Youth Sports

Miami players excel at USTA Florida Curtis Doubles Championships

Pinecrest’s Sophia Fornaris (left) and Bradenton’s Anna Babayan won the girls’ 14s title during the 68th USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Doubles Tennis Championships at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. They are pictured with runners-up Daniela Porges of Plantation and Paige Herremans of Orlando.
Pinecrest’s Sophia Fornaris (left) and Bradenton’s Anna Babayan won the girls’ 14s title during the 68th USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Doubles Tennis Championships at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. They are pictured with runners-up Daniela Porges of Plantation and Paige Herremans of Orlando. USTA Florida

The 68th USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Doubles Tennis Championships decided winners in four age divisions.

The event was at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs (18s-16s age divisions) and the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach (14s-12s divisions).

Finals with Miami players

Boys’ 18 Doubles: Harry Cacciatore/Grey Cacciatore (Gainesville) d. Daniel Gale (Boca Raton) / Antonio Mora (Coconut Grove) 4-6, 6-2, 10-6.

Mixed 18 Doubles: (1) Anna Bright (Boca Raton) / Jourdan Kast (Boca Raton) d. (2) Antonio Mora (Coconut Grove) / Margaret Owensby (Boca Raton) walkover.

Mixed 16 Doubles: (7) Melanie Dlugolecki (Hallandale Beach) / Luis Iriarte Bastidas (Weston) d. (2) Harrison Gold (Aventura) / Camila Ordonez (Aventura) 6-4, 6-1.

Girls’ 14 Doubles: (2) Anna Babayan (Bradenton) / Sophia Fornaris (Pinecrest) d. (1) Paige Herremans (Orlando) / Daniela Porges (Plantation) 5-7, 6-1, 10-8.

Girls’ 12 Doubles: (1) Brooke Dugarte (Miami) / Violeta Martinez (Port St. Lucie) d. (2) Jessica Buck (Tampa) / Lara Smejkal (Boca Raton) 6-4, 6-2.

Mixed 12 Doubles: (2) Yair Gritzman (Boca Raton) / Lara Smejkal (Boca Raton) d. (1) Brooke Dugarte (Miami) / Yannik Rahman (Miami,) 6-2, 7-6 (8-6).

Former Bobby Curtis State Doubles winners include current two-time NCAA champ Danielle Collins (Girls’ 18s-2010, Mixed 12s-2005), former Florida State University stars Terrance and Terrell Whitehurst (Boys’ 18s-2012), and at the pro level former WTA doubles world No. 1-ranked and Wimbledon winner Corina Morariu (Girls’ 16s-1992, Girls’ 14s-1991) and former ATP player Wayne Odesnik (Boys’ 14s-1999).

Former world No. 1s Chris Evert, Jennifer Capriati, Andy Roddick and Jim Courier are among the players that have raised trophies in singles at the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Singles Championships, previously known as the USTA Florida Jr. State Closed. Florida’s top event was renamed to honor the legendary Florida junior tennis organizer Bobby Curtis in 2012.

For complete age 12s and 14s draws, results and seedings, CLICK HERE.

For complete 16s and 18s draws, results and seedings, CLICK HERE.

Kendall Hammocks football

In the renewal of a neighborhood rivalry dating to 1989, the Kendall Hammocks Warriors visited the West Kendall Dolphins in Week 7 of Miami Xtreme action.

In 11U play, Kendall Hammocks improved to 6-1 with a 34-0 victory over the Dolphins. Jason Demetrius had 118 yards rushing and two touchdowns. QB AJ Arellano passed for two touchdowns, one 50 yards to Ryan Gonzalez and another 54 yards to Zavier Williams. Anthony Torres and Mark Cohen each caught an extra point conversion. The defense, anchored by Deondre Jones (forced fumble) and Evin Valdez (four tackles and a sack), limited the Dolphins to 16 total yards.

In 10U action, Kendall Hammocks defeated the Dolphin 13-6. On the third play of the game, FB Bryce Casas had a 90-yard touchdown run, He finished with more than 120 yards rushing. Khamani Alexander rushed for 80 yards and an extra point. Sean Sierra added a 55-yard touchdown run.

In 7U, Ivan Houston scored on a 40-yard, and Ricky Montalvan secured the win with a safety as the Warriors defeated Hollywood PAL 9-0. Ethan Hernandez made several tackles for loss.

In 8U, the Warriors shutout the Dolphins 24-0 behind an outstanding defensive performance led by Charlie Becker. On offense, Shawn James rushed for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns, and Sean Sierra added a 55-yard touchdown run.

Other scores: PW: KH 36, WK 0. 9U: North Miami 25, KH 12. 13U: WK 29, KH 6.

Week 6 scores: 11U: KH 34, Suniland 13. 8U: KH 20, Ives Estates 7. PW: KH 27, Hialeah 6. 13U: KH 13, Modelo 0. 9U: KH 19, Miami Shores 0.

For information on the Kendall Hammocks Warriors contact Mike Pintado at

Miami Dolphins RISE

The Miami Dolphins and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) recognize the week four youth football players, coach and parent who have demonstrated their commitment to being leaders on and off the field:

• High School Player of the Week: Malcom Vigille is a senior QB at Miami Edison Senior High School. Vigille completed 13-of-17 passes for 455 yards and five touchdowns in a win over Braddock High School. His team is undefeated at 5-0.

• High School Coach of the Week: Roland Smith from Miami Central Senior High School. The Rockets are 5-0 and ranked No. 23 in the country in USA Today’s Super 25 Poll. This impressive record and ranking are coupled with the team’s four-consecutive state championships and appearance in the last five state championship contests. Both are state records.

• Youth Player of the Week: Carson Haggard from the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League. Carson plays quarterback for the Suniland Sundevil 12U team. Carson completed 12-of-15 passes for 225 yards and four touchdowns in a 40-6 victory over the Kendall Hammocks Warriors.

• Team Mom of the Week: Laura Pita from the Cooper City Cowboys of the American Youth Football League. Laura is the team mom for the 11U football team. She has four boys in her household along with more than 25 adopted sons. Laura organizes more than 25 sets of parents for game-day duties, including who brings pre- and post-game drinks and who will work the chain crew for each game. Laura never leaves home without her “Mary Poppins” bag that includes extra mouth pieces, chin straps, knee pads, practice pants and jerseys. She also is an avid runner and does everything with a smile on her face.

Several members of the Miami-Dade Police Department presented the awards to High School Player of the Week Malcom Vigille and High School Coach of the Week Roland Smith. Sergeant Delontay Dumas, Officer Bryan Reyes and Officer Sheena Whorley visited Miami Edison Senior High School. Officer David Delgado, Officer Bryan Reyes and Commander Deanna Fox-Williams were present at Miami Central Senior High School.

Each award recipient also will be presented with a plaque on the field during the Oct. 9 Dolphins home game at Hard Rock Stadium against the Tennessee Titans, and receive acknowledgment of their accomplishment in the game program and through the Dolphins’ and RISE’s social media platforms. They, too, will receive a pair of tickets to a Miami Dolphins home game and a Dolphins/RISE T-shirt.

As a newly added component of the program and part of the Dolphins/RISE partnership, winners will be empowered to make a difference by participating in a RISE training program where they will learn how to use the unifying power of sport to promote the importance and benefits of unity, equality and inclusiveness as well as address racial tensions their teams, schools and communities might experience.

Awardees also will be encouraged to take a pledge, committing to stand up to racial inequality and share how they plan to affect change by creating a “How I RISE” video message, which will be posted on

About Miami Dolphins Youth Programs

The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs’ mission is to emphasize the importance of education, physical fitness and positive choices for kids in a safe and fun environment. The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs’ vision is to prepare the next generation of leaders in staying physically active through our Junior Training Camps (JTC), Youth Football Clinics and Youth Football Camps. The goal is to promote Youth Football in the South Florida community.

About the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE)

Founded in 2015 by Stephen M. Ross, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sport to advance race relations and drive social progress. Supported by an unprecedented alliance of sports leagues, organizations, educators, media networks, sports professionals and athletes, RISE uses sport as a vehicle to promote understanding, respect and equality. Through public awareness campaigns and educational programming, RISE aims to spark enduring action.

To learn more, visit

Orange Bowl YFA

Now in its 18th season, the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by MetroPCS visited four parks in Miami-Dade County as part of its Park of the Week initiative. The program recognizes select youth football parks across South Florida each Saturday during the fall to show its continued support of the community.

The day began with a trip to Orange Bowl Field at Ives Estates Park for Miami Xtreme Youth Football League action featuring the Ives Estates Thunder. Ives Estates Park is the Orange Bowl’s third Legacy Gift to the South Florida community. This was the Orange Bowl’s first Park of the Week appearance since its renovation and unveiling in December.

Continuing the Miami-Dade circuit, the next two visits highlighted the North Miami Redskins at Claude Pepper Park and the Miami Shores Spartans at Miami County Day School. Saturday’s festivities concluded with honoring the Miami PAL Jets at Curtis Field. All four teams honored are members of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football Alliance.

At each stop during the program, OBIE, the Orange Bowl mascot, was joined by Orange Bowl Committee members, ambassadors and staff in distributing promotional items and discounts from Orange Bowl YFA sponsors and presenting each park with a commemorative plaque.

This year’s Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance, which is presented by MetroPCS and supported by associate sponsors American Airlines, Clutch Insurance, Comcast, Dave & Buster’s, Florida Prepaid College Board, Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute, Nike, Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A., Powerade, Toyota, and Wells Fargo, continues to positively impact the South Florida community.

Youth sports is one of the four pillars of Orange Bowl Community Outreach, which also includes fundraising and community events, academic programs and scholarships, and legacy gifts. For more than 80 years, the Orange Bowl has been one of South Florida’s leading civic organizations, promoting championship sporting events, related premier entertainment and other year-round activities to inspire youth, engage our community and enhance the South Florida economy.

For more information about the Orange Bowl Committee and the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by MetroPCS visit

Doctors Charter cross-country

The Doctors Charter School cross-country program did a good job at the Junior Orange Bowl 5K Invitational at Larry & Penny Thompson Park in Miami.

In the boys’ JV race, Morvens Constant was Doctors Charter’s first finisher in 23:37 (58th of 151 runners). He was followed closely by Keenan McLaughlin in 23:47 (63rd). Teammates Mason Koczwara (24:33, 83rd), Jordan Turnier (26:37), Aaron Romanik (28:52) and Amair Jadallah (29:16) also gave good efforts despite very humid conditions.

In girls’ varsity, Doctors Charter’s Estella Dunham was seventh of 99 runners in a personal best 24:36. She medaled by placing in the Top 10. Teammate Kara Semelfort also ran a PR in 31:02. Amarise Defranco was timed at 31:36 and Annaya Voltaire 32:27.

In boys’ varsity, Doctors Charter’s Tristan Cravello earned a medal by finishing 15th of 112 runners in a personal best 18:02. Micklander Estime was 42nd with a PR 18:58. Jonathan Gill was 47th in 19:11, and Brandon Morales 66th in 19:59. Gianni Pestano ran 20:16 (74th). Will Howell (22:37) and Serge Andre (23:08) set PRs.

Their coach is Brent McLaughlin.

Miami Country Day sports

Miami Country Day School: Middle School Male Athlete of the Week: Ryan Mendelson - Cross-Country - finished first for the Spartans as the high school varsity team placed 11th at the Junior Orange Bowl 5K Invitational at Larry & Penny Thompson Park.

Middle School Female Athlete of the Week: Kaylee Parizo - Golf - shot 43 to lead the high school varsity team to fourth at the Dade County Youth Fair Tournament.

Upper School Male Athlete of the Week: Richard Stamatis - Swimming - won the 100 backstroke and was part of the winning 200 medley relay team in a meet against Riviera Prep and Marathon.

Upper School Female Athlete of the Week: Isadora Figueroa - Volleyball - combined for 9 kills and 26 digs to help her team capture the Spartan Invitational Championship.

FIU sports

FIU junior linebacker Anthony Wint (Homestead HS) has been named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week for the week ending Oct. 2 the league announced on Monday.

Wint tied a season-high in tackles with 12 on Saturday night to help FIU defeat rival Florida Atlantic, 33-31, and guide the Panthers to their first win of the season. The Homestead native also had a tackle for loss and forced a key fumble in the third quarter that led to an FIU touchdown.

Wint, who has recorded double-digit tackles in three-straight games as well as in four of the team’s five outings on the year, anchored a defense that made a number of crucial stops versus the Owls as FIU claimed this year’s Shula Bowl Trophy. His forced fumble came midway through the third quarter as the Panthers trailed the Owls 24-21. With FAU looking to respond to an FIU score, Wint stripped running back Greg Howell at the opposing 30-yard line. The Panthers pounced on the ball at the FAU 26 yard-line and scored on the team’s ensuing possession to take a 27-24 lead.

His 12 total tackles (eight solo) increased Wint’s total to 55 on the season. Averaging 11.0 tackles-per-game, Wint ranks No.8 in the nation in tackles-per-game and is No.3 in the conference.

For the latest information on Panthers football, follow on Twitter, @FIUFootball, and check out Pete Pelegrin's in-depth coverage of FIU Athletics on his official blog, The Prowl, at

#The FIU women’s soccer team edged Middle Tennessee 3-2 in double overtime in Conference USA action at Dean Hayes Stadium in Murfeesboro, Tenn.

The team’s goal-scoring leader, Alyssa Robinson (Pembroke Pines/American Heritage HS) received a beautifully-lofted cross from junior Paula Quintero (Doral/Ronald Reagan HS) over a crowded defensive box and scored off the near post to start the second half in the 49th minute to put the Panthers up 2-0.

Following her shutout of UAB, senior keeper Sophia Trujillo (Miami/Gulliver Prep) earned her second win of the season. She finished the game with four saves. FIU is 2-7-2 overall, 1-2-1 in C-USA.

FIU, based in Miami, is an NCAA Division I affiliate.

Barry sports

Miami’s Carissa Sanchez (Archbishop McCarthy HS) had two assists as the Barry University women’s soccer team defeated Valdosta State 5-2 at the VSU Soccer Complex in in Valdosta, Ga.

Leading 1-0, Linnea Kogsta scored off a beautiful corner from Sanchez in the 39th minute, volleying the ball out of the air. Ahead 3-2, Katie Turner got her first goal of the season on a header in the 73rd minute off a corner by Sanchez who delivered another perfect pass.

Barry then edged the Florida Soutehrn Moccasins 2-1 in Sunshine State Conference action at Buccaneer Field in Miami Shores.

Carissa Sanchez (Miami/ArchbishopMcCarthy HS) drove a perfect cross from the right wing to the far post, and Molly Sharpe headed the cross for a goal to put the Bucs ahead 2-0.

The Bucs are 5-2-1, 2-2 conference.

Barry, based in Miami Shores, is an NCAA Division II affiliate.

Howard Palmetto Baseball/Softball

Registration has started for the 2017 season of Howard Palmetto Baseball and Softball. Divisions are available for girls and boys from high school ages through T-Ball, age 4 and 5. The league is open to all residents of Miami-Dade County, and the games are played at parks in Suniland, Greer, Coral Reef and Palmetto Bay.

Go to for more information and to access the online registration link.

Player evaluations begin in December, and the season starts in January continuing through April/May.

Howard Palmetto Baseball Softball is beginning its 55th year as a not-for-profit community association dedicated to the enjoyment of organizing baseball and softball for all kids and their families. Howard Palmetto is a league where the beginning player improves and the improved player excels. It grows relationships and friendships for a stronger and healthier community.

More events, leagues, programs


After an 18-month hiatus, the Miami Backgammon Club resumes play 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, beginning on Oct. 26 at The 19th Hole Bar & Grill, Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, 33134.

The Miami Backgammon Club is a friendly group of South Florida Backgammon players. Players of all levels welcome. No membership fees.

Tournaments start promptly at 7 p.m.

Free live play. Tournament entry fee $10.

Contact Leo at 305-669-5260 or


Maccabi USA is seeking qualified Jewish tennis players, ages 14-85+, to represent Team USA at the 20th World Maccabiah Games in Israel on July 4-18, 2017.

Boca Raton will be the host city for the “Masters”-level tryouts (age 35+) on Oct. 22-23.

World Maccabiah Games tennis age categories include: Juniors (birth years 1999-2002), Open and Paralympic (ages 18+), Masters, and Grand Masters teams. Both Masters (35+) and Grand Masters (65+) will have the opportunity to participate in these events and will compete in five-year age divisions (for example, 45-49, 50-54, etc.).

Tennis players will be part of the overall 1,200+ member USA Team at the 2017 World Maccabiah Games, among a total 9,000 athletes, 80 countries, and 42 sports.

“The opportunity to try out and represent Team USA, your Jewish heritage, and play tennis in Israel is an indescribable feeling,” says Open Head Coach Lonnie Mitchel. “The experience of meeting other talented Jewish athletes, while having the ability to get closer to Israel is life-changing.”

To apply or for more info go to


The Tennis Committee of the USA Deaf Sports Federation is currently recruiting players with hearing disability to represent the U.S. at the 23rd Summer Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey on July 18-30, 2017.

As United States citizens, players may be deaf, hard of hearing, hearing impaired, cochlear implanted, late deafened, hearing challenged, or hearing disabled to qualify. However, to be eligible a player must have a hearing loss of 55 decibels (dBs) or greater in the better ear over an average of 500/1000/2000 Hertz.

Participants can be either orally oriented or sign language users.

Tennis players looking to qualify can e-mail and no later than Sept. 30, 2016.

For more information, go to

For information about USA Deaf Sports Federation, visit For information about the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf and the Deaflympics, visit


USTA Florida will be hosting four Development Camps for Diverse Backgrounds in 2016 in different areas of the state, for junior tennis players, age 12-18, who are currently participating in USTA tournaments, are looking to improve their game and learn about college scholarship opportunities and the latest in sports science and physical training.

“This will be the second year we are hosting more than one Diversity Camp to give more players around the state the opportunity to participate in this great learning experience,” said USTA Florida Player Development Coordinator Andy Gladstone. “The more players we can impact through the camps, the better it is for our sport and for the participants to improve in areas such as match play, strategy, and learning the amazing experiences they can have as college players.”

Pros and college stand-outs that have attended USTA Florida Diversity Camps in the past include Sloane Stephens, Victoria Duval, Sachia Vickery, and former University of Florida star Sekou Bangoura.

The cost for the one-day camp is $50. The fee includes drills, match play, a camp t-shirt, classroom improvement sessions for parents and players, and lunch.

South Florida - Oct. 29

9 a.m.-4 p.m.

William H. Kerdyk Biltmore Tennis Center

1150 Anastasia Ave.

Coral Gables 33134

To register visit:


For more information visit:

Miami Dolphins/Bank United

Miami Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry and BankUnited, a proud corporate partner of the Miami Dolphins, are giving full-time Florida students, age 13-18, a chance to kick-start their own personal savings with a $1,000 grand prize for submitting the winning essay in the 4 Downs for Finance financial literacy contest, open now.

Full-time Florida high school students are encouraged to register online at now through Dec. 19 to access age-appropriate money tips throughout the football season, and submit an essay on a financial literacy topic. Everyone who enters will have a chance to win a football autographed by Landry and have his or her name read live on the radio during a game broadcast. One student will win a $1,000 cash prize and a visit with Landry.

“Together with Jarvis and the Miami Dolphins, it is our goal to inspire young people to take an interest in learning about finances early on,” said BankUnited President, Florida Region Thomas M. Cornish. “At an age when many students are beginning to earn their first paychecks, 4 Downs for Finance teaches them the importance of getting a head start on learning about money.”

For more money tips or to register for 4 Downs for Finance visit

Miracle League Ballpark

The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade in partnership with the Miracle League of Miami-Dade County (MLOMD) and the Marlins Foundation are making way to bring a new Miracle League ballpark complex to Miami-Dade County.

The new development broke ground at Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24th St., Miami. It will be the first ballpark of its kind for the county -- specifically designed for use by youth with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

The facility will consist of an outdoor ballpark complex with specialized rubber fields, dugouts, a playground, a concession building, restrooms, and “quiet rooms” for parents and children. The entire site, including recessed drop-off and pick-up areas will be 100 percent accessible with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Funding for this project will be provided by the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, together with the Marlins Foundation.

“I want to thank the Miracle League of Miami-Dade and the Marlins Foundation for coming together to expand athletic opportunities for our community’s children with disabilities,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “This new ballpark will give even more children and families in Miami-Dade County a place to enjoy America’s favorite pastime. I look forward to seeing this project come to life and watching our youngest residents play ball.”

Miracle League of Miami-Dade Co-Chairman Ray Rocha said: “There are over 276 specialized Miracle League parks across the nation and in Puerto Rico. This field at Tamiami Park would never have been possible without the unwavering support from the Miami Marlins organization along with the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department. This first of its kind field in Miami-Dade County will provide the over 69,000 special needs children and young adults residing in our area, a safe and obstacle free environment to participate in America's favorite pass time. Every child deserves a chance to play baseball.”

Alfredo Mesa, Executive Director of the Marlins Foundation, added: “The Marlins Foundation proudly supports our charity sponsor the Miracle League of Miami-Dade in building this one-of-a-kind all-inclusive ballpark complex. The funds we have raised together with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade are aligned with the mission of bettering the lives of our youth through recreational sports like baseball.”

Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys said: “Miami-Dade Parks has long been committed to providing accessible sports and recreation opportunities for children and young adults with disabilities. A ballpark like this will further encourage them to get outdoors and be active.”

MLOMD was founded in 2010 by Sturge and his partner Keith Reilly in 2010, marking it as the county’s first Miracle League and the 236th member joining the nationwide initiative that enables children with disabilities, such as Autism, Down syndrome, Cancer and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), to play the game of baseball and be part of a team.

In 2012, the MLOMD approached the County with plans for constructing a custom-designed accessible ballpark at a Miami-Dade Parks facility. Tamiami Park was selected for as the ballpark site because of its central location, accessibility and large youth baseball program.

To date, the League has been busy planning, preparing and fund-raising on behalf of the MLOMD ballpark development plan. A rendering of the ballpark and more information can be found at the MLOMD website.

For directions to Tamiami Park visit the web page or call 786-315-5295.

Miami-Dade Parks is a world-class parks system supported by the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and focused on Placemaking, Health and Fitness, and Conservation and Stewardship.

Florida Panthers Learn to Play

The Florida Panthers in conjunction with the NHL, NHLPA and USA Hockey will be hosting “Florida Panthers Learn To Play” for boys and girls, age 4-8, who are new, first time ice hockey participants who have never registered with USA Hockey.

The program was developed in an effort to reduce cost barriers to ice hockey participation by providing free equipment. The Learn To Play program primary goal is to create the next generation of hockey players and fans who will remain engaged with the game throughout the rest of their lives.

Cost of entry is $100. Every participant will receive six weeks of on-ice training with Florida Panthers Alumni and USA Hockey Certified Coaches, as well as free registration into USA Hockey for the 2016-17 season. Each participant will also be custom fitted for a full set of brand new Florida Panthers branded CCM hockey equipment, including skates that they will use during the program and keep at the conclusion of the six weeks.

Finally, each participant will receive a voucher for two free tickets to a select Florida Panthers weekend home game with the opportunity to purchase additional tickets at a discounted rate.

The Florida Panthers Learn To Play curriculum is designed in conjunction with USA Hockey’s “Gold Standard” which utilizes an age appropriate Long Term Athlete Development structure known as the American Development Model. This model ensures that the program structure is both fun AND effective.


Ali Boxing Center

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Javier D. Souto and the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department celebrated the renaming of Tropical Park’s Boxing Center to the “Muhammad Ali Boxing Center” at Tropical Park Boxing Center, 7900 SW 40 St., Miami.

“Back in September 2015, the Board of County Commissioners adopted my resolution for the Tropical Park Boxing Center to be named after the great Muhammad Ali, since I was privileged to have met the man in person and behold his many boxing victories,” said Commissioner Souto. “He was bigger than life and an inspiration to all. His memory will live on at this center as it grooms future generations of boxers.”

In honor of Ali – the late three-time heavyweight boxing champ - dignitaries joined members of the local boxing community.

Ali, born Cassius Clay, died on June 3 at age 74, following a 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Considered one of the greatest boxing legends of all-time, Ali was famous in and out of the ring for his strength, power, speed, stamina, flamboyant personality and global presence.

Beyond The Game

Sports and history intertwine in HistoryMiami Museum’s new exhibition Beyond the Game: Sports and the Evolution of South Florida.

The exhibition -- open now thru Jan. 15, 2017 -- highlights the way South Florida sports have shaped and reflected the cultural growth of South Florida.

Since the 1920s, sports events and teams have both mirrored and molded the development of the area. Miami Jai-Alai, featuring the “world’s fastest” ballgame, and Hialeah Park, showcasing horse racing, were two early sporting attractions that lured northern tourists and fueled the public’s growing fascination with the area.

By the early 1960s, the Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach, home to champion boxers like Muhammad Ali, emerged as an island of democracy amid the realities of Jim Crow segregation. Meanwhile, the newly opened Miami Marine Stadium was gaining popularity, and the sport of powerboat racing symbolized “sun and fun.” The Professional sports franchises followed, as did the rise of the University of Miami’s football program, confirming Miami’s status as a modern metropolis.

“From a historical perspective, the thing that is most striking is how central South Florida’s sporting scene has been to its identity almost from the very beginning. Hialeah Park and Miami Jai-Alai date to the mid-1920s, and both were not only important tourist destinations, but really shaped the way that people understood South Florida,” said exhibition curator Gaspar Gonzalez. “These kinds of attractions conveyed a sense of South Florida as a unique place.”

Curated by HistoryMiami and Gaspar González, a Yale-trained historian known for creating Emmy-winning documentary programming that has been featured on PBS, ESPN and others, the exhibition tells this story of evolution through photographs, trophies, uniforms, and never before seen items related to South Florida’s sport scene. In addition, two short films -- one on Hialeah Park, the other on the Marine Stadium, as well as a series of short video interviews with some of South Florida's most iconic former athletes -- will be played throughout the exhibition.

Presented by Hialeah Park and HistoryMiami, the exhibition will be displayed in more than 5,000 square feet of space in the Museum’s third floor gallery and will showcase artifacts from HistoryMiami's own collection, individuals in the community, as well as the area's professional sports teams and venues.

Notable items include:

Original Miami Heat floor from the Miami Arena; Dan Marino’s contract; Don Shula Play Sheet; Footage Muhammad Ali at 5th Street Gym; Orange Bowl trophy from University of Miami; Memorabilia from Marlins’ inaugural year; Hialeah Park infield sign; Video interviews with local sports icons Mike Lowell, Mercury Morris, Randal Hill

“The exhibition appeals to a diverse audience,” said Stuart Chase, President and CEO of HistoryMiami. “From the days of horseracing to the players who graced the grid iron Beyond the Game not only celebrates sports history, but offers a fresh perspective on the impact it had on Miami becoming the world-class city it is today.”

For information on becoming a member of HistoryMiami Museum contact Hilda Masip at 305-675-1618 or visit

About HistoryMiami Museum

HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, is the premier cultural institution committed to gathering, organizing, preserving and celebrating Miami’s history as the unique crossroads of the Americas. It accomplishes this through education, collections, research, exhibitions, publications and city tours.

Located in the heart of downtown Miami, HistoryMiami Museum is a 70,000 square foot facility and home to more than one million historic images and 30,000 three-dimensional artifacts, including a 1920’s trolley car, artifacts from Pan American World Airways, and rafts that brought refugees to Miami.

For more information, call 305-375-1492 or visit

Social Media:,,,

Warrior Basketball

The Warrior Basketball Pre-Travel Team Program in Miami is intense training for boys and girls, age 8-15, to prepare athletes for a travel team level.

The athletes will train two times a week in a two-hour practice. To gain experience, scrimmages will be set up, and tournament like situations will slowly be introduced to the team.

Practice days are Wednesdays, Fridays and/or Sundays. Kids will receive a Warrior basketball jersey and shorts.

Call 305-777-7077.

SSAC sports

The Sunshine State Athletic Conference, a multiple sport athletic organization made up of 35 private and charter schools created in 2008, announced that two additional sporting opportunities are being introduced for the 2016-17 school year.

SSAC currently offers four sports, including football and basketball at the middle and high school levels, but in keeping with its pledge to student-athletes and their families, the conference will grow to offer a second football classification and the formation of girls’ beach volleyball.

The second football classification of a Developmental Football League, debuting next fall, will provide member schools that are starting, growing or rebuilding programs with a competitive, but level, playing field in which to compete. This will not replace nor negate the highly successful championship Florida Bowl Series but will instead compliment all football programs and schools in the SSAC. The only criteria for schools to participate in the new Developmental Football League is for teams to have less than 23 players, and the championship Florida Bowl Series will be open to them, if they desire to participate.

The second addition to SSAC athletics is an exciting opportunity that perfectly captures the spirit of Florida’s athletic environment. Starting in spring of 2017, the SSAC will debut girls’ beach volleyball. This up-and-coming sport is quickly spreading around the nation and will undoubtedly be a natural fit for Florida student-athletes. This addition will help build exposure and opportunity for female student-athletes and will add value to SSAC’s independent athletic conference.

“Including girls’ beach volleyball was a decision that just made sense; it only requires a few players and we are blessed with an abundance of sun and sand,” said Stuart Weiss, president of Sunshine State Athletics Conference. “We believe that by adding these two new opportunities for Florida high schools, we are continuing to provide more choice and control to our partner schools addressing the need for a level playing field in high school athletics.”

Visit the SSAC website at

NCSAA academics honors

The NSCAA annually recognizes high school soccer programs that have excelled in the classroom, in addition to their work on the field.

Three hundred and eight nine soccer teams (243 girls, 146 boys) from throughout the United States have earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom as a team during the 2014-15 academic year.

To qualify for the award, the team must have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 for the entire academic year. The team GPA is determined by adding every player's GPA, then dividing by the number of players.

For information about the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, visit

Gifts in Golf

PGA Certified Pro Philip Argianas, program director of GIG-Gifts In Golf, is proud to bring his expertise to special people with special needs to Coral Gables.

GIG programing -- like Golfing with Autism and Kids Swing Into Golf -- enrich the quality of life for families in the community.

Coach Phil said in a release: “Our fun programing impacts kids by teaching them life skills while providing physical and mental training through learning the game of golf.”

For information about registration including schedules and release forms, go to GIG’s website

To volunteer or for any other questions on the Autism and Down syndrome golf programs, call Coach Phil at 888-909-5709, check the website and Facebook page for updates.

GIG was founded in 2009 and has been serving several communities in Miami-Dade County. The organization provides fun instruction and mentoring while empowering special people with special needs. Integrating families and community, it provides all the benefits that golfing delivers with a focus on a person’s ability.

Team Moms

Olive Garden and the NFHS Network, the nation’s leading high school sports media company, are teaming up to recognize Team Moms and the high school athletes they support. This partnership includes the launch of, which will serve as a resource and destination to recognize Team Moms.

Team Moms volunteer to assist coaches and often lead team communications, fundraising, travel coordination and more. The website will feature Team Mom’s Best-Kept Secrets and game day highlights from high schools around the nation. In addition, coaches, athletes, family members and the community are invited to contribute shout-outs or photos of their favorite Team Mom using #GoTeamMoms on Twitter and Instagram to be featured on the website.

“The goal of the NFHS Network is to serve and support both the athletes and their fans,” said Christopher Young, senior vice president of sales for the NFHS Network. “There’s no bigger fan than a Team Mom and no better partner for the NFHS Network than Olive Garden, which resonates so deeply with our audience and shares our same commitment to families and the local community.”

To further assist Team Moms, each Olive Garden restaurant in the U.S. will be paired with a local high school to support through two national fundraising nights and Olive Garden VIP Passes that give teams access to exclusive discounts. With dining options that include ToGo and catering, Olive Garden is often the choice for feeding an entire team.

"Our restaurants are excited to support their hometown high schools and give back to their communities," said Jose Duenas, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden. “This partnership allows us to thank Team Moms nationwide as well as give families and teams chances to connect over meals and create memories during the busy sports season.”

Visit to view photos, videos and Team Mom tips and tricks. Visit for live streaming of high school events.


Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.8 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales.

Headquartered in Orlando, and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated more than 33 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country. For more information, visit

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The NFHS Network ( captures the passion, pride, and energy of the high school experience by delivering live high school sports and events to family members and fans whenever they want, wherever they are.

The NFHS Network celebrates and showcases the unique accomplishments of high schools students, including the student-athletes participating in 27 different sporting events and the student broadcasters from schools around the country that produce events through the School Broadcast Program. The NFHS Network also broadcasts state playoff and championship events in 46 states.

The NFHS Network is a joint venture among the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), its member state associations and PlayOn! Sports. The NFHS is located in Indianapolis, Indiana and is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. PlayOn! Sports is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is the nation’s largest high school sports media company.

Follow the NFHS Network on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram at @NFHSnetwork for the latest news and event information.

Heads Up Football

USA Football’s Heads Up Football program for high schools and youth organizations will include sudden cardiac arrest protocols andHeads Up Blocking fundamentals.

Both topics are now included in USA Football’s Level 1 coaching education course and its high school certification course.

USA Football is the national governing body of the sport and educates more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the United States.

USA Football’s Heads Up Football program is supported by more than two dozen medical and football partners.

“Coaches should be prepared to respond to a life-threatening emergency if needed,” said Dr. Jonathan Drezner, past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and a member of USA Football’s Medical Advisory Committee.

“With prompt recognition, early CPR and use of an AED, sudden cardiac arrest is largely a survivable event if treated quickly. USA Football is committed to the safety of young athletes, and I am proud that a sudden cardiac arrest training module is being added to the Heads Up Football program. The module provides coaches the information they need to be prepared for sudden cardiac arrest.”

“Blocking is one of football’s basic skills that every player needs to be taught,” said Jeff Saturday, a former NFL All-Pro center and ESPN analyst. Saturday is a member of USA Football’s Football Advisory Committee.

“USA Football’s Heads Up Blocking technique helps coaches teach this fundamental – properly engaging with a defender, driving with the legs and maintaining the correct body position for effective and safer play. This is how blocking should be taught.”

Heads Up Football is a comprehensive collection of resources and medically approved protocols to establish important standards rooted in education to change behavior for the better.

In addition to sudden cardiac arrest and Heads Up Blocking, the program covers concussion awareness and recognition, heat and hydration protocols, proper tackling fundamentals and equipment fitting. More than 5,500 youth leagues and 750 high schools in 2014 participated in the program this past fall, benefiting nearly 1-million players.

Follow USA Football at

or on Twitter @USAFootball

NFL Football Matters

The National Football Foundation announced the launch of, 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. “ 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. will enable us to directly capture those stories and inspire the next generation to further their educations.”

The NFF has linked with Arkleus Broadcasting, a Dallas-based full-service media company, to create the platform, which also encompasses a strong social media component to gain traction for the campaign.

“Arkleus is honored and thrilled to be chosen by such a prestigious American institution as the NFF to build and market an exciting new sports media property,” said Arkleus Broadcasting President Joe Shults. “We are passionately committed to helping the NFF in every way to protect, enhance, and ensure the future of football for generations to come.”

The site focuses on stories, videos, and franchises highlighting the very best in high school and college football, such as: Football Moms, Special Teams, Hook & Corporate Ladder, Man-to-Man, the Quote of the Day and many more. The site will also be the home to exclusive profiles of Campbell Trophy finalists, Leadership Award Winners, Courage Award Winners and all the honors associated with the NFF.

“We are really excited about the Football Matters initiative,” said Hatchell. “I want to thank everybody at Arkleus for their passion for the project. They have done a marvelous job of getting it up and running in a short amount of time, and we have already received great feedback.”

The site focuses on the stories that evoke the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal, character building and the drive for academic excellence that exemplifies many of the young men who play football and the families who support them.

You can learn more about the site and watch a video featuring NFF Chairman Archie Manning and NFF Board Members Jack Ford, Archie Griffin, Kevin Plank and Rod West by clicking here.






The international sport Footgolf is being introduced to the South Miami-Dade community at Killian Greens Golf Club, 9980 SW 104th St.

Footgolf (18 holes) can be played in two hours and is a great source of exercise for those who enjoy kicking a soccer ball. Times are available everyday of the week after 4:30 p.m. to players of all skill levels, families and groups. Balls are available for rent for $5 to those who do not already own one.

Killian Greens is an accredited Footgolf course with the American Footgolf League. Call 305-271-0917.


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

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.

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.


Youth sports online

For more area sports photos, go to

YouTube youth sports and more

YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)

Be honored at Miami Heat game

The Miami Herald and the three-time world champion Miami Heat in partnership with Gatorade are sponsoring the Academic/Sportsmanship Team Player spotlight in Sunday’s youth sports pages in the Miami-Dade Sunday Neighbors print section of the Miami Herald and online at

Youth league coaches, team reps, school coaches, administrators, teachers or family members can nominate any South Florida recreational, travel league, elementary school, middle school or junior varsity basketball player -- from fall, winter, spring or summer seasons -- who displays sportsmanship and good grades or shows improvement in the classroom.

Include school, grade level and grades or interim report. Each selected academic team player will receive a certificate of achievement, a Heat gift pack, two Heat tickets and will be recognized on the court at a designated Heat game. Plan accordingly as there are three ceremony dates during the regular season at the AmericanAirlines Arena, and no make-up dates.

Jan. 19 (Thursday) vs. Dallas Mavericks

Feb. 13 (Monday) vs. Orlando Magic

March 1 (Wednesday) vs. Philadelphia 76ers

To nominate a Team Player, e-mail Miami Herald Youth Sports Editor Jim Varsallone at or call 305-376-3621.

Winners will be selected by random drawing from nominees who meet the above requirements.

Be sure to include a contact telephone number and complete mailing address in your correspondence and mail or e-mail.

For Heat ticket information, call 786-777-HEAT and log on to