Youth Sports

Torch run for Special Olympics World Games starts at Marlins Park

TORCH CEREMONY: The Special Olympics Flame of Hope makes its historic journey across America on its way to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in July in Los Angeles. Miami kicked off one of three simultaneous routes in the Unified Relay Across America, presented by Bank of America, at Marlins Park. The lighting of the torch included Bank of America dignitaries, other donors, supporters and local Special Olympics athletes.
TORCH CEREMONY: The Special Olympics Flame of Hope makes its historic journey across America on its way to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in July in Los Angeles. Miami kicked off one of three simultaneous routes in the Unified Relay Across America, presented by Bank of America, at Marlins Park. The lighting of the torch included Bank of America dignitaries, other donors, supporters and local Special Olympics athletes. rbb pr

The Special Olympics Flame of Hope is making its historic journey across America on its way to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in July in Los Angeles.

Miami kicked off one of three simultaneous routes in the Unified Relay Across America, presented by Bank of America, which runs through 50 states. Floridians, who raised funds for Special Olympics, earned the honor of carrying the torch through the state to stand up for inclusion.

In the unified spirit of the relay, local Special Olympics athletes also participated, including Miami resident Andy Miyares, who will represent the United States at the Special Olympics World Games.

After a Special Olympics lighting of the torch by Miyares at Marlins Park, Bank of America Market President Gene Schaefer carried the torch and led the relay from Marlins Park along with Special Olympics athletes.

The Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America continued through Miami-Dade County passing the AmericanAirlines Arena, the Venetian Causeway, Ocean Drive, and the Shops at Bal Harbor before traveling to Palm Beach County.

During the course of 46 days, in a hand-to-hand exchange, more than 20,000 participants throughout the nation will carry the torch, passing the Special Olympics Flame of Hope across the country to help deliver it to Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games in July.

Belen Jesuit crew

The Belen Jesuit Prep crew team had a very successfully showing at the United States Scholastic Youth National Championships in Cooper River, N.J., with an unprecedented complete sweep of the men’s lightweight categories, bringing home five gold medals and one silver.

More than 180 schools from throughout the United States and Canada competed.

Belen Jesuit was the overall winner of the men’s crew categories, with Saratoga Crew second.

Belen Jesuit has been invited to compete in the Royal Henley Regatta in London, England in June. This is the oldest and one of the most prestigious rowing regattas in the world. Every year, a few U.S. schools are invited to compete against the top high schools in Europe. Given Belen’s dominant performance over the past few years, the team has been selected by the regatta organization to compete for the Princess Elizabeth Cup and the Fawley Challenge Cup.

“We are very proud of the crew team, their coaches and parents,” said Jesuit Father Pedro Suarez, Belen Jesuit Prep School President. “The athletes who compete in crew also maintain high grade point averages and are sought after by some of the most prestigious schools. This year, five students have signed national letters of intent to row at the collegiate level [Alejandro Seda - St. Joseph’s University; Alexander Keenan - University of Pennsylvania; Nicolas Keenan - University of Pennsylvania; Hector Formoso-Murias - Georgetown; and Manuel Sanchez - Cornell University].”

During the fall, the team won six gold medals, four silver and four bronze at the Head of the Indian Creek Regatta in Miami Beach. Additionally, they won a silver and placed sixth in the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston. Three gold, one silver, one bronze and overall team points winning the Youth Team Trophy at the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Tenn. and four gold, two silver at the Head of the Giblet in Orlando.

The crew team began its inaugural season (2000-2001) in mid-November 2000. Since then, the team has secured many victories and awards and is currently being led by Head Coach Yunian Cabrera. The crew team is made up of 95 students in grades 6-12 and competes in more than 14 events throughout the season.

Sunshine State Games

The 2015 Sunshine State Games Sarasota Bradenton Festival opened with more than 1,500 of Florida’s finest amateur athletes in action in seven sports.

The most inspirational story of the first day was two gold medals won by 76-year old Rafael Paz of Miami.

Paz escaped from Cuba in a kayak in 1964 and was in the water for 24 hours before being rescued by a United Fruit Ship. He settled in Miami and has been paddling for recreational purposes since he retired as a construction worker.

Diaz posted the fastest overall time in all three K-1 races, finishing the 200 meter sprint in 40.12, the 500 meter in 1:53 and the 1000 meter in 4:06. He recently won a silver medal at the 2015 USA Canoe/Kayak Flatwater Sprint Team Trials in Oklahoma City.

The Hialeah Stormettes won the Synchronized Swimming Mary Rose High Point Trophy in the Novice Division, winning seven total medals (four gold, one silver, two bronze).

The Sunshine State Games are an annual event of the Florida Sports Foundation, and the Sarasota-Bradenton Festival is held in conjunction with the Sarasota County Sports Commission and the Bradenton Area CVB.

Athletes, age 5-90, compete in the 36th year of the Sunshine State Games, the longest continuously-running State Games in America.

Visit www.flasports.com.

Miami Country Day water polo

The Miami Country Day Middle School boys’ water polo team worked hard this season.

The team’s leading goal scorer was Romeo Curcio with 30 goals. Ricardo Stamatis had nine assists, and Zach Charalambides made 31 steals. Seventh graders Camryn Davis, Jackson Jimenez, Ramon Villamayor and Pedro Suarez are ready to take the team to the next level next season.

Opa-locka football

Three-time NFL Pro Bowler, multiple honor and award winner Elvis Dumervil -- who spent seven years with the Denver Broncos before becoming the outside linebacker (No.58) for the Baltimore Ravens -- recently returned to his hometown, Opa-locka, to revisit his old training ground, as a precursor to the city’s Big 89th Birthday Celebration at Sherbondy Village Park.

Recently arriving from Baltimore, Dumervil agreed that the riots in that city, resulting from the death of Freddie Gray, have had a profound impact on African-Americans across the country. He reflected on his past in Opa-locka, and gave much credit for his successful life and career, to his faith, home-training, parent’s discipline, neighborhood mentors and the exposure he received to sports through the Opa-locka’s Parks and Recreation program.

He said that awareness, keeping busy, not being in the wrong place at the wrong time and taking advantage of opportunities afforded to him had a tremendous role in him not being impacted by the negativity of the streets. The youngest of a several sibling to play professional sports, Elvis acknowledges that he and his family, of Haitian decent, developed strong family values and have been blessed by God. Therefore, he feels obligated through the fruit of his labor to contribute to another generation by way of leadership and support to strengthen and shape the quality and character of young men, while enforcing the need for them to respect and show responsibility to others.

Dumervil’s best advice to anyone, who finds themselves in a situation with authority, is to take the smart approach, by being well-spoken and responding lightly (in a low tone), which could give the youth an advantage in controlling a hostile situation, possibly reducing the chance of confrontation.

Although some of the familiar faces are still around Opa-locka today, Dumervil marveled at how the affairs of the city have taken a whole new direction in the arts, athletics and overall ambiance in the community. The aesthetics have drastically changed and the environment has transformed into a more serene atmosphere.

They Mayor and Commission are strong, and the dais is diverse. Coach Brown is now Mr. Ed Brown, Director of the Community Redevelopment Agency of Opa-locka. Some of Dumervil’s childhood friends and Opa-locka Hurricanes teammates may have chosen the wrong path, but many bloomed into responsible adults whose lives, like Dumervil’s, started taking shape on the playing field of Sherbondy Park.

Opa-locka Commissioner Terence K. Pinder, who worked in the Opa-locka Production Department during the years Dumervil played for the Opa-locka Hurricanes, remembered the young man’s determination and agility. Pinder concurs that city programs have played a major role in molding positive and confident thinkers, but he defined Dumervil as “a winner though his humility and attitude,” which Pinder said are “the preliminary steps to greatness.”

Dumervil has worked with American Group Home and Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives on charitable projects, bought tickets for and hosted 20 underprivileged children for each Broncos home game in 2010, helped distribute coats and warm weather gear to homeless men at the annual Helping Up Mission Coat Distribution, supported his teammate’s charitable endeavors (including the Torrey Smith Foundation) by participating in Torrey Smith’s Inaugural Celebrity Server Night at the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore.

Dumervil is adamant about making a contribution at home. The constructive growth in Opa-locka added more inspiration to Dumervil’s desire to participate in the change to the city.

Dumervil, who agreed to a five-year-deal with the Baltimore Ravens in March 2013, said he would like to “give back” and affirms that his training and skill puts him in a qualified position to reach-out to the youth of his community.

Brown said, “We welcome his participation to market the city, with him lending his face, name and reputation to create a destination for Opa-locka through his investment with the city.”

Dumervil deems himself the affirmation of how organized sports and working-hard can motivate one to the next level, “even if they are from a broken home, or their up-bringing is plagued with financial challenges and other disadvantages.” He asserted that programs and mentors, along with schools like Miami Jackson High and the University of Louisville can and do assist in developing young minds and teaching the expertise that is required to accomplish whatever goals they set.

According to Dumervil, “these teachings must first begin at home,” and for him, home will always be considered the neighborhood of Sherbondy Park in Opa-locka.

Kendall Hammocks flag football

Christian Lois (U6 49ers) and Nick Reyes (U12 Cowboys) were top performers in Week 3 of Kendall Hammocks NFL Flag Football at Devonaire Park.

Standings: 6U: 49ers 6-0, Giants 2-4, Dolphins 1-5. 8U: Cardianls 4-0, Raiders 5-1, Giants 4-1, Dolphins 3-1, Patriots 1-4, Falcons 1-5, Cowboys 0-6. 10U: Rams 5-1, Broncos 4-2, Bengals 4-2, Dolphins 3-3, 49ers 3-3, Seahawks 2-4, Jets 0-6. 12U: Falcons 5-1, Cowboys 4-2, Seahawks 4-2, 49ers 4-2, Eagles 3-3, Colts 1-3, Pats 1-4, Vikings 1-4, Broncos 0-4. 14U: Seahawks 6-0, Cowboys 5-1, Ravens 4-2, Dolphins 2-4, Raiders 2-4, Colts 1-5, Eagles 0-6.

Miami Country Day tennis

Behind the strong play of lone senior Megan Tate, the Miami Country Day School girls’ varsity tennis team won its third consecutive district championship.

Tate qualified for state as did sophomore Sasha Bass and freshman Jade Iadarola in doubles. The Spartans went 7-5 in the regular season.

Miami Country Day baseball

The Miami Country Day School varsity baseball team finished the season 8-16. It’s a young team with no seniors and three juniors.

The team was led by junior ace, Juztin Gross, who threw 30 innings with a 2.52 ERA and 41 strikeouts. Junior Jose Oronoz also threw 30 innings with 37 strikeouts. The offense was led by freshman Kian Andersen (.371 average, four homeruns), sophomore Colten Katcher (.350, two homeruns), eighth grader Connor Goodman (.341 average) and sophomore Griffin Sennett (.322, 15 RBI).

Freshman Austin Pollak had an outstanding season, hitting third most of the season and playing third base, catcher, shortstop and second base. Junior Brian Macias and sophomores Jesse Grosman and Jordan Sale were steady defensively and offensively.

More events, leagues, programs

Miami Heat donation

The Miami HEAT and presenting sponsor Kia teamed to provide 30 classrooms across 30 public schools from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties with a donation of school supplies and other resources that will help bolster select programs and activities for each school.

To commemorate these contributions, the Miami HEAT, alongside the HEAT Dancers, In-Arena Host Uptown Dale, and the Xtreme Team hosted a pep rally for one of the recipient schools, North Hialeah Elementary, as the school concludes its first year operating as a STEM Magnet school.

North Hialeah Elementary was gifted with its own aquaponics system, which is an experimental symbiotic environment that will educate its students on efficiently raising and cultivating aquatic animals and plants.

Random Acts of HEAT, presented by Kia, is a series of good deeds in the South Florida community meant to inspire individuals, families, organizations and communities to reciprocate kindness through random acts of their own.

These materials were purchased through the civic, crowd-funding platform DonorsChoose.org, which allows the public to personally select and make financial contributions to schools and classrooms across the country based off of varied needs and criteria.

Miami-Dade recipient schools are: North Hialeah Elementary School, Brentwood Elementary School, Citrus Grove Elementary School, Herbert A. Ammons Middle School, Aspira South Youth Leadership School, Bridgepoint Academy-Greater Miami, Booker T. Washington Senior High School, Miami Central Senior High School, Caribbean Elementary School, Henry M. Flagler Elementary School.

Miami Dolphins reading

The Miami-Dade Public Library System kicked off its Summer Reading program with the Miami Dolphins.

Now through Aug. 1, you can participate in the library’s heroic summer reading program by finding your inner hero within an inspiring biography, unmasking a mysterious novel or escaping the ordinary with a marvelous book. No matter your age, everyone is eligible for a chance to win a fabulous prize with the library’s Summer Reading Program by reading or listening for a minimum of two hours, attending a library program or downloading an eBook.

Stop by your neighborhood library to pick up an entry form with official contest rules or visit

www.mdpls.org.

The Summer Reading Program is made possible with the generous support of the Miami Dolphins Foundation and the Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library.

Summer Fun Runs

The 19th annual Summer Fun Runs, hosted by the Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep cross-country team, returns to Miami Shores. Last year, the team welcomed its largest of number of community participants.

Runners and walkers of all abilities meet Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Miami Shores Recreation Center, 9617 Park Dr., Miami Shores, 33138. The runs are free and continue through July 30.

This school and community tradition has grown from a small following of about seven runners per week to a total record-breaking turnout of 354 runners in 15 gatherings. Athletic experience ranges from a twenty-five time participating marathoner, to a tri-athlete, to someone who had never run recreational before. The age range of the participants is 11-60.

There are three courses of gradually increasing mileage: one for beginner runners or walkers, a second for recreational runners and joggers, and a third for advanced or competitive runners. By the end of July, the distances covered a range from three to seven miles, with no pace ever being set.

For information call the school at 305-751-8367 or visit www.acnd.net

MLB Bat Girl contest

Nominate someone who is Going to Bat Against breast cancer.

Winners will receive MLB game tickets and the opportunity to be recognized on-field during the game. Vote for nominees affected by the disease.

Nominate at

BatGirl

Visit mlb.com.

Jose’s Heroes

To support Miami Marlins star pitcher José Fernández on his road to recovery, the Marlins announce the return of the José’s Heroes season ticket package for the 2015 season.

For $499, José’s Heroes receive:

-A ticket to all 81 Marlins regular season home games. That’s about $6 a seat.

-A special edition José’s Heroes T-shirt each month.

-A complimentary ‘K’ Card!

-A meet-and-greet event with the man himself, José Fernández.

-Purchase the José’s Heroes season ticket package and travel to Marlins Park to support the Fish, 25 men strong.

For information, visit marlins.com/josesheroes, email SeasonTickets@marlins.com or call 305-480-2521.

Giancarlo Stanton’s G-Squad

To support Miami Marlins powerhitter Giancarlo Stanton, join Giancarlo Stanton’s All-New G-Squad.

For $27, you can be a member of the G-Squad, which will unite during five Saturday games.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit marlins.com/gsquad.

Kendall Hammocks cheer, football

The Kendall Hammocks Warriors Tackle program offers registration for the 2015 football and cheerleading season.

Tackle fee $185 which includes home game jersey that players keep, secondary insurance, participation awards, and the rental of helmet, shoulder pads, game pants. Issued equipment to be returned at season’s end. Also, the NFL’s Stephen Tulloch Football Camp as well as the Rookie Camp.

Cheer registration fee $385 which includes $185 initial deposit for practice T-shirt, shorts, game day socks, hair bow, cheer brief, and shoes, secondary insurance, and participation awards. The remaining $200 is for competition, body liner, shoes, socks, warm up, cheer bag, and uniform rental.

Registrations and practices are at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122 Ave. Tackle season starts July 6.

For information email Football Commissioner Mike Pintado at khwfootball@aol.com

or visit the web site at www.khwarriors.org

The Warriors Football program, under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks, is an all volunteer organization, serving the community in sports for more than 28 years. The Warriors compete in the Miami Xtreme Football League.

Play Action Sports cheer, football

Play Action Sports bought the Coral Gables Cavaliers Youth Football & Cheer Program and is re-rebuilding it.

The group seeks a cheer director and cheer coaches as well as football coaches, volunteers and team moms and dads to assist with the 2015 season in the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League. Home games will be played at Coral Gables High School.

Contact:

Ozzie@playactionsports.org

305-796-6642

Jon@playactionsports.org

305-923-7656

www.playactionsports.org

Footgolf

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

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

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

Sunshine State Games

Florida’s Sunshine State Games online registration is open for select sports of its 2015 Calendar of Events.

Now in its 36th year, the Sunshine State Games has become an amateur sports tradition in Florida and nationwide. All Floridians are welcome to compete in any of the more than 25 sports offered in 10 different Florida communities between April and November.

SSG strives to provide first-class facilities, a family-friendly atmosphere and professionally organized, yet affordable competition, for more than 10,000 athletes of all ages.

Online registration is open for select events, including three multi-sport festivals in Broward, Sarasota and Palm Beach counties at

www.flasports.com.

Since making its debut in 1980, Florida’s Sunshine State Games has established itself as the Nation’s Longest-Running State Games.

SSG Palm Beach County Festival, June 13-14

SSG Table Tennis Championships, June 20-21, Lakeland

SSG Water Polo Championships, June 26-28, Coral Springs

Entry fees vary by sport and registration deadlines are approximately two weeks prior to the competition date.

The Broward County Festival includes three sports: Figure Skating, Lacrosse, rugby.

The Sarasota County Festival features competition in seven sports; Archery, Canoe/Kayak, Disc Golf, Racquetball, Rowing, Synchronized Swimming and Ultimate.

The Sunshine State Games returns to West Palm Beach for the first time since 2002 when the Palm Beach County Festival offers eight sports; BMX Cycling, Fencing, Judo, Karate, Powerlifting, Taekwondo, Weightlifting and Wrestling.

“We look forward to working with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission to present the eight sports of the Palm Beach County Festival,” said Florida Sports Foundation Senior Vice President, Stephen Rodriguez. “The Palm Beach Convention Center will come alive the weekend of June 13-14 with seven sports being held in the building and over 1,000 athletes competing.”

Look for upcoming information about the 2015 Sunshine State Games events at

www.flasports.com.

NFL, USA Football, GENYOUth

NFL, USA Football, GENYOUth and Fuel Up to Play 60 today announced the expansion of their commitment to youth health and wellness by giving NFL FLAG Essentials Kits to one million students across 2,500 schools nationwide, including 10 focus cities: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Jacksonville, Miami, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. The expansion is made possible by a $1 million commitment from NFL Foundation.

The announcement was made by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CEO of GENYOUth Alexis Glick and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the 2015 NFL Draft Youth Football Clinic in Chicago’s Grant Park.

During 2014 Kickoff, NFL, USA Football, GENYOUth and Fuel Up to Play 60 announced a commitment to providing children in elementary schools and after-school programs nationwide with NFL FLAG Essentials Kits enabling kids and communities to “Play 60.” The kits which include footballs, flag belts, posters and a PE curriculum designed for elementary and middle school students, garnered enthusiasm, reaching 1,800 schools nationwide, resulting in 500,000 kids getting more active, and the demand for NFL FLAG powered by USA Football to be played before, during and after school.

The goal of the partnership between the NFL and Fuel Up to Play 60 is to give children more opportunities to be physically active and to "Play 60" by offering PE teachers and school administrators the equipment, curriculum, training and recognition they need to uplift and support physical education. This extension of the program provides a million more students across the country with the tools to play NFL FLAG, which combines the strategy of football with the lessons of teamwork, resiliency and respect.

“We want all kids to have the chance to get active and flag football is a fun way to play 60 and learn the fundamentals of football,” said Commissioner Goodell. “We know many children are physically inactive and the critical need in schools and communities for equipment and ways to increase participation in physical education. We want to make this a positive experience by offering NFL FLAG Kits to inspire kids to play football and be active today and in years to come.”

Results from the program’s first year include:

· 98% of teachers reporting using the Kits in PE class for more than one semester

· 47% using Kits after school

· 28% using Kits during recess

· 21% using Kits weekend activity and/or sporting activities

· 12% using Kits before school, leading to an increased number of physically activity kids

NFL FLAG provides children of all ages with the opportunity to be active and learn the basics of football in a fun environment. With the tremendous reach of Fuel Up to Play 60, the nation’s largest in-school nutrition and physical activity program, an additional 1,000,000 children in more than 2,500 schools will be able to participate in the coming 2015-16 school year via the new Kits. The program will culminate with the NFL FLAG National Championships at Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco.

“GENYOUth is proud to support this partnership by bringing this fresh and exciting sport to schools nationwide through our flagship program, Fuel Up to Play 60,” said Alexis Glick, CEO of GENYOUth. “Flag football is a fun, fast-paced, skills-based and strategy-driven game that inspires more kids to get active. It allows physical education teachers and communities to introduce a new curriculum that has already inspired more physical activity among both boys and girls during and outside of the school day.”

Schools can apply for the Kits starting in early May via the Fuel Up to Play 60 website:

www.FuelUpToPlay60.com and will be provided at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year while supplies last. Additionally, in-person FLAG trainings using the curriculum developed by USA Football and SHAPE America will be held in the 10 NFL markets this fall.

About NFL FLAG

NFL FLAG powered by USA Football (http://www.nflflag.com/) provides opportunities for children ages 5-17 to enjoy America's favorite sport.

With more than 250,000 participants nationwide, players benefit by being physically active through non-contact, continuous action while learning the fundamentals of football, lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship. NFL FLAG is a program of PLAY 60, the NFL’s campaign to encourage kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity.

About Fuel Up to Play 60

Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Football League (NFL) and National Dairy Council (NDC), which was founded by America’s dairy farmers, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools.

The program additionally encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. As a result of the program, last year 14 million students made better food choices and are getting more physically active during the school day. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Association/Foundation, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association.

Visit FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.

About GENYOUth Foundation

A leading nonprofit, GENYOUth brings leaders in health and wellness, education, government and business together in a movement to empower America’s youth to achieve a healthier future by uniting partners, raising funds and uplifting the student voice.

GENYOUth has established itself as a thought leader in youth health and wellness and collaborates with its partners to convene experts, conduct research, publish perspective reports, and build programs that make a lasting difference in the pursuit of healthy, high-achieving youth. Founded in 2010 through a public-private partnership with the National Dairy Council and the NFL, GENYOUth has raised funds, increased visibility and commitment to school wellness among health and wellness leaders, educators, students, parents, community leaders and businesses.

Learn more about GENYOUth partnership, volunteer and donation opportunities at

www.genyouthfoundation.org or contact

info@genyouthfoundation.org.

About USA Football

Indianapolis-based USA Football (www.usafootball.com) is the sport’s national governing body, leading the game’s development for youth, high school and other amateur players. The independent nonprofit partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and sport to establish important standards rooted in education. USA Football trains more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the U.S., advancing coaching education and player skill development for safer play and positive experiences through athletics.

Follow USA Football at

www.facebook.com/usafootball or on Twitter

@USAFootball.

About SHAPE America

SHAPE America - Society of Health and Physical Educators is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, physically active lives. As the nation's largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals, SHAPE America works with its 50 state affiliates and national partners to support initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Let's Move! Active Schools and the Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart programs.

Since its founding in 1885, the organization has defined excellence in physical education, and our resources provide the leadership, professional development and advocacy that support health and physical educators at every level - from preschool to university graduate programs.

For information, visit www.shapeamerica.org.

Heads Up Football

USA Football’s Heads Up Football program for high schools and youth organizations will include sudden cardiac arrest protocols andHeads Up Blocking fundamentals in 2015.

Both topics are now included in USA Football’s Level 1 coaching education course and its high school certification course.

USA Football is the national governing body of the sport and educates more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the United States.

USA Football’s Heads Up Football program is supported by more than two dozen medical and football partners.

“Coaches should be prepared to respond to a life-threatening emergency if needed,” said Dr. Jonathan Drezner, past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and a member of USA Football’s Medical Advisory Committee.

“With prompt recognition, early CPR and use of an AED, sudden cardiac arrest is largely a survivable event if treated quickly. USA Football is committed to the safety of young athletes, and I am proud that a sudden cardiac arrest training module is being added to the Heads Up Football program. The module provides coaches the information they need to be prepared for sudden cardiac arrest.”

“Blocking is one of football’s basic skills that every player needs to be taught,” said Jeff Saturday, a former NFL All-Pro center and ESPN analyst. Saturday is a member of USA Football’s Football Advisory Committee.

“USA Football’s Heads Up Blocking technique helps coaches teach this fundamental – properly engaging with a defender, driving with the legs and maintaining the correct body position for effective and safer play. This is how blocking should be taught.”

Heads Up Football is a comprehensive collection of resources and medically approved protocols to establish important standards rooted in education to change behavior for the better.

In addition to sudden cardiac arrest and Heads Up Blocking, the program covers concussion awareness and recognition, heat and hydration protocols, proper tackling fundamentals and equipment fitting. More than 5,500 youth leagues and 750 high schools in 2014 participated in the program this past fall, benefiting nearly 1-million players.

Follow USA Football at www.facebook.com/usafootball

or on Twitter @USAFootball

NFL Football Matters

The National Football Foundation announced the launch of FootballMatters.org, a powerful new addition to the organization’s campaign to highlight the good in the game and the lifelong benefits to those who play it.

“Football makes a positive impact on so many levels, and we realized that we needed a centralized resource for capturing and subsequently promoting all the great football stories out there,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “FootballMatters.org provides us a potent platform for addressing that void and delivering compelling content directly to audiences who can help us amplify our messages about the value of football in producing leaders and creating educational opportunities.”

NFF Chairman Archie Manning added: “It’s just gratifying to be part of something that does so much good for our young people. The stories are out there, including the thousands of young kids who could not have gone to college but got some aid because of football, and their lives have been changed for the better. FootballMatters.org will enable us to directly capture those stories and inspire the next generation to further their educations.”

The NFF has linked with Arkleus Broadcasting, a Dallas-based full-service media company, to create the platform, which also encompasses a strong social media component to gain traction for the campaign.

“Arkleus is honored and thrilled to be chosen by such a prestigious American institution as the NFF to build and market an exciting new sports media property,” said Arkleus Broadcasting President Joe Shults. “We are passionately committed to helping the NFF in every way to protect, enhance, and ensure the future of football for generations to come.”

The site focuses on stories, videos, and franchises highlighting the very best in high school and college football, such as: Football Moms, Special Teams, Hook & Corporate Ladder, Man-to-Man, the Quote of the Day and many more. The site will also be the home to exclusive profiles of Campbell Trophy finalists, Leadership Award Winners, Courage Award Winners and all the honors associated with the NFF.

“We are really excited about the Football Matters initiative,” said Hatchell. “I want to thank everybody at Arkleus for their passion for the project. They have done a marvelous job of getting it up and running in a short amount of time, and we have already received great feedback.”

The site focuses on the stories that evoke the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal, character building and the drive for academic excellence that exemplifies many of the young men who play football and the families who support them.

You can learn more about the site and watch a video featuring NFF Chairman Archie Manning and NFF Board Members Jack Ford, Archie Griffin, Kevin Plank and Rod West by clicking here.

Visit www.footballfoundation.org.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NFFNetwork

Twitter https://twitter.com/NFFNetwork

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/NFFOnDemand

Florida Christian lacrosse

Florida Christian School Athletic Director Ed Riggan, announced that FCS Athletics will offer lacrosse at the JV level for the spring of the 2014-15 school year. For information call 305-226-8152 or visit www.floridachristian.org.

ThunderPlex

Thunder Athletix and Brain Gymnasium LLC teamed to offer a complete fitness program of body and mind at the new ThunderPlex, 1440 NW 82 Ave. in Doral.

Students can improve their basketball skills and physical fitness, as well as strengthen their academic skills through specialized tutoring programs. They can have fun and finish their homework.

The mission is to teach the principles, fundamentals and basic skills of the game to children age 5-17.

Brain Gymnasium offers specialized tutoring, homework help, FCAT Prep, SAT/ACT Prep, and Entrance Exam Prep. Their degreed, professional and experienced teachers provide a simple and exciting approach to learning.

For information on special packages, after school programs and summer programs,

visit www.jointhunder.com ; contact@jointhunder.com or call 786-505-5585.

For information on Brain Gymnasium, visit www.braingymnasium.org or call 305-788-7339.

Thunder basketball

Thunder Basketball opened its new year-round facility at ThunderPlex, 1440 NW 82th Ave., Doral.

The mission is to teach the principles, fundamentals and basic skills of the game. It stresses the importance of team and sportsmanship.

Thunder also encourages players to succeed in the classroom and all aspects of life.

For information visit www.jointhunder.com

Registration is open.

Email contact@jointhunder.com or call 786-505-5585.

Miami Lady Express basketball

The Miami Lady Express girls’ basketball team needs funding to continue competing in tournaments throughout the United States. The coaches volunteered to train the girls, giving them something positive to do, and the parents have been raising funds.

Travel costs, food, tournament fees and lodging are very expensive for these girls. They practice at the Keys Gate Gym in Florida City and South Dade High School, where their coaches teach. Contact Coach Larry Hicks at 786-301-2577.

Tamiami basketball

Tamiami youth basketball registration is open for girls and boys ages 5 to 16.

Email Tamiamibasketball@gmail.com or call 305 -273-1145.

Tennis

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

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

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

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

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

Tennis classes, programs

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

Marlins Tours

The Miami Marlins offer behind-the-scenes tours of Marlins Park. The tours are open to the public on non-event days for $10 per person.

The tour includes visits to the field (behind home plate), home clubhouse, home batting cage area and Diamond Club, Promenade Level featuring the art in the facility, the bobblehead museum and the premium areas, including the suites.

Tours operate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except when the Marlins play at home or when other major events are scheduled at Marlins Park. Group tours of 10 to 25 people are available by appointment.

For more information, fans can call 1-877-MARLINS or e-mail tours@marlins.com. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket windows on Felo Ramirez Drive (Northwest Sixth Street between 14th and 15th avenues) and are for the time and date specified.

Tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable.

HOF baseball

Hall Of Fame Baseball is sponsoring travel baseball teams for 11-12, 13-14, 15-18 (high school) players.

Hall Of Fame Coach Rich Hofman and his staff will coach the teams, which will practice and play in tournaments and leagues. Register for a tryout at www.hofball.net or call David Hofman at 954-804-5600 or Ed Tisdale at 803-463-2591.

Youth Rugby South Miami

The Miami Rugby Youth Division, for boys ages 6-18, practices from 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays at Murray Park and Wednesdays at Palmer Park, 6120 SW 67th Ave., South Miami. Call 305-400-0134, ext. 101.

Visit www.miamirugbykids.com.

Soccer 5 Academy

Soccer 5 Academy Mini Soccer Program, also referred to as small-sided soccer, is at three Miami-Dade County-owned parks — Tropical Park (7900 Bird Rd.), Kendall Soccer Park (8011 SW 127th Ave.) and Amelia Earhart Park (401 E. 65th St., Hialeah).

Headed by Soccer 5’s Director of Coaching Development Alan Georgeson, who has more than 15 years of experience in Europe in mini/small-sided soccer, kids 3 to 12 years old will learn the history of mini soccer, the basics of how to play, reasons why mini soccer is the preferred form of soccer for kids, youth and even adults, and will have the opportunity to play in “3v3” to “7v7” matches.

The three locations make mini/small-sided soccer available across the county, providing a greater opportunity for children and families to access the proper 4G turf game fields specifically designed for “5v5,” “6v6” and “7v7” games.

With smaller fields, mini soccer is much easier for young children or children who have never played. In addition, mini soccer is designed for competition among teams with fewer players, providing more opportunity for pick-up games, as well as more opportunity to play the ball making mini soccer popular with older players, too.

For more information or to register, visit www.miamisoccer5.com.

Rebelle volleyball

Rebelle Athletics Club offers girls’ volleyball tryouts at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School, 4949 NE Second Ave.

The volleyball club, a member of the United States Volleyball Association, is under the direction of Mandi Tate, Dee Rey and former Barry University player Kelly Dantas. They are former coaches with South Florida Volleyball Club and currently coach at the Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School Biscayne Bay Campus.

Rebelle Athletics is dedicated to providing developmental and participatory athletic sports programs beginning at the youth development level. It offers a progression of sports activities for persons of all ages, races and creeds. It strives to enhance the physical, mental and moral development of amateur athletes at all levels, promoting sportsmanship and active citizenship.

Visit www.rebelleathletics.com.

Jai-Alai

Jai-alai is open to anyone, age 10 to 80.

With a rubber ball and cestas, the amateur jai-alai facility is at 1935 NE 150th St. in North Miami, near FIU’s North Campus.

It is indoors, air-conditioned and open to all. Call Luis at 305-389-2313 or Bob at 786-556-3574.

Jai-Alai for women

Who said you have to be a male to play jai-alai? Just as females play the sport in Spain, France and Mexico, women can play it in South Florida at the amateur indoor, air-conditioned fronton at 1935 NE 150 St., North Miami, near FIU’s North Campus.

There are also leagues for males and children. Rubber or plastic balls are used with free lessons by former pros. Cestas and balls are also provided free with a nominal court fee. Open every day. Email admanUSA@aol.com or call Brucio 786-629-5428. The American Amateur Jai-Alai Academy is a not-for-profit organization.

Physically Challenged

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

Submit info to Sports Scene

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

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

Email sportsscene@MiamiHerald.com.

Youth sports online

For more area sports photos, go to

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

YouTube youth sports and more

YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)

www.youtube.com/user/jvarsallone/videos

Nominate youth baseball, softball players to be honored for academics, sportsmanship at Miami Marlins game

In an effort to recognize deserving South Florida youth baseball and softball players for doing well in school and displaying sportsmanship on the diamond, the Miami Marlins have once again partnered with The Miami Herald to co-sponsor the Team Player Spotlight on the Sunday Youth Sports pages in the Neighbors section of The Miami Herald in print and online.

Youth league coaches, team representatives, teachers, friends or family members can nominate youth baseball or softball players, who display sportsmanship and good grades or academic improvements. Eligible nominees are from the recreational in-house league or travel league or school league (elementary school or middle school aged) for any season of the year.

Honored players – selected by random drawing – will be invited to a Marlins game where they will receive a certificate of achievement and a Marlins item during a recognition ceremony at Marlins Park.

To nominate someone, e-mail Miami Herald Youth Sports Editor Jim Varsallone at

jvarsallone@miamiherald.com or call 954-538-7153.

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