Youth Sports

Foot Locker awards $20,000 to Braddock student athlete

Miami’s Saul Tejada, a senior at G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School, was awarded $20,000 as one of 20 exceptional young student-athletes honored in the Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program.
Miami’s Saul Tejada, a senior at G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School, was awarded $20,000 as one of 20 exceptional young student-athletes honored in the Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program.

Saul Tejada of Miami was awarded $20,000 as one of 20 exceptional young student-athletes honored in the Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program.

For the sixth consecutive year, Foot Locker Foundation, Inc. is recognizing students who demonstrate academic excellence and exemplify strong leadership skills both in sports and within their communities.

Saul, a senior at G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School, will join the Foot Locker class of 2017, which was selected from a highly competitive pool of 37,000 applicants.

“The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program celebrates and honors outstanding students like Saul who have taken the skills they’ve acquired through sports and applied them to excel academically and become leaders within their communities,” said Richard A. Johnson, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Foot Locker, Inc. “We recognize the tremendous potential of our 20 winners and are deeply committed to providing unique educational opportunities to empower today’s youth to succeed.”

Saul is a survivor.

A once powerhouse wrestler and swimmer, Saul has really had to overcome great odds. Throughout his life Saul has suffered from epilepsy, that as of recently, prevented him from his passion: wrestling. He has had seizures since eighth grade, and recently this increased to 20 in a week.

Undergoing brain surgery was the only way that Saul could get any relief from his condition. He suffered cardiac arrest during his surgery and had to spend 20 days in the hospital, after which he had to undergo physical and motor skills therapy.

Still, Saul’s passion for wrestling and sports brought him back on his feet and he continues to coach wrestling and compete in swimming. Due to his time in the hospital, Saul wants to become a nurse practitioner and help kids in similar situations.

Saul truly is the epitome of a survivor, with his ability to persist in his education, his sport and his life.

With its 2017 Class, the Foot Locker Foundation will have invested more than $2 million in the education and future of some of America’s most promising scholar-athletes.

Supporting this all-star program is Fastweb, a trusted scholarship and financial aid resource used by students to help find opportunities to pay for school. The program is funded by the Foot Locker Foundation and administered by TMI Strategy, a consulting group that helps clients activate young people and create positive social impact.

About Foot Locker Foundation, Inc.

Foot Locker Foundation, Inc. is the charitable arm of Foot Locker, Inc., a specialty athletic retailer that operates approximately 3,400 stores in 23 countries in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Over the years, Foot Locker, Inc. has developed meaningful partnerships and programs to improve and enrich the educational opportunities for children across the country.

Nautilus basketball

The Nautilus Middle School boys’ JV basketball team had a terrific season.

The Sharks advanced to the playoffs, winning a close semifinal game against Highland Oaks. They found their touch late in the fourth quarter to close the game with consecutive 3-pointers, claiming their spot in the North Division Championship. In the finals, Miami Springs won.

The runners-up are Dillon Weissman, Joaquin Heras, Max Lawrence, Elijah Massenburg, Joshua Warren, Joseph Levey, Alexander Raymond, Jullian Corniel, Jhaedyn Brown, Jacob Latoni, Adam Squire, Lorenzo Jerome, Harrison Delisle and Coach Divens.

Palm Glades basketball

Palm Glades Academy senior guard/forward Lustene Francois, 17, signed to play basketball for Carolina Christian College in Winston Salem, N.C.

Francois becomes the second athlete in Palm Glades history to sign an athletic scholarship. A Miami Herald All-Dade Honorable Mention selection, he averaged 11.5 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.3 BPG and shot 51-percent from the field to help the Eagles place second in the district tournament, qualifying for regionals.

Entering his senior year with a 1.8 GPA, Francois didn’t have much going for him. He worked and trained all summer in order to prepare for his senior basketball season, only to find out he was ineligible for the first half. Heartbroken by the news, he sat down with his coach and made a promise to improve his grades in order to be granted the opportunity to play.

Typically, it would be easy for an individual to quit being in that position and hearing that type of news. Remaining focused and humbled, Francois went from a 1.8 to earning his first Honor Roll award as well as eligibility to play. He never missed a practice, even knowing he couldn’t currently play and wasted no time once he was allowed to compete again.

He came out in a strong way by giving teams fits, averaging double digits in a 12-game span.

Francois’s determination, hard work, heart, humility and even-keeled attitude helped him earn an athletic scholarship. He became a great role model for the junior varsity unit and an inspiration to his fellow student-athletes.

Upon signing with Carolina Christian College, Francois said, “If you were to ask me a year ago where would I be, I would’ve never guessed I would be here. I’m grateful and Blessed to have earned such a huge accomplishment and would like to thank everyone who never gave up on me.”

Miami Heat Camp

For eight sessions throughout the summer, the annual Miami HEAT Camp is in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

The camp is under the direction of former Miami HEAT assistant coach and current television commentator Tony Fiorentino, and HEAT legend Glen Rice will be participating..

The individual sessions are one week each for kids, age 6-16.

During the first day of the session, campers will be split up into teams of 8-10 and have an assigned coach.

During a day camp (9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.), the campers will play two full court 5-on-5 games each day and learn various basketball skills.

Below is the schedule for each session.

June 12-16 / June 19-23 / June 26-30, 2017

South Broward High School in Hollywood

July 10-14 / July 17–21

Nova High School in Davie

July 24-28/ July 31 - Aug 4 / Aug 7-11, 2017

Miami-Dade College (Kendall Campus)

Website to Register/Purchase: HEAT.com/HEATCamp or call 786-777-4113.

Norland football

The Miami Dolphins hosted the Miami Norland Senior High School football team at their first Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice.

Norland was given a tour of the Baptist Health Training Facility, where the Dolphins train at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. They also heard from Miami Dolphins Youth Programs Ambassador and Dolphins alum Twan Russell about mental toughness and having a positive mindset. Russell played football for St. Thomas Aquinas High School, the University of Miami and the Miami Dolphins.

“I can’t thank the Dolphins organization enough for what they did for our team,” Miami Norland Senior High School Head Football Coach Daryle Heidelberg said. “Twan was right on point with some of the things that he was saying about the kids focusing on your goals and asking yourself, ‘Why are you doing what you’re doing?’ He really touched on mental toughness, which will take you a little further when your body starts to shut down. All eyes were glued in.”

The Norland football team also had the opportunity to watch the Dolphins practice and meet with current players on the field. Following practice, the Norland athletes had lunch provided by Publix.

“I got a chance to experience new things. I saw one of my favorite players, Jarvis Landry. I got a chance to get up close and personal with the players,” Miami Norland Senior High School receiver Jamari Harrison said. “The receivers, they communicated really well. Their coaches expect a lot from them, so it’s just a good experience.”

The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs’ mission is to transform the lives of youth football players by instilling character building and reinforcing safety standards that help to increase football participation and grow a new generation of Dolphins fans.

Miami Country Day softball

The Miami Country Day School varsity softball team (8-5) reached the district finals.

The Spartans defeated Coral Shores, SLAM, Palmer Trinity twice and Boca Raton-Saint Andrew’s during the regular season. The girls beat Archbishop Curley 13-3 in the district semifinals.

Standout shortstop and co-captain Mary Elizabeth Allen (1st Team All-Conference) led the way with a .318 batting average, 3 home runs and 12 RBI. Junior Michelle Yakobi (1st Team All-Conference) was strong on the mound as a starter with an 8-4 record and 79 strikeouts.

Seniors Sierra Mathis (2nd Team All-Conference) and Veronica Ben-David were key all season along with Saarah Rasiff (1st Team All-Conference), Isabella Allen (3rd Team All-Conference) and Alicia Kelly (2nd Team All-Conference).

FIU softball

FIU graduating senior Stephanie Texeira (Miami/Gulliver Prep) is one of 14 student-athletes named a recipient of the Conference USA Spring Spirit of Service Award.

The C-USA Spirit of Service Award is designed to recognize the community service efforts of the league’s student-athletes, based upon significant community service, good academic standing and participation in their elected sport. The Spirit of Service award is presented three times throughout the season, with today’s honorees representing spring sports: baseball, beach volleyball, golf, softball, tennis, and outdoor track & field. One student-athlete from each C-USA member institution is named to the list for each playing season (fall, winter, spring).

Texeira is the program’s all-time leader in batting average (.405), slugging percentage (.759), on-base percentage (.543), runs (159), home runs (47), RBI (190), total bases (420), walks (147) and defensive putouts (1,191). Her 190 RBI are the most in a career in C-USA softball history. At the conclusion of the 2017 season, Texeira ranked sixth in walks, 11th in RBI, 14th in slugging and total bases and 18th in home runs by all active Division I players.

She was selected to the NFCA All-South Region First Team and was a First-Team All-C-USA performer and a member of the 2017 All-C-USA Tournament Team for the Panthers. Away from the field, Texeira volunteered with FIU Residential Life to help incoming students move into their campus dorms and also took part in complimentary softball clinics for local children. Texeira graduated in May with her Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies while earning Dean’s List honors last fall.

Visit www.FIUSports.com.

Cushman track

Three Cushman School eighth grade student-athletes competed in the Florida Youth Running Association Track & Field State Championships at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.

Mikel Bradley (shot put), Drake Harivel (discus and shot put) and Noah Sastoque (1,500m) qualified to compete against top athletes from other Florida schools and clubs.

National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Six Florida residents, including one from Miami, will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame through the Florida Chapter on Aug. 12 at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, 1850 Hotel Plaza Blvd. in Lake Buena Vista, near Orlando.

This year’s honorees for their Lifetime Service to Wrestling are: Coach Fidel Albelo of Miami, Coach Allen Held of Hollywood, Coach Henry Jackson of Miramar, Coach Dan Kelly of Venice, and Coach Bob Thomas of Bradenton. Coach Russell A. Mauger Jr., formerly of St. Petersburg, will be inducted posthumously.

The Black Tie (optional) banquet will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. The induction ceremony starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are currently on sale at fl-nwhof.ticketleap.com.

Kick It Miami soccer

Play for Change (PFC), the international charity that uses sport as a tool to help children and communities they live in, recently launched its brand-new Kick It program that will provide 45 boys and girls, age 7-12, with more than 70 free soccer and education sessions at the Wilde Community Center, 1701 W. 53rd Terr., Hialeah.

PFC is dedicated to working closely with its communities and has partnered with the City of Hialeah Parks and Recreation, which is committed to providing safe facilities, to deliver weekly soccer sessions in their facilities for the children of Kick It.

The free, high quality soccer coaching will be delivered by local soccer academy J10, which was founded by internationally renowned street soccer star Jason Jayzinho Quezada, and the coaches will place an emphasis on teaching discipline and building social skills. More over, Italian soccer legend, Miami FC Head Coach and PFC Ambassador, Alessandro Nesta is supporting the program and will help to train local people.

Kick It Miami aims to help address some of the issues in Miami such as high rates of obesity and marginalized communities. The program aims to educate on healthy life choices through encouraging gender equality, social inclusion, health and wellbeing, providing safe spaces and participation in sports.

Carolina Machado, Play for Change US Representative, said: “I am thrilled that Play for Change is delivering its first ever Kick It Miami program in the City of Hialeah. We are so grateful for the support of Riccardo Silva and the Miami FC, and the City of Hialeah Parks and Recreation, who all share our passion of enabling positive change for children. Play for Change sees sport as a fantastic way to engage children, enabling them to learn the life skills they need for a brighter future. We hope Kick It Miami will create many new opportunities for young children while also having a long term positive impact on the community itself.”

Miami FC Head Coach and Italian soccer legend, Alessandro Nesta, said: “First and foremost, I’d like to thank Play for Change for the opportunity to be a part of such an important cause. Everybody at Miami FC is very happy to take part in the Kick It program and we are especially excited to bring it to our local community. Soccer, like all sports, is an excellent tool to help children better themselves and we are looking forward to the start of the program.”

For more information about Kick It Miami, contact Carolina@playforchange.org.

Find out more about the program here: http://www.playforchange.org

Visit www.miamifc.com

@TheMiamiFC

Soccer for Success

The Children’s Trust and the U.S. Soccer Foundation have partnered up to bring soccer to underserved children and youth in Miami-Dade County. Soccer for Success (SfS) is a health-centered, out-of-school mentoring program for children in grades K-8 designed to eliminate childhood obesity, encourage healthy lifestyles and strengthen families.

Meeting three times a week for 75-90 minutes, kids will enjoy physical activity, nutrition education, mentorship and family engagement, facilitated by specially trained community-based coach-mentors, who also engage parents and caregivers with activities such as Zumba classes, cooking classes, nutrition education, and preventative health services and other wellness-related local resources.

“Because of our partners, a wonderful program called Soccer for Success is launching in Miami, in Liberty City, Little Havana and North Miami,” said James R. Haj, president and CEO of The Children’s Trust. “Soccer and other organized sports teach kids responsibility, how to win, how to lose and how to work together. They learn that if they fall down, they get back up and persevere.

In addition to The Children’s Trust and U.S. Soccer Foundation, funding partners for SfS Miami include the City of Miami and the City of North Miami, the former made possible through the Office of District 5 County Commissioner Keon Hardemon.

Program partners include FLIPANY, Liberty City Optimist Club, City of North Miami Parks and Recreation, FAB Sports, 93rd Street Community Baptist Church, Greater Love Full Gospel Baptist Church and New Providence Missionary Baptist Church. Soccer for Success Miami’s launch includes sites in Liberty City, Little Havana and North Miami; locations in Sweetwater and Homestead are in the works.

“We’d like to see a million kids involved in Soccer for Success by 2026,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, president and CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “That’s why partnerships like the one we’ve built here in Miami are so important. They’re how things get started and off the ground,” said U.S. Soccer Foundation President and CEO Ed Foster-Simeon.

The program is currently located in the three program launch areas – Liberty City, Little Havana, North Miami – and kids can sign up at their local park.

Liberty City: Samuel K. Johnson Youth Center (Ms. V) (4920 NW 12th Ave., Miami, FL 33127) to pick up an application or call 305-329-4747 and ask for Eureca Coulanges or Yolanda Bethune 786-306-0517.

Little Havana: Contact Elisabeth Denal at 813-270-5184 or elisabethdenil@gmail.com.

City of North Miami: City of North Miami Parks and Recreation, 12300 NE 8th Ave., North Miami, FL 33161, 305-895-9840.

Interested residents bring this program to their neighborhoods by calling Donovan Lee-Sin at The Children’s Trust at 305-571-5700 / donovan@thechildrenstrust.org or Lynne Kunins at FLIPANY at 954-636-2388 / lkunins@flipany.org.

Visit thechildrenstrust.org.

Miami Gardens sports

The City of Miami Gardens presents new youth sports programs for boys and girls, age 5-17.

Bowling, Soccer, Tennis, Baseball, and Swimming.

Register at City Hall, Parks and Recreation Department, 18605 NW 27th Ave., Miami Gardens 33056.

For fees and info, call 305-622-8080.

Visit https://apm.activecommunities.com/miamigardens.

Suniland football

The Suniland Sundevils Tackle Football Registration is every Tuesday and Thursday from 6-8 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m.-2 p.m. thru August at Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy., Village of Pinecrest.

Kids, age 5-13, are eligible. Fee $150 for the season. Suniland is a member of the Miami Xtreme Youth Tackle Football League.

The Suniland Sundevils are looking for experienced volunteer youth coaches.

For information contact Jose Regalado at 305-458-1966 or josearegalado@att.net.

More events, leagues, programs

FC Miami Media Students

FC Miami City, Miami's official soccer team, and Miami Media School’s technology teams, resources, students, media and interest groups will feature collaboration and resource sharing. This will significantly enhance the coverage of soccer and the Premier Development League in Miami while providing students with access to unique sports media facilities.

The partnership is created in an effort to develop open sources for Miami Media School students and provide career experiences that will prepare students for sports media careers. Within six months, the students will learn how to write, produce and call games.

“Our goal at Miami Media School is to build a world-class sports media program” according to Nancy Rodriguez, CEO at Miami Media School. “Students in sports media are as likely to be applying for jobs with college athletic departments, professional franchises or entities like PDL, USL or MLS entities as they are with traditional media outlets, like local television stations and newspapers.”

FC Miami City GM Youri Vaisse said. “Helping to provide real-world opportunities for the many talented students of the Miami Media School is consistent with one of our top priorities. We cannot thank [Miami Media School CEO] Nancy Rodriguez and the Media School enough for helping make this historic and unique partnership possible.”

The opportunities offered to sports journalism students through the partnership will help students adjust to changes in the field. It will help to give students valuable experience in media areas that don’t fall under traditional journalism, and it’s a great fit alongside the wonderful student journalism opportunities already in Miami’s metro.

It will surely strengthen FC Miami City’s reputation as a national center for excellence in sports communication.

About Miami Media School

The Miami Media School is an American Private Institution that instructs students in all areas of the broadcast media industry. It is a comprehensive, hands-on program, where students are trained by broadcast media professionals currently working in the field.

The Media schools possess a unique mix of broadcasting leadership and experience, educational excellence then combines this with industry technology and equipment that effectively replicates what students and graduates will see when they enter the workforce. These tools and methods of training and educating our students solidifies the Media Schools position at the forefront of broadcasting education.

NBA 2K esports league

The Miami HEAT announced they will be one of 17 National Basketball Association franchises participating in the inaugural season of the NBA 2K esports league, set to debut in 2018.

Along with the HEAT, other participating organizations include:

Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards.

“This is the first step in what promises to be an extraordinary league, bringing together the world's best gamers and showcasing elite competition on an international stage,” said NBA 2K esports league Managing Director, Brendan Donohue. “Our teams have expressed tremendous enthusiasm for esports, and we are looking forward to forming something truly unique for basketball and gaming fans around the globe.”

In February 2017, the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO) announced plans to launch a new, professional competitive gaming league that will bring together the best basketball gamers in the world. In the coming months, the league and its teams will make a variety of announcements related to participating players, league structure and business updates.

The NBA 2K league is the latest move in esports for the HEAT. In January 2017, the franchise announced a partnership with esports expansion team Misfits. The partnership calls for the HEAT to assist in all duties including marketing, branding, promotion, retail, digital and sponsorship activation while cross-promoting the two franchises. Misfits compete in League of Legends, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Super Smash Brothers and Heatherstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

“We are thrilled to be working alongside 16 other NBA teams on this innovative esports league,” said The HEAT Group President of Business Operations, Eric Woolworth. “Given our unique integration into the esports community through our relationship with Misfits, we feel confident in our ability to reach Miami HEAT and Misfits fans alike, as we help create a new and exciting league from scratch.”

Summer camps

Summer is just around the corner.

Do you have a budding artist or a child that loves to learn about nature or science? What about a basketball player or cheerleader?

No matter what your child's interests, the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department will put a smile on their face with their fun and exciting summer camp options, saying “We have a camp for that.”

Located at 42 parks throughout the County, Miami-Dade Parks Summer Camps will run from June 12 through Aug. 11 (select sites open through Aug. 19). The camps will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and offer 7:30 a.m. early drop-off and 6 p.m. late pick-up options.

Unlike traditional day camps, parents can mix-and-match their preferred options; so their children experience a new adventure each week throughout the summer. There are camps for those who enjoy outdoor sports challenges, like golf and fishing, as well as nature-based camps with eco excursions, art camps and Learn-to-Swim lessons — the list goes on and on.

Summer Camps are also inclusive and managed by Miami-Dade Parks' Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists.

Learn more about accessibility at Miami-Dade Parks.

Parents can now register their kid for most of Miami-Dade County Parks’ exciting Summer Camps online and at all hosting parks.

Families in need of financial assistance must register and apply for assistance in person at their selected park.

For more information, patrons are encouraged to visit the Miami-Dade Parks Summer Camps web page

http://www.miamidade.gov/parks/activities-summer-camps.asp, call their local park or call 3-1-1 for Miami-Dade County information.

“Miami-Dade Parks Summer Camps provide kids with active recreation experiences in the great outdoors that are designed to enrich their summer off from school experience. Utilizing our world-renowned parks and attractions, these camp provide a positive place to build friendships and enjoy fun, organized activities that help them discover and explore their interests, outdoor skills and the value of belonging to a community and becoming environmental stewards,” said Miami-Dade Parks Director George Navarrete.

Launch Trampoline Park

Launch Franchising, LLC. is pleased to announce a Launch Trampoline Park will be opening in Doral. The new park will be owned and operated by Jonas P. Roter and scheduled to begin construction later this spring.

Launch Trampoline Park was founded in 2012 by Rhode Island entrepreneur Robert Arnold and retired New England Patriot cornerback and three-time Super Bowl Champion Ty Law. Arnold embarked on the vision for Launch in 2011 after he visited his first trampoline park with his wife and kids. Seeing the combination of family, fun and fitness and using his knack for entrepreneurship, Launch came to life.

The parks provide kids of all ages with endless fun of whether it is bouncing on trampolines, playing dodgeball in mid-air or falling into a massive foam pit. Launch Doral will be available for birthday parties, fundraisers, fitness classes, toddler time, teen nights, private events and more! The park has a full-redemption arcade, Launch Restaurant and private party rooms. Additionally, Launch Trampoline Park has its own mascot – “Joey,” a 7-foot tall green kangaroo mascot – who is in charge of fun at the park, assisting with birthdays and special events.

“The Launch Doral franchisees are excited to bring family fun to the area and are ecstatic to be a part of the Launch team. We can’t wait for the community to enjoy all the fun and action that Launch has to offer,” stated Robert Arnold, president and co-owner of Launch Franchising, LLC.

About Launch Franchising

Ty Law and Robert Arnold are co-owners of Launch Franchising, LLC, with two corporate locations in Warwick, R.I. and Hartford, Conn., and franchise locations along the East Coast. The company is expanding its franchise nationwide and utilizing the strength of positive branding, turn-key operational systems and proven marketing programs as attractive benefits to potential franchisees. For additional information, visit

www.launchtrampolinepark.com.

Heads Up Football

Nineteen football leaders (including Miami Dolphins Senior Director of Youth development Twan Russell) have been selected to take a leading role within USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, promoting a better and safer game on youth and high school levels nationwide.

The new Master Trainers join more than 100 others to educate high school and youth football programs on Heads Up Football principles.

Represeting 15 states, the group of individuals – which includes youth, high school and college football coaches, as well as former NFL players – actively participated in a USA Football-led workshop earlier this year that educated them on the core fundamentals of the Heads Up Football program.

After completing the workshop, Master Trainers will instruct youth and high school coaches in their regions on Heads Up Football principles and teach youth league- and high school-appointed Player Safety Coaches, who will oversee their programs’ implementation of the highest national coaching standards for football.

“We’re proud to welcome the expertise our new Master Trainers bring to an already strong roster of knowledgeable, committed football experts who help us advance and grow the game alongside the youth and high school football community,” USA Football CEO and Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. “Master Trainers are leaders and educators, and work nationwide to implement important standards for parents, administrators, and coaches to ensure proper health and safety protocols are in place and to unify the approach to teaching football-specific techniques for the well-being of our athletes.”

Russell played football for St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, the University of Maimi and the Miami Dolphins.

Created and administered by independent non-profit USA Football, Heads Up Football is a comprehensive way to teach and play the sport, encompassing coaching education, equipment fitting, shoulder tackling and blocking fundamentals, CDC-approved concussion recognition/response, sudden cardiac arrest protocols and heat preparedness/hydration. It’s supported by the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, among other leading associations spanning medicine and sport.

More than 2,200 high schools and nearly 75 percent of all U.S. youth leagues enrolled in Heads Up Football in 2016 for the betterment of student-athletes. The program is endorsed by a combined total of 32 state high school athletic associations and high school football coaches associations spanning 26 states. USA Football, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, is the sport’s national governing body and certifies more high school and youth coaches combined than any organization in the U.S

About USA Football

USA Football designs and delivers premier educational, developmental and competitive programs to advance and grow the sport. As the sport’s national governing body, member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and organizer of the U.S. National Team for international competition, USA Football partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and athletics to support positive football experiences for youth, high school and other amateur players. Follow USA Football on Facebook or on Twitter.

UFC GYM Kendall

UFC GYM announced that following the overwhelming success of its 2016 12-Week Body Transformation Challenge, the brand recently launched its next iteration, expanding to 16 signature gym locations throughout the United States, including Kendall in Miami-Dade County.

“Whether your objective is to train with the goal of competing on stage or just living an overall healthier lifestyle, this program is designed to accomplish both,” UFC GYM President Adam Sedlack said. “We experienced some amazing transformations at our Corona and Torrance locations and we’re excited to expand this one in a lifetime challenge to members at all of our signature gyms.”

Inspired by four-time IFBB Figure Olympia Champion Nicole Wilkins, this program consists of one-on-one personal training sessions, tailored nutritional and supplementation plans, educational seminars and group workouts. Enrollment cost is $199 ($1,200 value) for UFC GYM members and $298.99 for non-members, which includes the challenge fee and a 12 week UFC GYM membership. Also, UFC GYM has agreed to pay the participant’s individual entry fee for those that want to compete on stage.

A grand prize of $5,000 will be awarded to the member who wins the “overall weight-loss” portion of the challenge, while both a male and female winner of the “overall muscle gain” portion will each win $1,000. Additional awards and prizes will be awarded at each participating location.

Contact UFC GYM - Kendall

8851 SW 107th Ave., Miami, 33176.

Phone: 305-680-5990

Contact: General Manager Jason Figorski; jason.figorski@ufcgym.com

https://ufcgym.com/kendall

Those who register for the Challenge are encouraged to stay connected at

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ufcgymtransformationteam/

Since debuting in 2009, UFC GYM has opened more than 135 locations throughout the United States, Australia, Canada, South America and the United Arab Emirates. The fitness franchise has continued to grow at a rapid pace with more than 50 locations opening in the past two years and more than 50 gyms expected to open in the next year.

For more information about UFC GYM, visit UFC GYM.com, or follow on Facebook.com/UFCgym, Twitter or Instagram: @UFCGYM. Subscribe on YouTube at UFCGYM.

Skateboard Supercross

The Michael-Ann Russell JCC reported the first Skateboard Supercross Academy in the country at its facility in North Miami Beach.

The academy is a place to go after-school for a 40-minute lesson in a group setting with friends.

Students participate once or twice a week to take a lesson and may return on Sundays for Race Day.

Race Day provides some extra practice while learning the more competitive side of skateboarding. Learning to race on the pumptracks is a necessary skill, as competition helps to stimulate the sport.

Many young riders want more time on the pumptracks to be ready for the end of the semester Head to Head Races. That event is the grand finale of the semester curriculum, and it is the showcase for parents, family and friends.

The Head to Head Race brackets system determines who is the fastest racer to date and logs their time. Basically, two riders are paired to race and whoever wins goes against the winner of the other head to head race, until the remaining two compete in the finals.

Option #1 - Curriculum Based Learning

Monday: 15 classes (Member $375, Non-Member $565)

Tuesday: 16 classes (Member $400, Non-Member $600)

Wednesday: 19 classes (Member $475, Non-Member $715)

Thursday: 20 classes (Member $500, Non-Member $750)

Sunday: 17 classes (Member $425, Non-Member $640)

Option #2 - Race Packs (Open Ride Sessions)

(Reservations required. Bring a bicycle, scooter or inline skates)

One Class: Member $30, Non-Member $45, Curriculum Special! $15

10 Pack: Member $250, Non-Member $375, Curriculum Special! $125

20 Pack: Member $475, Non-Member $710, Curriculum Special! $240

Call 305-932-4200, ext. 145/146 to register.

For questions, text or call 786-529-8187.

Orange Bowl Leadership Academy

The Orange Bowl Committee launched the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy, designed to engage and inspire middle school youth to maximize their potential to become future successful community leaders through access and exposure to career development, personal leadership and life skills.

Previously, the Orange Bowl conducted a pilot program that has now become the basis for the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy, with classes of approximately 20 sixth-graders from both Bair Middle School in Sunrise and North Miami Middle School. Those students will continue as seventh-graders this year with a new curriculum, and two new schools will be added with sixth-graders at Sunrise Middle School in Fort Lauderdale and Georgia Jones-Ayers Middle School in Miami.

The design of the program is eventually to have students follow a three-year curriculum through middle school and expand to other schools in both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

“Our vision is to nurture and cultivate the next generation of South Florida community and business leaders,” said Judge Michael Chavies, president and chair of the Orange Bowl Committee.

Marlon A. Hill Esq, chair of the of the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy committee, added: “The Orange Bowl Leadership Academy will provide South Florida youth the opportunity to dream and develop a plan to achieve those dreams, to set and achieve personal goals and objectives, and to understand their options in life for success at home, their careers and in the community.”

From October through May, students in the program meet twice a month after school with teachers and mentors, who are Orange Bowl Committee members. The curriculum is specifically designed toward fostering character development and responsibility geared to elevating individual empowerment, efficacy and self-esteem.

The students are also exposed to guest speakers, many of whom are Orange Bowl Committee members, and occasional field trips for behind-the-scenes tours of locations such as the Southern District Court of Florida. These sessions are designed to inspire and unleash individual youth potential and leadership, while also creating career development awareness, knowledge and opportunities.

Support for the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy is being provided by the College Football Playoff Foundation, whose philanthropic initiatives are directed toward education generally and more specifically teachers, through its Extra Yard for Teachers program.

The Orange Bowl Leadership Academy receives additional support from sponsors Bank of America, Comcast, Deloitte and Florida Blue.

The curriculum for the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy was created by the Pacific Institute specifically for the Orange Bowl Committee.

Visit www.orangebowl.org.

MaxPreps Top Athletes

Each month of the school year, MaxPreps will name a Male and Female Athlete of the Month, culminating with the Male and Female Athletes of the Year in June. The program is presented by the United States Marines Corps.

“The United States Marine Corps, through the MaxPreps High School Athlete of the Month program, is committed to recognizing students that embody the fighting spirit which enables them to win battles and overcome challenges they face, both on and off the field,” said Captain Sean Pangia. “We’re proud to partner with MaxPreps in this powerful program showcasing student athletes that have a positive influence in their community.”

The program has received more than 7,700 nominations and counting for the year so far. To nominate an athlete, click:

www.maxpreps.com/marines.

Backgammon

The Miami Backgammon Club plays 7 p.m. Wednesdays 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.

Free live play. Tournament entry fee $10.

Contact Leo at 305-669-5260 or Leo@MiamiBackgammon.com.

www.MiamiBackgammon.com.

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.

Visit https://learntoplay.nhl.com/panthers

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.

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.

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

http://giftsingolf.org/schedules-and-forms/

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 http://www.giftsingolf.org 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.

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 www.facebook.com/usafootball

or on Twitter @USAFootball

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

Footgolf

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.

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.

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.

Youth sports online

For more area sports photos, go to

www.miamiherald.com/sports/youth/miami-dade

YouTube youth sports and more

YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)

www.youtube.com/user/jvarsallone/videos

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