miami won the 10U division for the second consecutive year at the NFL FLAG Championships during Super Bowl XLIX Week in Phoenix. The national champs are front from left, Yavis Ferrell, Antino Smith, Nicholas Sosa, Jonjon Delgado Nicholas Sosa, Floyd Ridgeway; back, Coach Rudy Fernandez, Travios Lathan, Carson Haggard, Dedrick Browder, Matthew Boston, Kelvon Durham, and Coach Mike Haggard. Not pictured are Johan Betancourt and Patrick Webb. (CLICK ON ARROWS FOR MORE PHOTOS)

R.Y.A.N. Football from Miami won the 10U division for the second consecutive year at the NFL FLAG Championships during Super Bowl XLIX Week in Phoenix.

Led by captains Carson Haggard and Floyd Ridgeway, R.Y.A.N. 10U went 5-1 to win the national title. The national champs are Matthew Boston, Dedrick Browder, Jon Jon Delgado, Kelvon Durham, Carson Haggard, Travious Latham, Floyd Ridgeway, Antonio Smith, Christian Sosa, and Nicholas Sosa. The coaches are Rudy Fernandez and Michael Haggard.

The R.Y.A.N. 12U team reached the quarterfinals at nationals, losing 15-14 in overtime to the eventual national champs. Led by captions Madison Haggard and Ainara Vadillo, R.Y.A.N. qualified for nationals in Houston.

The R.Y.A.N. 14U team also qualified in Houston and reached the quarterfinals at nationals where they lost 22-21 in overtime. R.Y.A.N. was led by captains Jalen Sloan and Tyler Farias.

Youth flag football teams from across the United States had the opportunity to make their mark at the Phoenix Convention Center, home of the NFL Experience engineered by GMC, as they competed in the NFL FLAG Championships, powered by USA Football.

Thirty-two teams competed in four divisions at the annual event with a winner crowned at each level: Ryan Football from Miami (9-10 coed); VXS Purple from Leesburg, Va., (10-11 coed); Tucson Turf from Tucson, Ariz., (13-14 boys); and the Steiner Ranch Cowboys from Austin, Texas (13-14 girls).

Teams qualified for the national championships by winning regional tournaments hosted by NFL clubs. Ryan Football qualified at regionals in New York.

In 2014, a record number 250,000 boys and girls, age 5-17, were part of NFL FLAG, powered by USA Football, a fun and dynamic non-contact football experience where kids can develop skills and learn lessons in teamwork, dedication and discipline.

Players and coaches arrived Jan. 24 for a five-day trip to the Phoenix area to compete in the tournament. The stay included hotel, food, transportation and social events for all teams. Players and coaches also participated in the NFL Pro Bowl pre-game and halftime show and participated in Super Bowl Media Day. Flag teams had the opportunity to practice on Saturday and Sunday before taking the field to compete in the NFL FLAG Championships at Super Bowl.

Regional tournaments were hosted by the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins.

NFL Director of Youth and High School Football Roman Oben said. “NFL FLAG is a great way to learn the basics of our game in a fun, fast-paced environment, and we enjoyed watching these kids experience the excitement of Pro Bowl and Super Bowl while competing.”

Samantha Rapoport, USA Football’s director of football development, said: “USA Football congratulates all of our NFL FLAG teams that earned the right to compete for a national title. The excitement of watching these 32 teams compete in Phoenix was only surpassed by the enthusiasm shown and the fun being had by these young players themselves.”

For the first time at the NFL FLAG national championships, the 32 qualifying teams wore different replica jerseys representing each of the 32 NFL teams.

Mo Steel flag football

Mo Steel Flag Football, representing the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami Beach, competed in the NFL FLAG Championships in Phoenix.

Three Mo Steel teams qualified for the national championships by each winning an NFL Regional Championship. Regional Champions from around the country played for the national championship as a part of the NFL’s Super Bowl Week in Phoenix.

Of the 25,000 teams that started the season, the Mo Steel 12U and 14U teams reached the NFL Flag finals at nationals.

The national runners-up are:

Mo Steel Vets 14U: Matteo Marcato, David Egozi, Will Poses, Josh Silverman, Matthew Kaye, David Ezekiel, Zack Gervais, Bailey Finkelberg, Nate Griffiths, and coaches David Fried and Dave Kaye.

Mo Steel Seniors 12U: Tyler Gale, Johnny Fishman, Aaron Felder, Tywan Cash, Robert Behar, Hakeem Sturrup, Ryan Mendelson, Tyronn Streeter, Presley Pomeranc, and coaches Joseph Behar and Isaac Halberstein.

“Making it to the final is a tremendous accomplishment that very few programs have the opportunity to experience,” David Fried, Mo Steel Football founder, said in a release. “I am very proud of the way our players competed all week long. We played with heart, determination, with class and most importantly, played for each other.”

Mo Steel Juniors 10U also participated in the NFL FLAG Championships in Phoenix. They are Jonathan Bacal, Steven Friedman, Levi Gans, Avi Lalo, Andres Ruah, Eli Silverman, Mekhi Smith, Allan Strimber, Marc Wendrow, Abraham Klainbaum, and coaches Joseph Behar and Hector Clavijo.

As a part of the festivities, the Mo Steel players and coaches participated in the NFL Pro Bowl on-field pre-game celebrations, Super Bowl Media Day, NFL Experience and other team activities including the Mo Steel Pep Rally.

Mo Steel will soon be entering its 16th season. If interested in trying out, contact Coach Yossi Behar, director of Football, at josephb@marjcc.org.

St. Brendan lacrosse

On the eve of St. Brendan High School’s 40th anniversary, the inaugural season of boys’ lacrosse begins.

During the summer, St. Brendan Principal Jose Rodelgo-Bueno hired Doug Shanahan to be the director of the new lacrosse program.

“My goal for this season is to build a foundation of success for the coming years and to win games by building on team work and chemistry,” Shanahan said in a release. “I am also very excited to have been given the opportunity to build the program from the ground up.”

Along with his coaching duties, Shanahan is St. Brendan’s strength and conditioning coach for all student-athletes and also teaches PE. He played lacrosse at Hofstra University, and after graduation, he continued his lacrosse career, playing for the Major Lacrosse League’s Long Island Lizards.

Shanahan was the winner of the First Tewaaraton Award in 2001, an award given annually to the most outstanding American lacrosse player. He was the 2010 USL Coach of the Year, and in 2012 he coached Pine Crest High School in Fort Lauderdale, earning Miami Herald All-Broward Lacrosse Coach of the Year honors.

Why did St. Brendan High School want to add a new athletic sport to its lineup?

Athletic Director Julio Arnaiz said, “We are always looking to expand our athletic program so that we can offer as much variety to our student-athletes as possible. Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the United States right now, and it just seemed like the perfect moment to add this as a new sport to our portfolio.”

The school’s athletic department announced the addition of boys’ lacrosse to its line-up in the spring, and the sign-up sheet was full almost immediately.

St. Brendan junior Gaby Cardona said: “I wanted to try something new and to be part of the new sport at St. Brendan High School. Conditioning practices have been tough, but they have also been fun and exciting.”

Junior Carlos Clavijo, a first-time player, had no idea what to expect.

“Coach has taught us the rules and plays to ensure that we have a successful season,” Clavijo said. “Knowing what it takes to be a great lacrosse player, he expects us to try our hardest.”

The St. Brendan lacrosse team will begin its 17-game season at Pope John Paul II High School’s Pre-Season Lacrosse Tournament in Boca Raton. St. Brendan administration, faculty, staff and students are looking forward to watching their first lacrosse home game on Feb. 24.

Riviera Preparatory wrestling

The Riviera Preparatory School varsity wrestling team made school history by competing in its first district duals, “The Battle at the Beach,” at Island Christian School in Islamorada.

The Bulldogs pinned 19 opponents, outscored six and lost nine matches (five by forfeit).

Highlights include: Nabil Tawfik went 4-1 (four first period pins) at 113 pounds; Jorge Puig was undefeated at 5-0 earning the most team points (four pins, one injury stoppage) at 138; George Giampetro III went 4-1 (four first period pins, one injury stoppage loss) at 120; Jose Dapena wrestled up a weight class at 145 pounds, going 2-3 (one pin, one tech pin 16-0).

Arthur Volpe made a big weight cut, dropping to 160 pounds. He scored the quickest pin of the tournament at 16 seconds and finished with a 3-2 record. Grant Kleber made school history by being the first Riviera Prep sixth grade wrestler to win a varsity high school match, and he did it by pin at 182 pounds.

Palmer Trinity basketball

The Palmer Trinity School girls’ varsity basketball team won its third consecutive district championship with a 65-15 victory over Marathon High School.

Seniors Janelle Gonzalez, Ilana Baiamonte, Hannah Forristall, Claire Hebb, Sabrina Yanes, Victoria Quintero, and Samantha Waldman did a good job leading the Falcons the past three seasons. The coaches are James Valle, Juan Gonzalez, Cory Jenkins and Casey Coggins.

Palmer Trinity School—a coeducational, Episcopal day school—provides a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that integrates knowledge, compassion and social responsibility, an essential goal of the school’s mission. The school serves students from a broad range of socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds in grades 6-12.

For information about the school, visit www.palmertrinity.org

To follow Palmer Trinity School on Facebook,

https://www.facebook.com/PTSfanpage

Nova Southeastern basketball

Miami’s Jasmine Wilkins, a senior on the Nova Southeastern University basketball team, was named first team Capital One Academic All-District as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Wilkins has a 4.0 GPA as part of her grad school program and a 3.74 undergrad GPA in athletic administration. The 5-10 forward is the second-leading scorer on the women’s team this season at 13.2, second in rebounding at 5.9 and among the nation's leaders in field-goal percentage at 61.7 percent. She broke into the 1,000-point club earlier this season.

Wilkins, a Hialeah Senior High School grad, played four years of high school basketball for Coach Denoff Johnson. She averaged 16.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks her senior season, being named Miami Herald All-Dade first-team. She also played two seasons high school volleyball.

Wilkins, who already graduated with a college degree in business administration, is pursuing her Master's of Science in education with a specialization in athletic administration.

Hochberg basketball

The Hochberg Preparatory School fifth grade girls’ basketball team started its season with a 15-9 win over Hillel.

The Lions were led by scorers Alexandra Sragowitz, Elsa Abitbol and Madison Davidovic and stellar defense by Joelle Ben Sadon and Skye Mawardi. Hochberg girls’ basketball teams have lost only one game in three years.

Westwood Christian basketball

Senior Eugene Joseph recently surpassed the 1,000-point mark in a high school basketball career. Eugene, a four-year starter for the Westwood Christian School boys’ basketball team, is averaging 26 points per game this season.

Cushman sports

Special Olympics athlete Andy Miyares of Miami delivered an impressive speech to Cushman Middle School students about overcoming challenges and pursuing his personal goals.

Andy traveled the world competing in swimming. He earned many world records and even swam with Michael Phelps.

Several athletes from Special Olympics participated with Cushman students in the school’s Blue & White Day competitions, emphasizing sportsmanship and camaraderie.

Bay Skate launch

Bay Skate is a fun-filled family activity created by the Macias brothers, founders of an integrated creative content & brand development advertising agency based in Miami.

Located in the heart of Downtown Miami’s Bayfront Park, Macias created Bay Skate to help activate one of the city’s most important parks and surrounding communities, that’s currently booming with new residents, local businesses, and experiencing an exciting evolution.

After winning The Miami Foundation’s “Public Space Challenge,” this exciting initiative is set to launch on Feb. 26.

Macias hopes the inaugural event will set the stage for their bigger idea of creating an ongoing community activation that benefits the park and local community, allowing Bay Skate to evolve into a monthly Downtown staple during the late Fall through early Spring seasons.

Bay Skate will be fueled by live music and DJ sets, spinning the perfect mix of skate jams, including old school funk, soul, freestyle and other mixed-genre classics that will set the mood. The team has also announced that classic hip-hop legend Monie Love will emcee and host the launch.

Cavaliers football, cheerleading

Registration is open for the Cavaliers Tackle Football and Cheerleading program for boys and girls, age 4-14, at Coral Gables High School. For information contact Jon at 305-923-7656 or visit www.playactionsports.org.

Suniland conditioning

Optimist Club of Suniland Sports Conditioning is now-May 31 at Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy., Pinecrest.

Registration is 6-8 p.m. weeknights for boys and girls, age 5-15. Fee is $20 which covers T-shirt, insurance and awards. Contact Jose Regalado 305-458-1966 or josearegalado@att.net.

More events, leagues, programs

Kendall Hammocks flag football

The Kendall Hammocks NFL Flag Football program announces the registrations dates and times for the 2015 NFL Flag season.

Registration is open to boys and girls, age 5-16. Can’t turn 17 in 2015. Copy of birth certificate is requested for age verification only, during the registration process.

Teams are based by age only. Regular season is 12 games, and the season starts May 4.

NFL Flag Registration Dates:

February registrations fee: $110 -- Saturday, Feb. 21 (11 a.m.-3 p.m.)

March Registrations fee: $120 -- Friday, March 6 and 13 (6:30-8:30 p.m.); Saturday, March 14 and 28 (11 a.m.-3 p.m.)

April Registration fee: $ 125 -- Friday, April 10 and 24 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)

Registration fee includes: NFL team reversible jersey, NFL flag belts with flags, secondary insurance, referee cost, and participation awards.

Discounted rates for head coaches. If interested in coaching, email khwfootball@aol.com.

Tryouts and draft will be Saturday, May 2. Time chart by division can be found at the web site www.khwarriors.org

All registrations, practices and games are at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122 Ave.

For information email khwfootball@aol.com or visit www.khwarriors.org.

The NFL Flag Football program is under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks and is an all volunteer organization, serving the community in sports for more than 26 years.

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.

Visit www.footballfoundation.org.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NFFNetwork

Twitter https://twitter.com/NFFNetwork

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/NFFOnDemand

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 — NAmbassador for Heads Up Football.

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

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

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

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

Tennis

Israel Tennis Centers begins its 40th year with special winter exhibitions in Florida, including one in Coral Gables.

The Israel Tennis Centers Foundation announced plans for a series of tennis exhibitions as the ITC embarks on its 40th year as one of the largest social service organizations for children in Israel. “40 Years A Family” signifies a major milestone for the ITC, having empowered almost a half million Israeli children…beyond tennis and beyond borders.

“In 1975, as plans were being made for the ITC, we envisioned an organization whose mission would be to help underprivileged children learn valuable life skills through the medium of tennis,” said ITC Founder Bill Lippy.

“Our goal was to provide them with the tools to become strong and productive members of Israeli society. A year later that dream came true when we opened our first center in Ramat Hasharon. I only wish all the founding fathers could see how this one center has turned into 14 throughout Israel and the hundreds of thousands of young people whose lives we’ve helped turn around.”

A tennis exhibition is 3:30 p.m. March 7 in Coral Gables.

A diverse team of Israeli tennis players and coaches will be flying to the United States to share their personal stories about how their lives were turned around by the not-for-profit ITC.

For information or to attend, contact ITC Development Director Yoni Yair at 954-480-6333 or yyair@israeltenniscenters.org.

Tennis

USTA Florida announced its new series of Team Tennis Challenges for youth players, age 7-18, across the state. In 2015, these fun team events will be hosted as two independent series: with four events scheduled in South Florida this spring and four more events scheduled for the fall in North Florida.

The events are ‘BYOT’ (bring your own team), and teams do not have to have prior participation in a local league to participate. USTA members and non-members can participate. All participants will receive lunch on Saturday during the event. Facilities and coaches who bring teams to these events will receive special incentives.

“The new USTA Florida Team Tennis Challenges offer fewer restrictions, allowing more teams to participate,” said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. “They also give players who are not yet USTA members the opportunity to experience our events and programs, while offering a clear value proposition for our junior members.”

Registration is now open for the four Spring Team Tennis Challenge Series events. The cost for early registration for each event is just $25 for USTA members and $35 for non-members. Prices will increase two weeks prior to each event.

Spring Series

March 14-15 – Academia Sanchez-Casal, Naples

April 25-26 – Crandon Tennis Facility, Key Biscayne

May 16-17 -- BallenIsles Country Club, Palm Beach Gardens

May 30-31 -- Tampa Tennis Club at Hillsborough Community College, Tampa

The competition is divided into age groups 10-under, 12-under, 14-under, and 18-under. There are novice, intermediate and advanced divisions within each age group.

10-under age advanced division teams will play with the green-dot ball on a full-size court. Players age 10 or younger must play in their natural age division. The green-dot ball will also be used in the older other novice age divisions.

Novice divisions will offer gender-blind teams (example: a team can enter a novice division with 3 boys and 1 girl, or a team can include all of one gender). Players are allowed to "play up" a maximum of one age division, except for participants age 10-under. Teams can participate in multiple USTA Florida Regional Team Tennis Challenge events.

USTA Florida is offering tennis balls, lines and cash incentives for facilities and/or coaches who bring multiple teams to a single event:

Bring two teams and receive one case of tennis balls or $75;

Bring three teams and receive two cases of tennis balls or one set of clay court tack-down lines (red or orange) or $100;

Bring four teams or more and receive three cases of tennis balls or two sets of clay court tack-down lines (red or orange) or $125.

For information and to register visit

www.USTAFlorida.com/TeamTennisChallenges

Tennis

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, 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.

Jose’s Heroes

To support Miami Marlins star pitcher José Fernández on his road to recovery, the Marlins announce the return of the José’s Heroes season ticket package for the 2015 season.

For $499, José’s Heroes receive:

-A ticket to all 81 Marlins regular season home games. That’s about $6 a seat.

-A special edition José’s Heroes T-shirt each month.

-A complimentary ‘K’ Card!

-A meet-and-greet event with the man himself, José Fernández.

-Purchase the José’s Heroes season ticket package and travel to Marlins Park to support the Fish, 25 men strong.

For information, visit marlins.com/josesheroes, email SeasonTickets@marlins.com or call 305-480-2521.

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 tours@marlins.com. 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 www.hofball.net or call David Hofman at 954-804-5600 or Ed Tisdale at 803-463-2591.

Florida Christian lacrosse

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

ThunderPlex

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 www.jointhunder.com ; contact@jointhunder.com or call 786-505-5585.

For information on Brain Gymnasium, visit www.braingymnasium.org 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 www.jointhunder.com

Registration is open.

Email contact@jointhunder.com 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 Tamiamibasketball@gmail.com or call 305 -273-1145.

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 www.miamirugbykids.com.

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.

For more information or to register, visit www.miamisoccer5.com.

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 www.rebelleathletics.com.

Jai-Alai

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 admanUSA@aol.com or call Brucio 786-629-5428. The American Amateur Jai-Alai Academy is a not-for-profit organization.

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).

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.

Email sportsscene@MiamiHerald.com.

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