Miami was well represented as Team Florida won six medals, including four gold, during the 2017 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale.
The event is showcase for talent, age 13-18, being evaluated for future USA Teams; a mix of training and then five days of competition (July 18-22).
Team Florida won gold in Girls’ International Youth, Girls’ National Select, Girls’ Future Select and Boys’ Regional Youth. They also took silver in Boys’ National Youth and bronze in Girls’ National Youth.
Miami players on Team Florida medal winning teams include:
Saskia Hernandez (Miami Elite, Westminster Christian HS) played for the gold medal winning Team Florida in Girls’ National Select.
Elaisa Villar (High Voltage Volleyball Academy) played for the gold medal winning Team Florida in Girls’ Future Select.
Jomar Mondestin (Coastal Volleyball Club/Killian HS), Ryan Peluso (352 Elite/Ransom Everglades HS) and Diego Savelli (Coastal Volleyball Club/Killian HS) played for the gold medal winning Team Florida in Boys’ Regional Youth.
Michael Colonna (Ocean Bay Volleyball/Ransom Everglades HS) and Luis Kannee (Miami Volleyball Academy/St. Brendan HS) played for the silver medal winning Team Florida in Boys’ National Youth.
Andrea Bernal (Doral Volleyball Academy/Ronald Reagan HS) played for the bronze medal winning Team Florida in Girls’ National Youth.
There were 1,700 players on 130 teams. Many of the U.S. teams (75) are age-based regional all-star teams competing with national teams from the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Peru and Bermuda.
This was the sixth time the HP Championships were in Fort Lauderdale.
AAU National Track Championships
Miami runner Cha’iel Johnson, 12, eclipsed her national record for the girls’ 800-meter race (12-year-old division) in 2:14.80 to win the AAU National Club Championship at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Kissimmee.
Johnson – a member of the Miami Gardens Xpress Track Club and the nation’s No.1-ranked 800m runner in her age group – beat her previous mark 2:16.35.
She also won gold in the 400 in 57.01 and the 1500 in 4:47.92. It was her first time running the 1500.
Later this summer, Johnson will compete in the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Detroit, where she will attempt to defend her 2016 800m title (2:19.16). She also won an AAU Junior Olympic title in 2015 in the 400m (1:01.57).
She is the daughter of former NFL receiver Chad Johnson, formerly Chad Ochocinco. A Miami native, he played football at Miami Beach High School and Oregon State University.
More than 5,000 track and field athletes competed for top honors in the AAU National Club Championships at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The event featured the best sprinters, distance runners and field competitors from across the country, Barbados and Puerto Rico. The AAU National Club Championships were the final qualifying event before the AAU Junior Olympic Games.
Nicholas Montalvo (bow) of Miami and Daniel Perez (stroke) of Fort Lauderdale won the National U23 Trials in rowing in heavyweight double in Mercer, N.J. and will represent the United States in the U23 World Championships in Bulgaria.
Nick, who competes for the University of Wisconsin, did his high school rowing with the Miami Rowing Club. Daniel, who competes for Dartmouth, rowed for Pine Crest in high school. The crew is being trained in a campaign led by Craftsbury in its Vermont facility.
Spartan Race, the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand, has created a program known as Spartan Edge, which is utilized in Miami-Dade County.
It is a program to educate at-risk kids about qualities that they can use to overcome obstacles that they will encounter in high school and beyond.
Spartan Edge accomplishes this through three main methods: Academic Classes, Physical Education Curriculum and After-School Programs.
Spartan Edge and Miami-Dade based AMI Kids have teamed to offer support by giving local, at risk kids, who were in a downward spiral, the tools to help them get their lives back together. They learned and tapped into the potential buried inside them, in hopes of bettering themselves and strengthening the local community and beyond.
AMI KIDS and SPARTAN RACE have been training these local at-risk youth to race and run in Spartan Race Sprints, in hopes of giving them the tools to conquer any obstacle life throws at them. The kids at both campuses AMIkids Miami Dade North and South have put in months of training to conquer the obstacles of Spartan Race and plan to continue this program.
Racing as a team, the youths of Miami-Dade based AMI Kids have had the opportunity to train together and work toward the goal of completing the race, while building on pro social, family relationships with one another. This great experience is teaching local, Miami-area students the importance of team work and patience.
Plus, participating in the Spartan Edge/Spartan race training has taught these children, firsthand the values that AMIkids encourages throughout their organization: Kids First, Safety, Diversity, Leadership, Enthusiasm, Loyalty, Family, Dedication, Creativity, and Goal Orientation to name a few. Committing to training several days a week to accomplish completing a Spartan Sprint – these students’ activities, choices, opportunities and lessons were a far cry from the other activities their life circumstance would have offered instead.
Since 1974, AMIkids Miami-Dade has been dedicated to helping kids discover the potential within them, transform their lives and strengthen our community. Located in Miami, Florida, AMIkids Miami-Dade empowers our kids through care and guidance to reach that potential and, as a result, break the cycle of failure and poverty.
Due to the positive impact on the community and the increasing need for AMIkids services, a second location was added in North Miami Beach in 1988, and have been helping as many kids as possible transform their lives Even kids with a troubled past have the potential to achieve a bright future, and AMIkids Miami-Dade works every day to separate their troubled past from a bright future.
SPARTAN RACE is the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand, and the first in-sport to feature timing and global rankings. With more than 200 events across more than 30 countries in 2017, Spartan Race will attract more than one million global participants offering open heats for all fitness levels, along with competitive and elite athletes.
The Spartan Race lifestyle boasts a community of more than five million passionate social media followers, health and wellness products, training and nutrition programs, and a popular NBC television series, which has made obstacle racing one of the fastest growing sports in the world. The 2017 Spartan Race event season features a global championship series and races at three distances, 5+ km/20+ Obstacle “Sprint,” 13+ km/25+ Obstacle “Super,” and 20+ km/30+ Obstacle “Beast,” culminating in the Reebok Spartan Race World Championship in Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Visit http://www.spartan.com for more information and registration.
SPARTAN EDGE is a program that schools implement to educate students about qualities that will create more of these students who can use these characteristics to overcome obstacles that they will encounter in high school and beyond. Spartan Edge accomplishes this through three main methods: Academic Classes, Physical Education Curriculum and After-School Programs. The Spartan Edge journey can culminate in a Spartan Day at the end of the school year.
THE SPARTAN FOUNDATION (TSF) is Spartan Race’s community outreach initiative that will address improved health, wellness and personal development for children and young adults nationwide. TSF will generate funding and visibility to spotlight and support progress with organizations whose missions are in alignment with the Spartan principles of overcoming obstacles to enrich and accomplish one’s life goals.
Gulliver, Liberty City football
The Miami Dolphins hosted the Fort Lauderdale High School, Gulliver Preparatory and Liberty City Optimist football teams at their Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices.
The teams were given a tour of the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University and heard from Miami Dolphins President & CEO Tom Garfinkel and Youth Programs Ambassador and Dolphins alum Twan Russell about character, leadership and overcoming adversity.
“It was amazing. It was an outstanding experience. Players were engaged. Coaches felt like kids again watching a professional team out there execute,” Gulliver Preparatory Head Football Coach Earl Sims said. “We all just had a great experience.”
Liberty City Optimist Head Football Coach George Harris said: “It was electric. The kids were excited and even us as coaches were very excited. We’re going to take some of the criteria they’re using and implement it in our practice also.”
The three teams also had the opportunity to watch the Dolphins practice and meet with current players on the field. Following practice, the athletes had lunch provided by Wendy’s.
“When I was a child, I idolized Cameron Wake, and it was cool to see him up-close and personal,” Gulliver Preparatory defensive end D'Sean Perry said. “I picked up some of his technique, some of his hand placement, how fast he is around the ball, and it was very cool to see that.”
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.
FIU Football Camp
Riccardo Silva Stadium at Florida International University in Kendall was the site for an adidas Football Camp featuring more than 650 participants.
FIU along with 13 other Division I programs, including Texas A&M, Nebraska, Rutgers, and N.C. State, held an intensive camp designed to teach each participant the football fundamentals needed to excel at their position. The camp also included hands-on individual techniques as well as competitions.
“Tonight was a huge success and was great for the FIU football program,” FIU Head Coach Butch Davis said. “Our coaches got an unbelievable opportunity to work with over 650 kids. For the kids, it was great for them because they got a chance to come out, showcase their skill level, get a chance to compete, have some fun and learn some football from our coaches. And obviously, because of our relationship with adidas, there were 13 other Division I schools here. So, a lot of kids got great exposure.”
The camp was open to anyone entering grades 9-12 as of Fall 2017 and junior college freshmen and sophomores.
For more information, log onto https://camps.jumpforward.com/ButchDavisFootballCamps.
About FIU Athletics: FIU Athletics is home to more than 400 student-athletes in 18 different sports. Athletic events are played in eight different venues on FIU’s campuses (Modesto A. Maidique and Biscayne Bay), including FIU Arena and Riccardo Silva Stadium.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nineteen Guilford College students were named to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s 2016-17 Sportsmanship Teams in their respective sports.
Guilford is an NCAA Division III program in Greensboro, N.C.
The squad is comprised of student-athletes identified by a team’s coaching staff and contains representatives from every team and school among the league’s 24 championship sports.
The Quakers recognized include: Senior David Felipe (Miami/Killian HS) - Lacrosse.
Miami Heat Camp
The annual Miami HEAT Camp continues.
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 remaining schedule for each session.
July 31-Aug 4 / Aug 7-11: Miami-Dade College (Kendall Campus)
Website to Register/Purchase: HEAT.com/HEATCamp or call 786-777-4113.
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.
More events, leagues, programs
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
Representing 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 Miami 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 www.USTAFloridaFoundation.com.
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.
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
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YouTube youth sports and more
YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)