Youth Sports

Highland Oaks Middle wins Miami-Dade County track title

The Highland Oaks Middle School JV girls’ track & field team (sixth-seventh grade) topped 15 teams to win the Miami-Dade County Championship. The champs are front from left, Naomi Taylor, Kayla Yuegling, Anissa Lespinase, Brianna Easy; back, Jada Joseph, Kyara Walters, Assistant Coach Alissa Griffin, Brook Couri, Rose Clermont, Destiny Desrivieres, Vashti Claybrook, Jadae Barrett, Jadae Jospeh, and Head Coach Matt Tomlinson.
The Highland Oaks Middle School JV girls’ track & field team (sixth-seventh grade) topped 15 teams to win the Miami-Dade County Championship. The champs are front from left, Naomi Taylor, Kayla Yuegling, Anissa Lespinase, Brianna Easy; back, Jada Joseph, Kyara Walters, Assistant Coach Alissa Griffin, Brook Couri, Rose Clermont, Destiny Desrivieres, Vashti Claybrook, Jadae Barrett, Jadae Jospeh, and Head Coach Matt Tomlinson.

The Highland Oaks Middle School JV girls’ track & field team (sixth-seventh grade) bested 15 teams to win the Miami-Dade County Championship at Southridge Park.

Team Captain Vashti Claybrook won the 200- and 400-meter dashes. Claybrook also anchored the winning 1,600 relay team for teammates Naomi Taylor, Destiny Desrivieres, and Jadae Joseph. Brook Couri won the triple jump and Jada Joseph won the long jump.

The 3,200 relay of Desrivieres, Anissa Lespinase-Casimir, Kayla Yuengling, and Jadae Barrett took first as well. The 4x100 relay of Taylor, Jada and Jadae Joseph, and Kyara Walters came in second. Lespinase-Casimir placed second in the 1,600-meter run, and Barrett was second in the 800.

Jadae Joseph was third in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump. Jada Joseph was third in the triple jump and sixth in the 100 (won by Palmetto’s Victoria Karr), and Walters took fifth in the discus. Desrivieres was sixth in the 400. Yuengling was seventh in the 1,600. Walters and Taylor finished the JV girls scoring by placing seventh in the 200 and eighth in the 100, respectively.

The Highland Oaks varsity girls (eight grade) finished sixth of 20 teams. They were led by Jasmine Messiah who took second in the high jump and third in the triple jump. Timaya Everett finished third in the 100 and fourth in the high jump. Esther Perceval was fifth in the triple jump.

For the JV boys, who were seventh of 16 teams, Kemani Brown was third in the high jump, fourth in the triple jump and seventh in the 400. Gaethan Bernadel was third in the discus. Daien Brodsky was sixth in the shot put with Bernadel finishing seventh. Xavier Richemond and Braxton Lee were eighth in the 100 and 800, respectively.

Jeffrey Joseph paced the varsity boys by placing fourth in the 100, sixth in the high jump and eighth in the long jump. Wilfrid Coleau took fourth in the 400. The 1,600 relay team (Joseph, Coleau, Kevin Cam, Lens Bernadel) was third. The varsity boys placed sixth of 20 teams.

Miami Heat honorees

Miami’s Tyler McCray (Frank C. Martin K-8 International School), Miami’s Eric Villanueva (John I. Smith K-8 Center), Doral’s Arella Zambrano (Conchita Espinosa Academy) and Hollywood’s Ahava Greenbaum (Hochberg Preparatory School) and Bailey Koch (Falcon Cove Middle School) were honored on the court as the Miami Heat/Miami Herald January Academic/Sportsmanship Team Players in conjunction with Gatorade at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Youth league coaches, team reps, school coaches, administrators, teachers and family members nominated South Florida recreational, travel league, elementary school, middle school or junior varsity basketball players who exhibit sportsmanship and display good grades or improvement in the classroom.

They were congratulated by Heat players Danny Granger and Udonis Haslem, radio play-by-play broadcaster Mike Inglis and former coach Ron Rothstein before the game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Each honoree received two game tickets, a Heat T-shirt and an award certificate.

About the honorees

Miami’s Tyler McCray, 11, is a fifth grader at Frank C. Martin K-8 International School in Miami.

Tyler is a polite, smart and hard-working student-athlete who respects others and is respected by his coaches, teammates and teachers.

Coach Isaac Brown of Frank C. Martin K-8 International School said: “Tyler McCray exemplifies what it means to be a young scholar-athlete. This fifth-grade Honor Roll student has worked diligently in school while participating in after-school basketball programs at the Police Athletic League, Dibia Athletics, YMCA and Boys & Girls Club.

“At school, he demonstrates respect, leadership and concern for others. He is always prepared for class and eagerly participates in all activities. He is a member of Odyssey of the Mind, an international educational program that allows students to showcase their problem-solving and creative thinking skills. Additionally, he is eligible for membership in the National Junior Honor Society due to his continued achievement on the Principal’s and Superior Honor Roll.

“On the basketball court, he plays point guard and is a leading scorer. Tyler makes it a point to get his teammates involved, stating that, ‘We are a team, and it is always better when we work together.’ This year he returns to the role of team captain and has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches.”

Miami’s Eric Villanueva, 9, is a third-grader at John I. Smith K-8 Center in Doral. He competes in the Tamiami Basketball League/Recreational League and Thunder Basketball League.

He is a responsible, smart, mature boy who always excels and does his best in school. He is in the Gifted program at school, achieving an “A” average in all his classes during the 2013-14 school year. He loves basketball, especially the Heat.

Eric earned all A1As in his third-grade classes on the first and second grading periods this year.

On the court, he was selected for the all-star team in the Tamiami Basketball League. He also plays in the Thunder Basketball League.

Magda Loureiro, his teacher, said: “Amiable, respectful, inquisitive and genial are the words that come to my mind when I think of my student, Eric Villanueva. Either by chance or by design, I have been a witness to Eric’s growth from birth since his parents and I have been friends for a long time.

“Ever since I can remember, Eric has been a kind-hearted, courteous and precocious child. His enthusiasm and motivation to learn are not limited to the classroom setting; they are embedded in who he is at all times. Eric is widely read on many topics; talk to him about dinosaurs, the universe, or the Everglades and you’ll learn a thing or two. He is passionate about playing basketball and baseball and loves conversing with his friends about his favorite sports teams and players.”

Doral’s Arella Zambrano, 13, is an eighth-grader at Conchita Espinosa Academy in Miami.

Arella displays sportsmanship and leadership. She is also a dedicated student and role model for her peers.

Carlos Salvat, athletic director of Conchita Espinosa Academy, said she has been a student at the school since pre-primary, noting her talents in basketball and volleyball.

Academically, Zambrano has maintained a near perfect record.

Carmen Santalo, a teacher at Conchita Espinosa Academy, said: “Arella is a responsible and mature young lady. She is a role model for her peers and a great help to her teachers. She always has a warm smile to share and a great commitment to excellence in all that she does.”

Arella is also an avid runner in local weekend 5Ks, and her hobbies include dancing and music.

Hollywood’s Ahava Greenbaum, 13, of Hochberg Preparatory School in North Miami Beach plays basketball for her school as well as the Michael Ann-Russell Jewish Community Center, also in North Miami Beach.

In May, Ahava received the Aventura Marketing Council Award of Excellence for having the most volunteer hours in her school (now more than 600 community service hours since June 2014).

She pioneered her Points 4 Love community service project that included creating a music video to help support charity and developed the first Wheels & Waves event to support Special Olympics Florida (Miami-Dade County chapter) and Miami Heat Wheels wheelchair basketball sports scholarships. Many of the wheelchair players are victims of gunshot wounds or car accidents and use sports as a way to return to an active lifestyle.

The Points4Love music video she created is a fundraising tool for any charitable cause. The concept started with her girls’ basketball team offering volunteer hours for every point the Miami Heat scored in the season. Hence the name: Points4Love.

The Wheels & Waves event served to unite communities, create awareness and call to action to donate to sports scholarships, special needs, spinal cord injuries, and ALS organizations.

Dr. Linda Marks, head of Hochberg Preparatory School, said: “We are so excited that Ahava has been selected for the Academic Sportsmanship Award. Not only is this young lady a great student and a star athlete, she is also kind, considerate and respectful of others. In other words, Ahava Greenbaum is a star in every way.”

Hollywood’s Bailey Koch, 14, is an eighth-grader at Falcon Cove Middle School in Weston.

She was earning C’s and D’s until joining a basketball league which helped teach her to become disciplined on and off the court.

Joining the YMCA of Weston Basketball League, she was the only girl on the team, but that didn’t stop her. She excelled on the court and then started excelling off it.

Bailey earned A’s and B’s in all her classes the last quarter last year. Her teachers were amazed with her improvement.

Stella Copulos Stringer, M.S.Ed., math teacher at Falcon Cove Middle School, said: “Bailey has demonstrated an amazing improvement in her mathematics skills over the past year. Bailey has always struggled in math, and therefore, she knows that it takes longer for her to study.

“Over the past two years, Bailey has also been attending my Afterschool Tutoring Program in which she has been one of the top attendees. Her consistent attendance demonstrates her dedication to improve her academic performance in mathematics. She also attends our tutoring assistance early in the morning before school in our Learning Lab. This shows tremendous maturity in understanding the importance of her education.”

This school year, she has A’s in all her classes.

For her hard work in the classroom, Bailey received a Kids Of Character Award from the school in December. On the court, she worked well with others and showed everyone what being a team player and having sportsmanship is all about. That helped her self-esteem, giving her what she needed to succeed in school.

St. Brendan soccer

The St. Brendan School girls’ varsity soccer team finished the season 16-5-1, ending with a 1-0 defeat to an undefeated Gulliver Prep team in the district playoffs.

This marked the Sabres’ second consecutive season with 16 wins. During the season, they defeated or tied several schools that made the GMAC Tournament and/or the regional playoffs, including Terra, American, Mater Lakes, Ransom Everglades, and Palmer Trinity.

The team was led by six seniors. Forward Adri Prieto set a school record with 28 goals. Keeper Mallory Ryan allowed less than one goal a game and posted the school record for total wins. Twins Alex and Andy Alvarado provided leadership while solidifying a good defense. Nikki Dennis had seven goals and 10 assists as an outside midfielder and outside defender, and Sarah Shaheen, a newcomer, contributed quality minutes as an outside midfielder.

The team’s second-leading scorer was sophomore Alexa Dussaq, who had 18 goals despite missing 10 games. The varsity squad also included eight freshmen, including three – defender Eli Hussain, forward Mercy Cordovi, midfielder Adri Diaz – who were frequent starters.

Scheck Hillel soccer

Aaron Franco, senior co-captain for the Scheck Hillel boys’ varsity soccer team, became the first player in school history to sign a letter of intent with an NCAA Division I institution.

Franco signed with the University of Maryland, accepting an athletic scholarship.

Franco has been a strong asset to Scheck Hillel’s soccer program, helping lead the Lions to the state finals last season and the regional semifinals this season.

Scheck Hillel Student-Athlete of the Week

Scheck Hillel Community School has named Sophomore Steven Beda as this week’s Student-Athlete of the Week.

Steven is on the boys varsity basketball team and scored a season-high of 12 points, on 5-for-5 shooting from the field, in their District 15-3A quarterfinal game.

Miami Country Day School

The Miami Country Day School’s Athletes of the Week are Yakira Matisonn in soccer, Griffin Sennett in baseball, Maria Alvarez in basketball and Connor Goodman in baseball.

Yakira was the Upper School Athlete of the Week as she scored the Spartans’ lone goal in the girls 2-1 State Final Four loss to Lakeland Christian. Griffin was the Upper School Male Athlete of the Week after going 7-for-9 with three doubles, seven RBI and pitched five innings with eight strikeouts in wins against Krop, North Miami Beach and Marathon high schools.

Maria was the Middle School Athlete of the Week, scoring 18 points in the team’s 71-30 victory in the regional semifinals against Palmer Trinity. Connor was the Middle School Male Athlete of the Week, earning the victory and driving in the winning run on a squeeze bunt in the Spartans’ 9-8 preseason victory against Krop High.

Hochberg Prep basketball

Playing shorthanded, the Hochberg Preparatory School fourth grade basketball team beat Hillel 24-21.

They were missing three key players, so the remaining five played the entire game. Meyer Cusnir provided steady leadership at point guard, and Mikael Bitton was unstoppable inside.

The fifth grade team lost a close back-and-forth game by three points against Hillel. Abe Bonkovski hit three deep 3-pointers in leading the team in scoring.

Miami Marathon

Erika Huerta of Miami was third in the women’s marathon of The Miami Marathon and Half Marathon, presented by Life Time — The Healthy Way of Life Company (NYSE: LTM).

Huerta completed the course in 2 hours, 55 minutes, 26 seconds. Elena Barberis of Miami Lakes placed fourth in 2:57:33. Bouchra Franz of Miami Shores was seventh in 3:11:13. Miami’s Silvana Rasch was 12th in 3:21:56.

Caryn Lubetsky of Miami was 19th in 3:27:37, followed by Miami’s Brogan Abernethy in 21st in 3:28:35. Carolina Jaramillo of Miami was 24th in 3:30:18.

Victor Delrosso of Miami was eighth in the men’s marathon. He covered the course in 2:49:48. Miami’s Carlos Maymi was 11th in 2:53:16, and Felipe Rubio of Miami was 13th in 2:53:42.

In the half marathon, Aventura’s Miguel Tellez finished seventh in the men’s division in 1:17:12. Erasmo Vazquez of Miami was 10th in 1:17:51.

Miami’s Guilherme Pereira placed 14th in 1:18:31. Bryan Sharkey of Miami was 18th in 1:19:02. Kevin Sayet of Miami was 22nd in 1:19:35, followed by Miami Beach’s Dean Frankel in 23rd in 1:19:37. Key Biscayne’s Jonathan Alzate was 26th in 1:19:44.

In the women’s half marathon, Miami’s Elizabeth Young was runner-up in 1:22:28, followed by Aimee Nielsen of Miami in 1:24:07.

Abigail Maraya of Miami placed seventh in 1:25:42, with Miami’s Romina Maldonado eighth in 1:27:09. Alana Gonzalez of Miami was 11th in 1:29:20 with Miami’s Jolee Vanleuven 12th in 1:29:49 and Rachelle Ginsberg of Miami 13th in 1:29:50.

Miami’s Ana Cadreche placed 19th in 1:32:03. Nathaly Mogollon of Miami was 22nd in 1:32:35. Amy Maier of Miami was 26th in 1:33:36.

Riviera Prep

Courtney Young will assume the role of Riviera Preparatory School’s athletic director as of June 1. Young has been Summer Camp director of Riviera’s Senior Campus since 2012. In that role, he has promoted his “positive-only” approach and inspired our campers to be better people. Young promises to bring that positive energy and contagious enthusiasm to Riviera’s athletic program.

With a master’s in physical education and a background in sports management, Young is well positioned to provide leadership and direction. He has coached high school and middle school sports, provided one-on-one training at all levels, worked as athletic director at two well respected sleep-away camps, run after-school youth programs, and served as director of operations for the FIU basketball program.

Ragnar Relay

The Fast, But Not Furious team from Miami won the annual Ragnar Relay from Virginia Key to Key West, an event featuring 528 teams.

Fast, But Not Furious covered the 196 miles in 22 hours, 39 seconds, for an average mile pace of 6:44. Each runner ran three legs of varying distances. The team’s 12 runners are Christopher Columbus High School students and alumni.

The runners were: Luis Torres, Luis Cuevas, Danny Areces, Manny Garcia, Alec Cuevas, Peter Hernandez, Antonio Arzola, Jr., Chris Ventura, Ricky Gil, Andres Sanchez, Dominick Cabrera, and Humberto Freire.

The race started Feb. 6 and finished on Higgs Beach in Key West on Feb. 7.

Westwood Christian High

Seniors Eugene Joseph and Joey Jou from Westwood Christian High School, were recently honored for being two of Miami-Dade County’s top statistical leaders.

Joseph led the county in rebounds (14 per game) and was second leading scorer in the county (26.2 points per game) while Jou finished third in rebounds (12.6 per game) and among the leaders in scoring with 15.9 points per game. Both players are four-year starters for the Warriors varsity basketball team.

More events, leagues, programs

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.


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



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


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.

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:

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

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

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

For information email or visit

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, 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.





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.

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

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

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


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.

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, email 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 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.


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

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.



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.

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.