To recognize deserving South Florida youth baseball and softball players for doing well in school and displaying sportsmanship on the diamond, the two-time champion Miami Marlins -- via Marlins third baseman Martin Prado -- have once again partnered with The Miami Herald for a special Team Player spotlight in the Neighbors sports section in print and online.
The honorees for July are Nathan Betz (Calvary Christian Academy), Noah Cantor (North Beach Elementary School), Ayron Diaz (West Hialeah Gardens Elementary School), Nicholas Pavlou (Herbert A. Ammons Middle School) and Kaitlyn Perdomo (Saint Louis Covenant School).
On Tuesday, July 18, these standout student athletes participated in the Miami Herald Spotlight “Very Prado You” Batting Practice Experience and Meet & Greet, where they watched Marlins batting practice on the field and met Prado in the dugout and during an on-field, pre-game ceremony.
Mascot extraordinaire Billy the Marlin also participated in the ceremony.
Each honoree received an autographed certificate signed by Prado, a Very Prado You T-shirt, food and beverage, complimentary parking and game tickets -- all provided by Prado.
Pinecrest Premier soccer
Pinecrest Premier Soccer Club announced that Jeremy Hewett and Katerina Molina were selected to travel to Europe to participate in the generation adidas international select program.
They are two of 96 players selected nationwide to train in August at Real Madrid Foundation, A.F.C. Ajax, and Olympique Lyonnais - three of the world’s most powerful soccer clubs.
This an opportunity presented to very few American players.
Hewett, an incoming junior at Westminster Christian School, will travel to Madrid, Spain to train with Real Madrid Foundation coaches. He secured one of 32 spots for the generation adidas international Real Madrid Foundation Select Program.
Molina, an incoming sophomore at Lourdes Academy, will travel to Lyon, France to train with Olympique Lyonnais Academy coaches. She secured one of 32 spots for the generation adidas international Olympique Lyonnais Select Program.
Hewett, 16, plays for Pinecrest Premier Soccer Club. From the program, he looks forward to going to Spain and training with one of the best clubs in the world. He is excited to train with the team of elite coaches and is grateful for the chance to work with other players like himself. In addition to being trained by Real Madrid Foundation coaches, Hewett will play in international friendly matches against Academy teams and receive individual evaluation from Real Madrid Foundation coaches.
Molina, 14, also plays for Pinecrest Premier Soccer Club. She has played as a forward for the club for seven years. From the program, she looks forward to learning new ways to improve her game and different ways to train. Molina will be trained by Olympique Lyonnais Academy coaches and will play in international friendly matches against Academy teams. She will also receive individual evaluation from Olympique Lyonnais Academy coaches.
Relevent scholarship winners
Relevent Sports, a division of RSE Ventures, announced 11 South Florida students were awarded $10,000 scholarships.
All scholarship recipients plus a guest received a free ticket to the International Champions Cup, presented by Heineken at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. That high-profile soccer match pitted Real Madrid CF and F.C. Barcelona.
Recipients from Miami-Dade County are: David Espantoso (Mater Academy Charter), Sandruny Fortune (Miami Northwestern HS), Giovani Marks (Booker T. Washington HS), Marvens Mertune (William H. Turner Technical Art), Khareem Oliver (Coral Gables HS), Frantz Paul (North Miami Beach Senior HS).
The students are graduated high school seniors who demonstrated a financial need to attend college, has a 2.5 GPA (B average or comparable on the scale) or higher and submitted a 300-500 word essay on the impact the game of soccer has made in their life.
For information, go to
NFL Play 60 Camp
The Miami Dolphins, in partnership with the NFL, joined NFL Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Muñoz in hosting an NFL PLAY 60 Character Camp locally for the fourth time.
Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah received approximately 300 youth, many Hispanic, age 9-13, with little or no football experience for the free camp.
The mission of the event was to make a positive impact on youth through teaching football skills, emphasizing exercise and reinforcing the importance of character in athletics and life. The program is currently working in collaboration with USA Football and its NFL FLAG curriculum, which introduces participants to be physically active through non-contact, continuous action while learning the fundamentals of football, lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship.
In addition, the camps taught character values that are core to the Anthony Muñoz Foundation, and promoted NFL PLAY 60’s health and fitness message. NFL PLAY 60 is the league’s youth health and fitness campaign, aimed at getting kids active for 60 minutes a day.
This is part of a series of NFL PLAY60 camps occurring in the summer and fall as part of the NFL’s year-round Hispanic outreach initiative, focused on offering youth opportunities to play and experience the game of football.
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 year’s 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 Riddell.com/SmarterFootball.
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.
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.
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.
Viktor E. Dash 5K
The Florida Panthers will host their second annual Viktor E. Dash in conjunction with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at BB&T Center on Nov. 4.
The 5K race will kick off at 8 a.m., and the one-mile race, honoring Peggy Ziady, will begin at 8:45 a.m.
All registered racers will receive one ticket for the Panthers vs. Rangers game on Nov. 4 or Panthers vs. Stars on Nov. 14. Each racer will receive a special Viktor E. Dash T-Shirt and custom finisher medal, with the top three in each age group receiving special recognition.
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)