Youth Sports

Gwen Cherry Bulls, Tamiami Colts win Pop Warner national titles

The Division I Jr. Midget Gwen Cherry Bulls (age 10-12) of the Greater Miami South Florida Pop Warner League won the Super Bowl during the 59th Annual Pop Warner Championships at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista.
The Division I Jr. Midget Gwen Cherry Bulls (age 10-12) of the Greater Miami South Florida Pop Warner League won the Super Bowl during the 59th Annual Pop Warner Championships at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista. Pop Warner

The Gwen Cherry Bulls of the Greater Miami South Florida Pop Warner League won two Super Bowl titles during the 59th Annual Pop Warner Championships at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista.

The Division I Pee Wee Gwen Cherry Bulls (age 9-11) defeated the Virginia Beach (Va.) Mustangs 30-0 in the finals. This is the third consecutive year the team won the championship.

The champs are Robert McMinn, Malik Rutherford, Rance Conner Jr., De’Carlo Donaldson Jr., Zackery Baldwin, De’Andre Francis, Tarvarress Blackmon, Nyjae Garland, Michael Sherill, Xavier McElliott, Jerrod Cameron, Keith Moore, Gabriel Myrthil, Marvin Sims, Lionell Whitaker, Rhoody Jean-Louis, Jordan Burns, Delvin Calhoun, Martavious Robinson, Gregory Byrd, Joshua Lyons, Garren Streeter, Myles Bethel, Armani Janvier, Jerome Hudson.

The Division I Jr. Midget Gwen Cherry Bulls (age 10-12) beat the Virginia Beach (Va.) Mustangs 30-0 in the finals.

The champs are Shemar Paul, Larrion Moss, Jovan Ferguson, Justin Walden, Elijah Abreu, Steve Mitts, Harry Henderson, Shamar Zaragoza, Tavaras Bradley, Carl March Jr., Kahlil Brantley, Wendol Philord, Dwayne Bendross, John Joachin Jr., Deondre Dozier, Arturo Dean, Terry Smith, Michael Anderson, Camron Grant Jr., Da’Marcus Fleming, Jaheim Lawton, Timothy Burns Jr., Franc Owens, Tyquane Lee, Tellek Lockette, Dewayne Martin, Naim McMillian, Roderick Jones, Gianfranco Colina.

Tamiami Colts

The Tamiami Colts of the Greater Miami South Florida Pop Warner League enacted revenge against the Ward 5 Warriors in the Division II Midget (age 12-15) Super Bowl of the 59th Annual Pop Warner Championships at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista.

Tamiami (15-0) edged the Ward 5 Warriors (DC) 22-20 to win the championship. Last year, the Ward 5 Warriors beat the Colts in a close first-round game 20-19.

The Colts dedicated the championship season to DT Devin Chartrand (#75) who lost his life on Jan. 29 when he was hit by a vehicle while riding his skateboard. He played five seasons with Tamiami.

The champs also feature Andre Stringfield, Larry Gatlin, Johnathan Ford, Dana Edwards, Junius Phillips, Jaloni Clarke, Coby Vigo, Ahmad Harrell, Dawayne Mason, Fredy Espinosa, Tavoris Miller, Cristian Roldan, Nicholas Graham, Dominic Padron, Anthony Arellano, Christian Zaldivar, Sebastian Silva, Enrique Bovo, Christopher Guevara, Bradley Charon, Jonathan Henriquez, Myles Hammond, Joel Diaz, Rodolfo Moreno, Andrew Estopinan, Jose Villalon, Ian Castellanos, Nicholas Serrano.

About Pop Warner

As the nation’s oldest youth football, cheer and dance organization, Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. has a long history of promoting safe and structured athletics and instilling the qualities of sportsmanship, hard work and leadership in its young athletes.

It is the only national youth sports organization that requires academic proficiency as a prerequisite to participation.

Mo Steel flag football

The Mo Steel Vets 14U flag football team, based at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami Beach, won the NFL Flag Regional Championship in Houston.

By winning the tournament, they qualified for the NFL Flag National Championship in San Francisco during Super Bowl week. The stellar team features Jesse Scharfer, David Egozi, Robert Moret, Manny Arias, Will Poses, Kevin Foo, Noah Hickey, Max Blair, Mateo Marcato, and Head Coach David Fried.

In its 16th year, Mo Steel has won the NFL National Championship eight times. If interested in learning how to join this incredible program, email Coach Yossi at

josephb@marjcc.org.

Miami Country Day football

The Miami Country Day School varsity football team went 5-5. The Spartans had some exciting games that came down to the final minutes.

During the first game against Ransom Everglades, Griffin Sennett kicked two field goals, and C-Jay Charles broke an 80-yard touchdown run to give MCD a 15-10 lead. Ransom had one final chance on the last drive, but the Spartans’ defense made a stop to secure the victory.

In the second game against Ransom, the Spartans found themselves down 20-0 at halftime. Sophomore Matthew Kaye rallied the offense and scored a touchdown with under one minute to go to cut the lead to 20-19. Instead of kicking the extra point, MCD made a bold call and went for the 2-point conversion and got it, edging Ransom 21-20.

The Spartans added victories against Marathon, Curley and Highlands Christian defeating them by a combined 66-7. Senior C-Jay Charles earned First Team All-Conference, and Everett Levy received Academic All-Conference. MCD was led by C-Jay Charles, Sam Cohen, Owen Wesley, Matt Barron, Christopher Haefner, Cole Boucher and Matthew Kaye.

Miami Dolphins/Baptist Hospital

Miami Dolphins K Andrew Franks, S Shamiel Gary and G Vinston Painter, cheerleaders Stephanie and Courtney and mascot T.D. visited patients at Baptist Children’s Hospital in Miami.

“Baptist Children’s Hospital is thrilled to add some holiday cheer to our youngest patients’ day,” Baptist Hospital CEO Bo Boulenger said in a release. “The Miami Dolphins visit to our pediatric patients and their families makes everyone feel a little better about having to be in the hospital during the holiday season. This is a special treat for our families.”

The group distributed gifts of teddy bears, coloring books, bibs, pennants and T-shirts, took photos with patients and signed autographs.

“[It] was a great experience. We really got to lift the spirits of the kids we visited. I think we were able to give some of the kids we visited hope,” Franks said. “Our platform in sports is meant for experiences like this. It’s to give back and help out people who are having a hard time. [It] is a great opportunity for us to give back to the community.”

Boys & Girls Club

Miami’s own Alex Rodriguez and A-Rod Corp. have made the holidays even brighter for 250 children of Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade.

The New York Yankees third baseman presented age-appropriate toys, provided by A-Rod Corp., to teens at Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s Teen Center at its Hank Kline Club.

Also at a Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade holiday party, more toys were provided by A-Rod Corp. to children, age 5-12, who are also members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. During the event, the children enjoyed food and different stations including bounce houses, face painting, making Christmas cards, visiting with Santa and more.

Underwriting for both fun-filled holiday events was provided by A-Rod Corp. and its family of companies, Newport Property Construction and Monument Capital Management

As a child, A-Rod attended the Hank Kline Club, where he participated in its baseball program. He flourished at the Club, staying a member until the day he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners.

“We are very thankful for the generosity of A-Rod, and A-Rod Corp and its family of companies, for donating toys to our members and hosting these holiday events,” Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade President Alex Rodriguez-Roig said in a release. “The children will cherish not only the toys, but also the memories of meeting A-Rod and enjoying the holiday parties, for years to come.”

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade

Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade has been serving youth in the community since 1940. What once was a single building and site for boys has grown to five Clubs serving thousands of boys and girls year round, providing programs in the areas of character and leadership development, educational enhancement, career preparation, health and life skills, cultural arts and sports, fitness and recreation.

Club staffing, initiatives, and programs are designed to inspire and enable young people and provide them with the resources to succeed and share in the American Dream.

For information, visit

www.bgcmia.org.

Nautilus swimming

For the second consecutive year, the Nautilus Middle School girls’ swim team won the Miami-Dade County Middle School District Championship at the Miami Dade College Aquatic Center.

The Sharks were led by strong individual performances from Kassandra Vega, Nina Pederzoli, Lily McLeod, Laura Illodi-Davalo, Jacqueline Lesentier and Kaya Martin. The relay teams of Stephanie Deybach, Chloe Gonzalez, Juliet Pizano, Camila Gomez and Oriana Reta also had outstanding performances.

The defending champion Nautilus boys had a strong showing, placing third of 10 schools. The Sharks were led by Antonio Alves-De-Souza, Luca Lesentier, Liam Halloran, Nicolas Bruna and Sebastian Duque.

Miami Country Day sports

Miami Country Day School: Middle School Female Athlete of the Week: Mia Batista (soccer) combined for four goals and two assists in games against Gulliver and Westminster Christian.

Middle School Male Athlete of the Week: Alejandro Roye (soccer) helped the Spartans win the Nicholas Potts Memorial Invitational by scoring a goal and adding five assists.

Upper School Female Athlete of the Week: Kelsey Marshall (basketball) combined for 46 points, 15 rebounds, 10 steals, and 11 assists in the Tina Thompson Classic in Washington, D.C.

Upper School Male Athlete of the Week: Agustin Popiloff (soccer) scored a goal and added four assists in the Spartans’ win against Doctors Charter.

Baseball

Coastal Carolina University junior shortstop Michael Paez of Miami was named to the 2016 Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-American first team as selected by Collegiate Baseball.

Paez, a graduate of Sunset Senior High School, batted .326 last season. He was selected first team All-Big South and second team All-Atlantic Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association as well as being one of 25 semifinalists for the Brooks Wallace Award for the nation’s top shortstop.

Among the NCAA leaders last season, Paez ranked 11th in sacrifice bunts (16), 43rd in runs scored (58), 69th in hit by pitches (14), 81st in stolen bases (19), 125th in doubles (17), 157th in on base percentage (.436), 189th in total bases (113), 194th in home runs (8) and 212th in slugging percentage (.526). Overall in the Big South statistics, he was the only player to rank among the league’s top 10 in runs scored (2nd, 58); stolen bases (4th, 19), doubles (7th, 17); on base percentage (6th, .436), slugging percentage (7th, .526) and total bases (8th, 113). He additionally ranked 11th in RBI (42), 12th in walks (29) and 20th in batting average (.326).

Paez reached base safely (by hit, walk, hit by pitch) in each of his last 13 games of the 2015 season and, overall last season, reached base safely in 54 of 59 games played with streaks of 14 games and 23 games.

In addition to his offensive prowess, Paez ranked second in the Big South with 177 assists, and he was part of 41 double plays as Coastal Carolina finished the season second nationally by turning 66 double plays.

Paez carried his strong play into the summer and was named to the 2015 Cape Cod Year-end All-League Team as well as being a mid-season All-Star. He was additionally named the Cotuit Kettleers’ Offensive MVP as he batted a team-best .295 – 14th-best in the league and led his team in runs scored (17), hits (38), doubles (7), walks (21) and stolen bases (8). His 17 runs scored tied for 20th-best in the league, his seven doubles tied for 13th, his 21 walks ranked seventh and his eight stolen bases tied for 16th.

Paez is the first Chanticleer to be selected a preseason first team All-American since Anthony Meo prior to the 2011 season. Coastal Carolina is an NCAA Division I affiliate in Conway, S.C.

www.GoCCUSports.com

Miami Midnites basketball

The Miami Midnites (6-1) crushed the Georgia Wolves 157-87 at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie.

Seven Midnites scored in double figures, led by former Florida Memorial University guard George Gray (23 points and nine assists). Keion Palmer, a former Jacksonville University center, tallied 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and former Barry University and FIU guard Deric Hill recorded a triple-double with 12 points, 10 assists and 10 steals.

Miami made 20 three-pointers and shot 52.4 percent (53-of-101) from the field.

More Miami Midnites

The Miami Midnites (7-1) set a new franchise mark in points scored in a game, tallying 210 points in a 210-101 rout over the Columbus Blackhawks at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center.

The Midnites scored 136 points in the second half of the American Basketball Association contest, falling just 13 points shy of breaking the league record of points scored by a team (222) set by the Jacksonville Giants on Feb. 7, 2014.

Midnites’ power forward Antonio Hester scored a team-high 41 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and guard George Gray had 40 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Former University of Kentucky forward Darnell Dodson added 25 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Ten Midnites players scored in double figures.

Miami actually trailed the Blackhawks 10-9 early in the first quarter, but a 15-0 run left Columbus reeling as the Midnites ensued with an incredible offensive display. The Midnites shot 66.1 percent (80-of-121), including 23-of 43 (53.4 percent) from 3-point range.

About Miami Midnites

The Miami Midnites, established in 2014, are the official Minor League affiliate of the 2012-13 Israeli Super League champions Maccabi Haifa basketball team.

In their inaugural season, the Miami Midnites won the 2014 Florida Basketball Association championship and followed up with back-to-back FBA titles after winning the 2015 FBA title. The Midnites joined the American Basketball Association for the 2014-15 season and finished runner-up of 90-plus teams across the country. The Midnites compete year-round, playing their home games at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie.

For information on the Miami Midnites, visit the team’s official website at

www.miamimidnites.com.

US Youth Soccer

US Youth Soccer announced the regional winners of the 2015 US Youth Soccer Administrator of the Year award. The Administrator of the Year award honors the extraordinary accomplishments in administration over a lifetime.

There are four region winners.

Region III – Lou Confessore – Miami

Now entering his 50th year of involvement in soccer, Lou Confessore has served as the president of Florida Youth Soccer Association, as well as a founding board member of FYSA and local leagues and clubs. He is currently an administrator with the Coral Estates Soccer Club, which features 70 teams and more than 1,100 players.

Confessore’s long-standing leadership has helped shaped the sport of soccer in Florida, and he continues to contribute.

The national Administrator of the Year will be announced at the US Youth Soccer Awards Gala on Jan. 15 as part of the US Youth Soccer Workshop in Baltimore in conjunction with the NSCAA Convention.

For information visit

USYouthSoccer.org/Workshop/NSCAA.

Soccer event

The Fundación El Larguero and the Fundación de Fútbol Profesional present the 20th anniversary of the Under-12 LaLiga Promises International Soccer Tournament with an exclusive U.S. stop in Miami as part of the LFP World Challenge program.

The three-day program presents the best youth players from professional LaLiga’s clubs and other international clubs. Real Madrid symbol and La Liga’s Global Ambassador, Raul Gonzalez Blanco, will be on-site hosting soccer clinics and will play in the All Star Game at Ransom Everglades School, 3575 Main Hwy, Miami, 33133.

Schedule: Sunday, Dec. 27: 10:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.-- Group Stage. 10:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.-- Entertainment including face painting, Kiss-cam, dance-cam and more.

Monday, Dec. 28: 9:30 a.m.-Noon -- Group Stage. Noon-2 p.m. -- Quarterfinals. 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. -- Entertainment including face painting, Kiss-cam, dance-cam and DJ.

Tuesday, Dec. 29: 10 a.m.-11:20 a.m. – Semifinal Competition. 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. -- All-Star: Niños España vs Niños Equipos Mundo. 12:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. – Final Competition. 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. -- Entertainment including face painting, Kiss-cam, dance-cam and DJ.

The event, part of the LFP World Challenge, brings together 17 teams within the sub category 12. Seven teams are from Spain (Real Madrid CF, Club Atlético de Madrid, Sevilla FC, RC Celta de Vigo, FC Barcelona, Villarreal CF y Valencia CF); three European (Borussia Dortmund, Juventus FC y Crystal Palace FC); and the remaining from outside Europe (Aspire Academy (QAT), Sagan Tosu (JAP), Chicago Fire SC (USA), CF América (MEX), Club Estudiantes (ARG), Orlando City SC (USA) and Weston FC (USA).

LFP World Challenge is an initiative created in 2014 by LaLiga with the support of the Spanish Government, the Sports Council and the ICEX Spain Trade and Investment.

More events, leagues, programs

Miami-Dade County Fair sports

The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair and Exposition has released the schedule for its 2016 winter-spring middle school sports invitational meets.

The middle school wrestling, bowling, track, golf and tennis invitational meets will occur at various locations throughout Miami-Dade County in January and April.

Students competing in the tournaments must be officially enrolled in the school they are representing. If a school is not represented at a Youth Fair sports activity, parents may enter their children with written approval from the school principal.

Wrestling - Coral Reef Senior High School

Saturday, Jan. 23 at 9:30 a.m.

Bowling - Bird Bowl

Friday, Jan. 29 at 10:30 a.m.

Track - John A. Ferguson Senior High School

Saturday, Jan. 30 at 9 a.m.

Golf - Briar Bay Golf Course

Wednesday, April 6 at 10 a.m.

Tennis - Tropical Tennis Center

Saturday, April 9 at 8:30 a.m.

Visit fairexpo.com

http://www.thefair.me/thefair/index.php

or call 305-223-7060.

Miami-Dade Fair sports

The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair and Exposition has released the schedule for its 2016 winter-spring middle school sports invitational meets.

The middle school wrestling, bowling and track invitational meets are scheduled for January, while the golf and tennis tournaments are slated for April. All events will take place at various locations throughout Miami-Dade County.

The wrestling invitational will take place at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 23 at Coral Reef Senior High School. The daylong tournament will conclude with an awards presentation at 4 p.m. Entries are limited to one wrestler from each school in each of the 13 weight classes.

Bowling teams of at least five players each will participate in the 2016 invitational at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 29 at Bird Bowl, 9275 SW 40 St., in Miami. Entries are limited to one boys’ team and one girls’ team from each school.

John A. Ferguson Senior High School will play host to the 2016 Middle School Track Invitational beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 30. Participation is limited to the first 20 boys’ team and 20 girls’ team entries. Teams are limited to three entries for each event; relays are limited to one team for each school. Individuals may participate in a maximum of four events.

The Middle School Golf Invitational is 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 6,at the Briar Bay Golf Course, 9373 SW 134th St., in Miami. The nine-hole tournament will accept a four-player team or a maximum of four individuals.

Matches for the 2016 tennis invitational begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, April 9 at the Tropical Tennis Center, 7900 SW 40 St., in Miami. Team entries must include one boys’ team and one girls’ team for singles competition, one co-ed doubles team, one girls’ doubles team and one boys’ doubles team. Individual competitors are permitted to enter in one event only.

Students competing in the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair and Exposition sports program must be officially enrolled in the school they are representing. If a school is not represented at a Youth Fair sports activity, parents may enter their children with written approval from the school principal.

Participants must complete a school certified field trip form and be accompanied by a school coach or a school approved chaperone. All Miami-Dade County Youth Fair activities within the department of athletics will be held in accordance with the official rules of the National Federation of State High School Association, Florida High School Activities Association and G.M.A.C. All events are open to students in grades 6-8. Middle school students who participate on high school teams are not allowed to participate in these events.

The Youth Fair and the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department work together to promote a year-round athletic program. Annually, there are more than 6,000 public and private school students who participate in the various sporting events: swimming and diving, cross country, tennis, track, golf, bowling, wrestling and badminton. The events are open to middle and high school students.

The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition (The Youth Fair) is the largest charity event in South Florida. The not-for-profit association is dedicated to promoting education and agriculture while showcasing and rewarding youth achievement and providing quality family entertainment, all without taxpayer dollars.

The annual Youth Fair exhibits more than 53,000 student projects to more than 650,000 Youth Fair guests and awards more than $300,000 annually in college scholarships, cash premiums and awards to students. To date, The Youth Fair has presented well above $10 million to the Miami-Dade community. It was recognized in 2015 as the Leisure & Entertainment Services Firm of the Year by the Latin Builder's Association, the Non-Profit Organization of the Year by the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and was the Diamond Award Winner for Outstanding Hospitality Entity by the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce.

The Fair Exposition Center, which is the second largest convention center in Miami-Dade County, hosts an additional 70 community events each year.

Visit fairexpo.com

http://www.thefair.me/thefair/index.php

or call 305-223-7060.

SSAC sports

The Sunshine State Athletic Conference, a multiple sport athletic organization made up of 35 private and charter schools created in 2008, announced that two additional sporting opportunities are being introduced for the 2016-17 school year.

SSAC currently offers four sports, including football and basketball at the middle and high school levels, but in keeping with its pledge to student-athletes and their families, the conference will grow to offer a second football classification and the formation of girls’ beach volleyball.

The second football classification of a Developmental Football League, debuting next fall, will provide member schools that are starting, growing or rebuilding programs with a competitive, but level, playing field in which to compete. This will not replace nor negate the highly successful championship Florida Bowl Series but will instead compliment all football programs and schools in the SSAC. The only criteria for schools to participate in the new Developmental Football League is for teams to have less than 23 players, and the championship Florida Bowl Series will be open to them, if they desire to participate.

The second addition to SSAC athletics is an exciting opportunity that perfectly captures the spirit of Florida’s athletic environment. Starting in spring of 2017, the SSAC will debut girls’ beach volleyball. This up-and-coming sport is quickly spreading around the nation and will undoubtedly be a natural fit for Florida student-athletes. This addition will help build exposure and opportunity for female student-athletes and will add value to SSAC’s independent athletic conference.

“Including girls’ beach volleyball was a decision that just made sense; it only requires a few players and we are blessed with an abundance of sun and sand,” said Stuart Weiss, president of Sunshine State Athletics Conference. “We believe that by adding these two new opportunities for Florida high schools, we are continuing to provide more choice and control to our partner schools addressing the need for a level playing field in high school athletics.”

Visit the SSAC website at

www.sunshinestateathletics.com.

NCSAA academics honors

The NSCAA annually recognizes high school soccer programs that have excelled in the classroom, in addition to their work on the field.

Three hundred and eight nine soccer teams (243 girls, 146 boys) from throughout the United States have earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom as a team during the 2014-15 academic year.

To qualify for the award, the team must have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 for the entire academic year. The team GPA is determined by adding every player's GPA, then dividing by the number of players.

For information about the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, visit

NSCAA.com.

FIU baseball

The FIU baseball program announced that former Major League pitcher and current Detroit Tigers color commentator Jack Morris will serve as the featured speaker at the annual Diamond Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Graham Center Ballroom.

Morris -- who played for the Tigers, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians -- was a five-time all-star and four-time World Series Champion during his 18-year career.

Tickets to the Diamond Dinner cost $120 for an individual and $1,200 for a table of 10.

For information on the Diamond Dinner, contact Carla Garcia by email at garciacm@fiu.edu or phone at 305-348-7297.

Fans can follow the Panthers on Twitter (@FIUBaseball) and become a fan on Facebook (Facebook.com/FIUBaseball) for all the latest FIU Baseball news. Follow all of FIU's 18 athletic teams on Twitter (@FIUAthletics), Facebook (Facebook.com/FIUSports), YouTube (FIUPanthers), and Instagram (FIUathletics).

Marlins golf

Join new Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly and 2003 World Series Champion Jack McKeon at the third annual Jack McKeon Celebrity Golf Classic on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne.

Enjoy a day on the links with your favorite Marlins players, coaches and alumni. Guests will participate in a variety of hole contests, a silent auction, enjoy various food and cocktail stations, and win great prizes throughout the day.

Learn more at:

MarlinsGolf

Proceeds from the third annual Jack McKeon Celebrity Golf Classic will benefit the Marlins Foundation.

Pitch, Hit & Run

Scotts Major League Baseball Pitch Hit & Run is a free, exciting skills event providing boys and girls the opportunity to compete in four levels of competition including Team Championship events at all 30 Major League ballparks and the National Finals at the MLB All-Star Game.

To host a local competition for your community and be involved in the official skills competition of Major League Baseball, go to

https://secure.mlb.com/mlb/kids/mlb_pitch_hit_run_form.jsp

North Miami Beach baseball

North Miami Beach Little League is a sound organization run by volunteers to help keep children off the streets and on the fields.

Registration is open for boys and girls, age 4-14. Scholarships are available.

For information go to www.NMBLL.org.

Miami soccer park

Thanks to the efforts of the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department a newly completed soccer complex is at Amelia Earhart Park, 401 E. 65 St. in Hialeah.

The state-of-the-art public soccer facility creates a venue for youth and adult soccer tournaments, with premium amenities that are guaranteed to enhance the experience for soccer players and spectators. It includes 225- by 360-foot regulation soccer fields with irrigation; connecting walkways; shaded-bleacher seating for 300 patrons; a 2,465-square-foot field center building with a concession area and restrooms; a 1,346- square-foot plaza; a 20- by 20-foot picnic shelter; two 20- by 20-foot soil mixing areas; and a two-rail perimeter wood fence.

The project cost was approximately $4 million and funding was provided by the “Building Better Communities” General Obligation Bond and Quality Neighborhood Improvement Program.

“My thanks to the Parks Department for their great work in making this new soccer complex at Amelia Earhart Park a reality. Investments in our parks and open spaces is helping to keep Miami-Dade strong and makes it a great place to live and play,“ said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos. A. Gimenez.

Miami-Dade County District 13 Commissioner Esteban L. Bovo Jr. said: “I am thrilled to see this project completed. This soccer complex is a huge deal for Amelia Earhart Park and the large numbers of soccer enthusiasts in this community. Sports like soccer encourage people to be active outdoors and promote healthy living for life.”

Miami-Dade County Parks Director Jack Kardys said: “This premier soccer complex ups the gold-standard for public soccer facilities, accommodating everything from recreational pick-up games with friends to competitive club soccer activities and tournaments. It is going to keep this park competitive to the needs of youth and adult soccer players and fans for many years to come.”

The new complex comes on the heels of a renovation of two new lighted Soccer 5 soccer fields designed and funded by Soccer 5 Miami, the facility’s operator. Each field is 135- by 90-feet, comprised of 4G synthetic turf and can accommodate 6-v-6 through 8-v-8 matches. Over time, Miami-Dade Parks in partnership with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and Soccer5 plan to build up to six new fields.

Miami Soccer5 also operates Miami-Dade Parks’ soccer facilities at Kendall Soccer Park and Tropical Park.

For information about Miami Soccer5 leagues and clubs, visit the web page or call 305-873-8765, email info@soccer5usa.com.

For directions and information about recreational activities at this park, visit the Amelia Earhart Park web page or call 305-685-8389.

Miami-Dade Parks is a world-class parks system supported by the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and focused on Placemaking, Health and Fitness, and Conservation and Stewardship.

Gifts in Golf

PGA Certified Pro Philip Argianas and program director of GIG-Gifts In Golf, is proud to bring his expertise to special people with special needs to Coral Gables.

GIG programing -- like Golfing with Autism and Kids Swing Into Golf -- enrich the quality of life for families in the community.

Coach Phil said in a release: “Our fun programing impacts kids by teaching them life skills while providing physical and mental training through learning the game of golf.”

For information about registration including schedules and release forms, go to GIG’s website

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

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

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

Panthers hockey clinics

The Florida Panthers announced as part of promoting youth hockey in South Florida, they are holding “Try Hockey for Free” clinics in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties beginning January.

Try Hockey for Free clinics are at the Florida Panthers IceDen (Broward County), Palm Beach Skate Zone and Palm Beach Ice Works (Palm Beach County) and Kendall Ice Arena (Miami-Dade County). Boys and girls, age 4-9, are encouraged to learn the game of hockey for the first time free of charge. All equipment including skates will be provided.

To register for one of the clinics or for information, visit

FloridaPanthers.com/TryHockey.

The schedule includes:

Kendall Ice Arena, 10355 Hammocks Blvd., Miami, 33196.

March 6: Noon-2 p.m. March 13: Noon-1 p.m. March 20: Noon-1 p.m. March 26: 1-2 p.m. April 10: Noon-1 p.m.

Tennis

USTA Florida is bringing tennis to Miami parks through a partnership with the City of Miami as part of the USTA Florida Section’s Diversity Outreach initiative in 2015. The initiative is designed to bring programming to diverse populations and provide the opportunity to learn and play the sport of tennis for a lifetime.

As part of the partnership, the USTA Florida Foundation has provided an equipment grant to the city for $5,606 to be distributed among 16 parks. The equipment will allow children to learn the sport of tennis with right-sized equipment for their age and ability, including smaller racquets, reduced-bounce balls, mini nets, and Tennis Skillastics games.

“Tennis is a great way for folks of all ages to stay fit, socialize and have fun,” Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Miami Kevin Kirwin said in a release. “The Parks and Recreation Department with the help of a generous grant from the USTA Florida Foundation has embraced tennis as a lifetime sport that will be incorporated into their summer and after-school program curriculum.”

USTA Florida Diversity Outreach efforts are specifically targeting Henderson and Armbrister parks in Miami for 2015 — facilities do not currently offer tennis, but will be introducing tennis basics this summer as part of their program activities, including an after-school program to be launched in September. Along with these two parks, 14 other City of Miami parks will also include an after-school program that will serve more than 500 children. City of Miami staff attended Kids Tennis Clubs training offered by USTA Florida earlier this year to learn the skills and tools necessary.

“I am excited about this new partnership and the City of Miami dedication to bring this lifetime sport to the community,” said Cathy Nordlund, USTA Florida tennis program coordinator. “Most tennis is played on public park courts, and this is giving so many children a chance to be introduced to this amazing sport.”

Armbrister and Henderson parks are part of the target markets USTA Florida is working with to grow tennis participation among diverse populations in Central and South Florida. As part these efforts, USTA Florida will be hosting events throughout the year, including free festivals, USTA Play Days, round robins, and USTA Florida will also offer scholarships for tennis providers to attend PTR Ace workshops and obtain teaching certifications.

A full list of events is posted at

www.ustaflorida.com/events.

For information about programs and places to play, visit

www.ustaflorida.com.

Tennis

Florida continues a new era of tennis development for tournament players, age 10 and younger, with the introduction of the USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway, a graduated development path with established benchmarks at each level to guide parents and coaches through junior tennis.

From beginning “red ball” play on 36-foot courts, youth progress through “orange ball” and “green ball” at various tournament levels before graduating to full-court “yellow ball” tennis. Each level contains appropriate kids-sized racquets, balls and court sizes, along with participation or achievement benchmarks to progress between age groups or tournament levels.

The Pathway contains a “Grandfather Clause” for players that turn age 11 during 2015 who currently have the skill set to play full-court yellow ball tournaments.

The USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway roll-out is in partnership with the USPTA-Florida Division (United States Professional Teaching Association) and PTR (Professional Tennis Registry), the two largest tennis teaching professional certifying organizations in the U.S.

The USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway was also developed with solicited input from coaches and parents throughout Florida.

The red, orange and green ball levels correspond on the USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway with tournaments beginning at Level 9 (beginner) up to the start of advanced tournaments at Level 6 and higher.

The USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Youth Tournament Pathway was recently implemented in Florida tournaments.

For information on the Pathway, go to www.USTAFlorida.com/10UPathway

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.

Miami Dolphins

USA Football, the sport’s national governing body in the United States, and the Miami Dolphins recently awarded football equipment and uniform grants to youth and high school football programs throughout South Florida based on merit and need.

USA Football partners with the Dolphins and all NFL clubs to annually distribute more than $2 million in equipment and uniform grants to youth and high school football programs across the United States. The grant program has supported youth organizations and high schools in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., since 2006. USA Football equipment and uniform grants are made possible through support from the NFL Foundation.

Grants are valued up to $1,500 for youth organizations and $2,500 for high school programs, offering new equipment, uniforms, equipment reconditioning and flag football equipment to provide young athletes greater access as well as the fun and fitness benefits of the sport. Grants are fulfilled by USA Football and its equipment and uniform partner Riddell.

USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the Dolphins, the NFL and each of the league’s other 31 teams.

“We are pleased to work with USA Football and our teams to donate much-needed equipment to youth football leagues and high school football programs nationwide,” said Alexia Gallagher, director of the NFL Foundation. “These equipment grants will help ensure that youngsters who share our love of the game are able to play it safely.”

“The health and safety of every young football player is our No. 1 priority,” USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. “Having proper equipment is an important step toward that goal. Even with fundraising and strict attention to budgets, many leagues and school districts need help to properly outfit their young athletes who love to play football and enjoy the fun and fitness that comes with it. We are proud to lead this important program with support from the NFL Foundation and Riddell.”

South Florida youth and high school programs awarded a 2015 USA Football Equipment Grant:

Abundant Living Citi Church, Boyd H. Anderson High School, Daytona Falcons, Kendall Boys & Girls Club, Liberty City Optimist Club, Miami Beach Senior High School, Miami Dade County Public Schools, Miami Police Athletic League, PAL of Hallandale Beach, Palm Beach County Youth Football League, Somerset Academy Canyons, Tamiami Colts, The Optimist Foundation of Greater Goulds Florida, West Boca Tackle Football, and West Palm Beach Police Athletic League.

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 advances 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 NFL Foundation: The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health and safety of athletes, youth football, and the communities which support our game. For more information on The NFL Foundation, visit:

www.NFLFoundation.org.

Team Moms

Olive Garden and the NFHS Network, the nation’s leading high school sports media company, are teaming up to recognize Team Moms and the high school athletes they support. This partnership includes the launch of GoTeamMoms.com, which will serve as a resource and destination to recognize Team Moms.

Team Moms volunteer to assist coaches and often lead team communications, fundraising, travel coordination and more. The website will feature Team Mom’s Best-Kept Secrets and game day highlights from high schools around the nation. In addition, coaches, athletes, family members and the community are invited to contribute shout-outs or photos of their favorite Team Mom using #GoTeamMoms on Twitter and Instagram to be featured on the website.

“The goal of the NFHS Network is to serve and support both the athletes and their fans,” said Christopher Young, senior vice president of sales for the NFHS Network. “There’s no bigger fan than a Team Mom and no better partner for the NFHS Network than Olive Garden, which resonates so deeply with our audience and shares our same commitment to families and the local community.”

To further assist Team Moms, each Olive Garden restaurant in the U.S. will be paired with a local high school to support through two national fundraising nights and Olive Garden VIP Passes that give teams access to exclusive discounts. With dining options that include ToGo and catering, Olive Garden is often the choice for feeding an entire team.

"Our restaurants are excited to support their hometown high schools and give back to their communities," said Jose Duenas, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden. “This partnership allows us to thank Team Moms nationwide as well as give families and teams chances to connect over meals and create memories during the busy sports season.”

Visit GoTeamMoms.com to view photos, videos and Team Mom tips and tricks. Visit NFHSNetwork.com for live streaming of high school events.

ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN

Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.8 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales.

Headquartered in Orlando, and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated more than 33 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country. For more information, visit www.olivegarden.com.

Connect with us on Facebook.com/OliveGarden, Twitter.com/OliveGarden and Instagram.com/OliveGarden.

ABOUT THE NFHS NETWORK

The NFHS Network (www.nfhsnetwork.com) captures the passion, pride, and energy of the high school experience by delivering live high school sports and events to family members and fans whenever they want, wherever they are.

The NFHS Network celebrates and showcases the unique accomplishments of high schools students, including the student-athletes participating in 27 different sporting events and the student broadcasters from schools around the country that produce events through the School Broadcast Program. The NFHS Network also broadcasts state playoff and championship events in 46 states.

The NFHS Network is a joint venture among the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), its member state associations and PlayOn! Sports. The NFHS is located in Indianapolis, Indiana and is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. PlayOn! Sports is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is the nation’s largest high school sports media company.

Follow the NFHS Network on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram at @NFHSnetwork for the latest news and event information.

Boys & Girls Club Football

Miami area kids, age 5-15, can “get ready for football season,” thanks to Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s tackle football and cheerleading programs. Registration for the fall 2015 season (August-December) will remain open until all teams are filled.

The sports programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade are designed to provide a safe and healthy environment so that children can learn team skills, increase self-esteem, build character, become positive role models, and increase motivation as well as specific skills related to the sport. With training provided by volunteer coaches, sport programs are available during the afternoon to the early hours of the night, and are offered Monday through Friday. This is the time of day when children, especially teens, are more likely to engage in harmful activities.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s Gwen Cherry, Northwest, and Kendall clubs are conducting registration for the tackle football and cheerleading season.

Register 2-7 p.m. Monday-Friday at either:

Gwen Cherry Club, 7090 NW 22 Ave., Miami, 33147

Northwest Club, 10915 NW 14 Ave., Miami, 33167

Kendall Club, 9475 N Kendall Dr., Miami, 33176

Cost: Gwen Cherry Club: $70 for football; $50 for cheerleading. Fee includes equipment and uniform.

Northwest Club: $90 for football; $60 for cheerleading. Fee includes equipment and uniform.

Kendall Club: $140 for football; $130 for cheerleading. Fee includes equipment and uniform.

Visit your nearest club to complete a membership application. With questions or to inquire about coaching, contact the Gwen Cherry Club at 304-694-4889 ext. 227, the Kendall Club at 305-279-3019, or the Northwest Club at 305-758-5753.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade

Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade has been serving youth in the community since 1940. What once was a single building and site for boys has grown to five Clubs serving thousands of boys and girls year round, providing programs in the areas of character and leadership development, educational enhancement, career preparation, health and life skills, cultural arts and sports, fitness and recreation. Club staffing, initiatives, and programs are designed to inspire and enable young people and provide them with the resources to succeed and share in the American Dream.

For information, visit

www.bgcmia.org.

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

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.

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 experienced and professional 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.

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.

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

Be honored at Miami Heat game

The Miami Herald and the three-time world champion Miami Heat in partnership with Gatorade are sponsoring the Academic/Sportsmanship Team Player spotlight in Sunday’s youth sports pages in the Miami-Dade Sunday Neighbors print section of the Miami Herald and online at http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/youth-sports/.

Youth league coaches, team reps, school coaches, administrators, teachers or family members can nominate any South Florida recreational, travel league, elementary school, middle school or junior varsity basketball player -- from fall, winter, spring or summer seasons -- who displays sportsmanship and good grades or shows improvement in the classroom.

Include school, grade level and grades or interim report. Each selected academic team player will receive a certificate of achievement, a Heat gift pack, two Heat tickets and will be recognized on the court. Plan accordingly as there are three designated ceremony dates during the regular season (Jan. 19, Feb. 22, March 25), and no make-up dates.

To nominate a Team Player, e-mail Miami Herald Youth Sports Editor Jim Varsallone at

jvarsallone@miamiherald.com or call 305-376-3621.

Winners will be selected by random drawing from nominees who meet the above requirements.

Be sure to include a contact telephone number and complete mailing address in your e-mail. For Heat ticket information, call 786-777-HEAT and log on to HEAT.com.

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