Youth Sports

Miami Alper JCC women’s tennis team wins state title

Miami-Dade South (Alper Jewish Community Center) won the state title in the 40 and older women’s 3.0 division during the 2017 USTA Florida 40 & Over 3.0/4.0 League Sectional Tennis Championships at the USTA National Campus in Orlando. They will represent Florida at nationals.
Miami-Dade South (Alper Jewish Community Center) won the state title in the 40 and older women’s 3.0 division during the 2017 USTA Florida 40 & Over 3.0/4.0 League Sectional Tennis Championships at the USTA National Campus in Orlando. They will represent Florida at nationals. Photo Courtesy USTA Florida

Miami-Dade South (Alper Jewish Community Center) won the state title in the 40 and older women’s 3.0 division during the 2017 USTA Florida 40 & Over 3.0/4.0 League Sectional Tennis Championships at the USTA National Campus in Orlando.

The Alper Jewish Community Center garnered Miami its first USTA Florida League Sectionals title of the 2017 season. They will represent Florida at nationals.

This title took a full team commitment, and my ladies didn’t let me down,” Miami captain Jane Forman said in a release. “They overcame extreme adversities and proved to be true champions by working together. My only advice going into the finals was ‘Leave nothing on the court’ and they did just that. Thank you for a phenomenal weekend at this most beautiful facility.”

Alper Jewish Community Center defeated Clay County (Eagle Harbor County Club, Fleming Island) 3-2 in the finals.

No. 1 Singles: Elizabeth Velasco (Miami) d. Patricia Braun 6-3, 6-0. No. 2 Singles: Ximenia Otero (Miami) d. Elaine Canaan 6-1, 6-2.

No. 1 Doubles: Lori Aiosa/Sharon Surdyke (Clay) d. Liliana Salmon/Maria Odon 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker). No. 2 Doubles: Andrea Sullivan/Stephanie Rouse (Clay) d. Silvana Caamano/Maria Torres 6-2, 6-1. No. 3 Doubles: Carole Bernstein/Mellissa Cili (Miami) d. Sheri Woods/Sherrie Hamilton 6-1, 6-4

The champions are: Jane Forman (captain), Maria Torres, Maria Odon, Bernardine Rogan, Nancy Ware, Ximena Otero, Malu Atkinson, Carole Bernstein, Mellissa Cili, Ely Cora, Angela Musso, Faye Lumsden, Elizabeth Velasco, Silvana Caamano, Rosana Aronson, Liliana Salmon.

In the 40 and older men’s 4.0 final, Broward County (Quigley Park, Parkland) edged Miami-Dade South (Ron Ehmann Tennis Center) 3-2.

No. 1 Singles: Santiago Restrepo (Broward) d. Jose Nunez 6-2, 7-5. No. 2 Singles: Javier Dalmau (Miami) d. Barry Rittman 6-4, 6-0.

No. 1 Doubles: Mark Banens/Alex Barrellier (Miami) d. Mark Miller/David Netburn 6-1, 6-0. No. 2 Doubles: Greg Brusey/Jorge Rodriguez (Broward) d. Maireni Ramirez/Gerardo Perdigon 6-2, 5-7, 1-0 (super-tiebreak). No. 3 Doubles: David Aron/Christian Reyes (Broward) d. Robert Rogers/Carlos Lopez 6-3, 6-2

The event drew the top 40 & Over USTA League teams from throughout Florida, representing various clubs, parks, recreational departments and organizations that finished at the top of their local leagues. Teams consisting of two singes and three doubles lines competed in a non-elimination, round-robin format, with flight winners advancing into a single-elimination semifinal followed by the final.

NTRP levels of play were 3.0 and 4.0.

For more information on NTRP levels go to:

Established in 1980, USTA League has grown from 13,000 participants in a few parts of the country in its first year to more than 904,000 players across the nation today, making it the world’s largest recreational tennis league. The league groups players by using six National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) levels, ranging from 2.5 (entry) to 5.0+ (advanced). USTA League is open to any USTA member 18 years of age or older.

For more information on USTA Florida Leagues go to:


Five South Florida teenagers returned from an international sailing regatta in Thailand as world champions.

At the Optimist World Championships, it marked the first time all five American team qualifiers are members of the same club (Coral Reef Yacht Club in Coconut Grove).

Twins Justin and Mitchell Callahan, 14, Liam O’Keefe, 14, Stephan Baker, 13, and Charlotte Leigh, 14, competed against 281 of the best young sailors from 62 countries.

Representing Team USA, they won the IODA Challenge Cup for team racing for the second consecutive year and the Nations Cup for overall best combined performances of team members. Charlotte won the individual bronze medal in the Top Female category. Justin was a member of the team that won the Team Racing trophy last year.

Racing out of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya, Thailand, in swirling seas and winds of up to 18 knots, Stephan finished fourth overall, Mitchell 14th and Liam 17th.

In the best-of-three Team Racing final, after victories over countries including Ireland, Germany, Thailand, and Singapore, Team USA beat Team China 2-1 in a dramatic ‘sail off,’ cheered on by family and supporters in a fleet of spectator boats.

Team USA’s sailor spokesman Justin Callahan said: “It was going to be challenging. All the teams are excellent. We knew that going into the day.”

Although all five are members of Coral Reef YC, only Liam and Charlie actually sail for the club, where they are coached by Omari Scott.

Justin, Mitchell and Stephan sail out of Lauderdale Yacht Club, where team coaches are Pilo Rocha and Arthur Blodgett.

Stefan and Liam are students at Ransom Everglades School. Charlotte attends Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. Mitchell and Justin studies at Florida Virtual School, the first statewide Internet-based public high school in the United States.

The high-achieving youngsters beat hundreds of America’s top 'Opti' sailors to qualify for the World Championships at a regatta in New Jersey earlier this year, where they were declared the top five Opti sailors in the United States.

Between them, the youngsters have already sailed across the world, from South America, Canada, Bermuda, and throughout Europe.

Team coach Lior Lavie, originally from Israel, has been coaching Opti sailors for seven years.

He said all five youngsters have fantastic sailing careers ahead of them. He pointed out that more than 85-percent of sailors who participated in the Rio Olympics sailed in Optimist dinghies when they were young. All five have ambitions to one day make it to the Olympics.

Paul Callahan, country representative, president of the US Optimist Dinghy Association, a two-time Paralympian – and father of Justin and Mitchell – praised the team’s “devotion to excellence.”

More sailing

Thirteen-year-old Enzo Menditto, an eighth grader at Westminster Christian School, is one of four sailors representing the United States in the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) European Championship Regatta on the Black Sea off the coast of Bourgas, Bulgaria.

Menditto began his sailing career at age 8 and has trained the past five years at Coral Reef Yacht Club in Coconut Grove.

In May, Menditto competed in the United States Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) Team Trials in Long Beach Island, N.J., where he finished eighth in the country and retained his seat on the U.S. National Team. In previous years, Menditto has represented the United States at The South American Championship in Paraguay (2017), The North American Championship in Antigua (2016), The Lake Garda Optimist Meeting in Italy (2016) and British Nationals in Wales (2015).

Youth sailing in South Florida has the benefit of year-round sailing. Menditto looks to advance his ranking to top five in the next year so he can represent the USA in the 2018 Optimist World Championship in Cypress.

Dolphins build playground

The Miami Dolphins, in conjunction with Warner Music Group, partnered with KaBOOM! to build a playground at Cotson Park in Hialeah. About 200 volunteers joined partners and children from Hialeah to erect the park designed by the kids with KaBOOM!.

“The Miami Dolphins are invested in developing our youth to make positive choices and engage in physical activity,” Miami Dolphins Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Jehn said in a release. “This playground provides an opportunity for kids in Hialeah to be able to have a space to play. We thank CB Lafayette Pitts and our alumni O.J. McDuffie, James Pruitt and Bryant Salter for coming out, as well as our great partners in KaBOOM, Warner Music Group and the City of Hialeah for working collaboratively to bring this great community initiative to fruition.”

The volunteers had a short “warm up” before being grouped into teams to assist with the mulching, concrete and playground build to begin working around 9 a.m. Teams took shifts breaking for lunch to ensure that the work never stopped. By 2 p.m. the finishing touches were put on the playground and the job was complete.

“At Warner Music Group, we take great pride in contributing to the communities we live and work in, particularly through youth programs,” said Gabriela Martinez, Senior Vice President, Marketing, & General Manager, Warner Music Latin America. “KaBOOM! is an amazing organization and we are thrilled to continue contributing to their mission, especially in partnership with the Miami Dolphins and on behalf of the City of Hialeah.”

All volunteers gathered to share in the accomplishments from the day. Together with the children who crafted the design, the park opened to the public by cutting an inaugural ribbon. All parties gathered for a group photo before breaking off to complete final cleanup and checks.

“It's an honor for the City of Hialeah Department of Parks and Recreation to be working today with the Miami Dolphins, Warner Music Group and more than 200 volunteers to build a new playground for the kids at Cotson Park,” City of Hialeah Parks & Recreation Director Joseph Dziedzic said. “This new playground will provide a safe and interactive environment for all kids in this community to enjoy play.”

West Perrine Park tennis

On Friday, July 14, the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, Miami-Dade County District 9 Commissioner Dennis C. Moss and local youth joined together for a tennis-themed play day at the newly resurfaced tennis courts at West Perrine Park, 10301 SW 170 Ter, Miami.

The event was a kick-off for the new Urban Tennis Program initiated by Commissioner Moss.

The tennis program will be offered free of charge to youth enrolled in Miami-Dade Parks’ summer camp program at West Perrine, Goulds, and Sgt. Delancy parks. Specifically designed for kids age 10 and younger, the program features a beginner progressive format that utilizes shorter courts and low compression balls, and offers tips on fitness and nutrition. The program will serve as a pathway to Junior Team Tennis and other USTA programs.

“I am so thrilled to debut the new Urban Tennis Program. This is a dream come true! Together with the Parks Department, we have created an innovative recreational opportunity for kids who would normally have little exposure to the sport of tennis, serving up fun, active-play in their neighborhood park,” Commissioner Moss said in a release.

Miami-Dade Parks Director Designee Maria Nardi, added: “We aim to help program participants enjoy their first experiences with tennis, so they can develop their athletic abilities and love for the sport.”

Miami-Dade Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 270 parks and 13,573 acres of land. It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world and focused on Placemaking, Health and Fitness and Conservation and Stewardship.

The non-profit Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade supports Miami-Dade Parks' efforts to further develop Miami-Dade County’s world-class parks system for residents and visitors.

Orange Bowl Family Fun & Fit Day

The Orange Bowl Family Fun & Fit Day presented by Sunshine Health will occur at Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex on Saturday, Aug. 12 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The event is free to the general public and will feature more than 60 vendors providing a variety of services and products including free health screenings, fitness classes, interactive demonstrations and essentials for children heading back to school. Now in its fifth year, the event previously known as the Orange Bowl Health and Wellness Fair, will address the health and medical needs of the South Florida community, encourage youth and families to improve their eating habits and maintain a physically active lifestyle.

“This is one of our favorite events of the year because of the opportunity to engage South Florida families and children in preparation for an exciting new school year,” Orange Bowl community outreach chair Henri Crockett said in a release.

Free haircuts, backpacks with school supplies, and health screenings will be available to all attendees as well a concussion awareness and safety recognition seminar presented by USA Football. Sunshine Health, presenting sponsor of the Orange Bowl Family Fun & Fit Day, will be one of the many exhibitors providing free information and services. More exhibitors and services are being added daily. Along with the exhibitors, the event will feature activities for the entire family including food trucks, a youth football clinic, live performances and demonstrations, music, games, raffle giveaways, bounce houses, caricaturists and face painting for children.

“Sunshine Health is proud to support the Orange Bowl and its Family Fun and Fit Day, an important community event that promotes health and wellness and gives hundreds of South Florida youth and families a head start on the school year with free back-to-school supplies,” said Chris Paterson, CEO of Sunshine Health. “People can come out and have a good time while also learning about the importance of an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits. This is just one of the many ways the Orange Bowl supports our community throughout the year.”

The Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex is at 3000 NW 199th St., Miami Gardens.

Presenting sponsor Sunshine Health is joined by community sponsor the City of Miami Gardens, media partner CBS4 and associate sponsors AutoNation, Florida Prepaid College Plans, Hard Rock Stadium, Wells Fargo and Clutch Insurance in support of the event.

For more information or if you are an exhibitor requesting to participate in the Orange Bowl Family Fun & Fit Day presented by Sunshine Health, email

Riddell football equipment program

Riddell kicked off season three of its Smarter Football program, inviting teams to apply for an equipment grant by demonstrating their commitment to advancing the game of football. Future Hall of Fame quarterback and Riddell brand ambassador Peyton Manning will join Riddell in reviewing this years applicants and selecting the winning teams.

The Smarter Football program is a grassroots campaign that recognizes and rewards teams across the country for implementing smarter tactics on and off the field. About 1,700 football programs across North America, from the youth level all the way up to semi-pro, have applied for an equipment grant through the initiative in its first two seasons.

“Our goal at Riddell is to challenge all members of the football community – including ourselves – to make smarter football part of their DNA,” Riddell President and CEO Dan Arment said in a release. “Seeing this program’s success year after year proves that the future of football is promising, which fuels our motivation to keep innovating. We look forward to recognizing and supporting a new class of recipients this year who display the same dedication to evolving the game.”

Smarter Football can take shape in many ways. At its core, it reflects the collective football community’s pledge to advance the sport. How it manifests itself, however, can look different for everyone involved.

For parents and administrators, it may mean more technologically advanced protective equipment. For players and coaches, it may mean optimizing strength training and more film study.

For Riddell, Smarter Football means leading innovation in product design and development to create more advanced protective technologies. This year, building upon the success of the Riddell SpeedFlex helmet, the company launched Riddell Precision-Fit, a state-of-the-art 3D head scanning process used to build a custom-fitting, player-specific helmet liner system that provides personalized protection.

Riddell also introduced enhanced player management software for its InSite Impact Response System, which summarizes players on-field alerts and identifies training opportunities for athletes based on their impact profile.

“I’ve always valued preparation and information, both on and off the field,” NFL great Peyton Manning said in a release. “I studied everything from the helmet I wore, to the tape I watched, to the plays I called to try to set myself and my team up for success. I am honored to have the opportunity to give back to the game I love and pay tribute to the players, coaches, parents and fans who share the same passion for the sport.”

This year’s program will continue to recognize and reward those at all levels of play who have taken steps toward improving and advancing the sport of football, especially when it comes to player safety and protection. Those interested in applying for a grant can visit

The deadline for entries is Aug. 31, 2017 and recipients will be announced shortly after the submission period closes. Anyone in the football community is invited to join the movement by following @RiddellSports on social media and sharing their own examples of #SmarterFootball.

Paris Saint-Germain soccer

Paris Saint-Germain players and the team’s coach made a special visit to the Paris Saint-Germain Academy in Miami, where they took time to meet children, share expert tips on development and discuss the growth of soccer in the local community with coaches.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery accompanied players Alphonse Areola and Yuri Berchiche as well as Paris Saint-Germain legend and new Team Coordinator Maxwell Scherrer, to the Academy in Hialeah. They met 120 young players at the Academy, offering expert advice on training and skill development.

Paris Saint-Germain has two extremely successful academies in the United States; Miami and New York. In the Miami community, the Paris Saint-Germain Academy runs soccer camps at FIU University throughout the summer and also has a presence in Tropical Park, Kendall Soccer Park, Coconut Grove, Riviera Preperatory School and West Palm Beach. Each year in Miami, the Paris Saint-Germain Academy coaches more than 400 registered players and hosts 200 children in holiday camps including in-school and after school programs.

All Academy activity has the goal of sharing the club’s ‘Dream Bigger’ philosophy, providing fun and experienced coaching sessions to help the growth of soccer within Miami and around the country.

The US programs are derived from the club’s professional center in Paris – the Paris Saint-Germain Youth Development Academy - which aims to develop the next generation of soccer talent.

About the Paris Saint-Germain Academy

The Paris Saint-Germain Academy is a football school that is open to boys and girls from 5 to 16 years of age. To date, it is present in 10 countries, with 58 year-round training centers and more than 150 seasonal camps. More than 10,000 children attend the Academies, half of whom live in countries other than France. In these training centers, around 110 coaches trained by the Club offer top-level coaching and guidance, with great attention paid to the values of excellence, pleasure and fair play in order to make the experience as fulfilling and as useful as possible.

The coaching at the Paris Saint-Germain Academy is representative of that of the world-renowned European club. Whether they attend the training school all year round or join a training camp during school holidays, the children benefit from top-quality coaching using Paris Saint-Germain methods. With 11 centers open in the Greater Paris region, 5 elsewhere in France, and 44 more in 8 other countries worldwide (Brazil, USA, Canada, Morocco, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Lebanon), the Paris Saint-Germain Academy is enjoying resounding success. It reflects the growing attractiveness of the Club both in France and abroad. The Paris Saint-Germain Academy is part of the Club’s international development strategy and provides a doorway into the Paris Saint-Germain universe for youngsters from all over the globe.

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.

Aug 7-11: Miami-Dade College (Kendall Campus)

Website to Register/Purchase: 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.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation announced a landmark three-way agreement with Special Olympics Florida to provide more tennis playing opportunities to athletes in Florida.

The formal agreement builds on the existing support that USTA Florida and its charitable arm have provided to local Special Olympics programs by offering free 10 and Under Tennis workshops, grants and other resources to providers that offer tennis programs to Special Olympics athletes.

Likewise, Special Olympics Florida will encourage their athletes to participate in USTA Florida programs and events.

To get a program started, Special Olympics coaches may apply for a USTA Florida Section Foundation equipment grant for adaptive tennis equipment and other program needs by contacting Jessica Flynn at Special Olympics Florida.

For additional training opportunities and training resources, contact Linda Curtis at the USTA Florida Section Foundation at

Tennis classes, programs

Tennis classes and programs for all ages are at the Penny Sugarman Tennis Center at Sans Souci, 1795 Sans Souci Blvd., North Miami. Call for information on group lessons, annual passes, court rates and private lessons. Tennis pro is Ross Dubins. Call 305-893-7130.

Physically Challenged

Miami-Dade Parks welcomes children with disabilities in its youth leagues. If you need accommodations to participate, call 305-735-7847 (V/TDD).

Submit info to Sports Scene

Sports Scene spotlights news and notes from youth sports activities in your neighborhood. The aim is to feature game notes and the accomplishments of athletes from Miami-Dade County.

We rely on the directors and coaches of each league, as well as community members, parents and schools to submit information. We accept photos but ask that everyone pictured be identified with a first and last name and the name of the team or park they represent.


Youth sports online

For more area sports photos, go to

YouTube youth sports and more

YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)