Youth Sports

Miami Heat honors student athletes

Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem congratulates Alejandro Vargas (Somerset Academy-Silver Palms), Jordan Fishman (Miami Country Day School), Tatiana Wainer (Scheck Hillel Community School), Jose Amat III (Westwood Christian School) and Alexander Toledo (Somerset Academy-South Miami) for being the Miami Heat/Miami Herald February Academic/Sportsmanship Team Players in conjunction with Gatorade. They were honored on the court before the Heat/Indiana Pacers game at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem congratulates Alejandro Vargas (Somerset Academy-Silver Palms), Jordan Fishman (Miami Country Day School), Tatiana Wainer (Scheck Hillel Community School), Jose Amat III (Westwood Christian School) and Alexander Toledo (Somerset Academy-South Miami) for being the Miami Heat/Miami Herald February Academic/Sportsmanship Team Players in conjunction with Gatorade. They were honored on the court before the Heat/Indiana Pacers game at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

Jose Amat III (Westwood Christian School), Jordan Fishman (Miami Country Day School), Alexander Toledo (Somerset Academy-South Miami), Alejandro Vargas (Somerset Academy-Silver Palms) and Tatiana Wainer (Scheck Hillel Community School) were honored on the court as the Miami Heat/Miami Herald February Academic/Sportsmanship Team Players in conjunction with Gatorade at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

Youth league coaches, team reps, school coaches, administrators, teachers and family members nominated South Florida recreational, travel league, elementary school, middle school or junior varsity basketball players who exhibit sportsmanship and display good grades or improvement in the classroom.

They were congratulated by Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem, former Miami Heat coach Ron Rothstein and Miami Heat center Amar’e Stoudemire during warm-ups before the Heat’s game against the Indiana Pacers.

Each honoree received two game tickets, a Heat T-shirt, an award certificate.

About the honorees

Jose Amat III, 12, is a sixth grader at Westwood Christian School. He plays basketball for his school and is a member of very good AAU travel basketball team, the South Florida Disciples. He is also an ‘A’ student.

Stephanie Klahorts, English teacher at Westwood Christian School, said: “Never one to do something half-way, Jose daily strives to be all that he can be by attacking every new opportunity with enthusiasm and determination.”

Janet Flores, math teacher at Westwood Christian School, said: “It is a delight and joy to teach Jose. He’s always willing to both help and serve others. I firmly believe he truly is becoming a Godly young man.”

Jordan Fishman, 12, is a seventh grader at Miami Country Day School.

Jordan led the Miami Country Day School middle school girls’ basketball team to a 20-0 record, a first in program history. She was named tournament MVP as the Spartans capped off the perfect season by winning the South Florida Middle School Conference Tournament. In the tournament, she combined for 26 points, 14 steals and eight assists.

Jordan was called up to the high school varsity team for the post-season and played a little in the FHSAA state tournament, which MCD won for the third consecutive season at the Lakeland Center.

Miami Country Day School head coach Ochiel Swaby said: “Jordan has a tremendous passion for the game of basketball. She has proven herself to be disciplined in the classroom as well. The determination I see in her will take her far in life.”

Alexander Toledo, 11, is a fifth grader at Somerset Academy in South Miami.

He plays basketball on the fifth and sixth grade team. Unselfish, he always thinks of passing, before taking a shoot, and he helped the team reach the semifinals. He also displays sportsmanship. Off the court, he maintains a 4.00 grade point average and is on the Honor Society for elementary schools.

Reyna Blanco, a Reading, Language Arts & Social Studies fifth grade teacher at Somerset Academy Elementary School (South Miami), said: “Alexander is a young man of intelligence, integrity and talent who displays tenacity in all he does. He is an exemplary student who is successful both on and off the court. His positive attitude and accomplishments in the classroom have helped him serve as a leader and role model for his teammates.”

Alejandro Vargas, 12, is a seventh grader at Somerset Academy (Silver Palms) in Homestead.

He is an amazing basketball player for the YMCA and the Town Miami basketball team. He is also an excellent student at Somerset Academy and an even better person. He is polite and considerate of others. Alejandro is one of the most caring and well behaved boys. He is a team player with excellent sportsmanship. He is the model of how every player should behave. In addition, he manages to maintain good grades.

Tatiana Wainer, 13, is a seventh grader at Scheck Hillel Community School in North Miami Beach. A very good student, she played for her school team as well as the Mo Steel girls’ travel basketball team based at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami Beach.

Scheck Hillel Athletic Director Cindy Lyon said: “I have had the honor of coaching Tatiana Wainer since fourth grade. In middle school, as a sixth grader, she played volleyball and basketball. In seventh grade, she surpassed the middle school level and played on the high school varsity basketball team. She also has been playing club volleyball and travel basketball. Tati is very talented and passionate. Her dedication to Scheck Hillel athletics is amazing. I am so proud of her many accomplishments.”

Barry basketball

The Barry University men’s basketball team won an opening round game in the NCAA Division II Tournament for the second straight year, beating Rollins 107-92 at Spragins Hall in Huntsville, Ala.

Barry All-American Yunio Barrueta (Hialeah Gardens HS) scored 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. He was 5 of 9 from 3-point range. Barrueta moved within nine points of the school’s career scoring record of 1,723 set by Ron Johnson from 1984-89.

The No.19/20-ranked Buccaneers are 24-6.

USA Football Heads Up

Miami Dolphins youth football program manager Troy Drayton and Christopher Columbus High School head football coach Chris Merritt traveled to Indianapolis for USA Football’s Heads Up Football Master Trainer Workshop.

USA Football, the sport’s national governing body, instructed Drayton, Merritt and 29 other football experts, spanning 12 states, as USA Football Master Trainers.

As USA Football Master Trainers, Drayton and Merritt will spend the off-season traveling the state and country teaching USA Football’s Heads Up Football program to high school and youth coaches, who then teach the program to their school’s or league’s coaches, players and parents.

Drayton is a former Miami Dolphins tight end.

Created and administered by USA Football, Heads Up Football is the sport’s most comprehensive player safety program encompassing an array of medically endorsed coach education resources.


Miami Country Day sports

Miami Country Day School: Middle School Male Athlete of the Week: Dylan Turk (lacrosse) scored four goals and added an assist in wins against Ransom Everglades and Palmetto.

Middle School Female Athlete of the Week: Yakira Wardlaw (tennis) won her singles match against Doral Academy and her singles and doubles matches against Gulliver Prep.

Upper School Male Athlete of the Week: Kian Andersen (baseball) went a combined 3 for 6 with five RBI and two home runs in wins against Marathon High School and Hialeah Educational Academy.

Upper School Female Athlete of the Week: Maddie Hertz (water polo) led the Spartans with four goals in their 14-3 district win against Miami High.

Archbishop Curley sports

Coach Greg Magner, athletic director at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep, announces the school’s Athletes of the Week.

Female Athlete of the Week: Senior softball pitcher Olya Seichrist had 25 strikeouts in her first four games and pitched a no-hitter against David Posnack School.

Male Athlete of the Week: Junior baseball pitcher David Diaz tossed a complete game 4-hitter, striking out 13, in a 6-2 victory over Sheridan Hills.

South Dade soccer

Tatiana Mancera and Alyssa Storey scored the key goals as the South Dade United U16 girls’ travel soccer team edged Palm Beach Premier 2-1 in the finals to win the Miramar Soccer Cup & Showcase Championship at Forzano Park in Miramar.

The champs also feature Allison Gonzalez, Asuntye Valdes, Hunter Matson, Giadha Colome, Paige Nuñez, Alexandra Moncada, Maria A. Holguin, Adrianna Hernandez, Sophia Samardjich, Jillian Falcon, Kiana Hoskins, Allison Solis, Jessica Cruz, Sophia Bainger, and Catherine Garcia. The coach is Deano Nuñez.

FIU softball

A sacrifice fly from senior Dominique Grossman (Gulliver Prep) in the seventh inning lifted the FIU Panthers past the South Alabama Jaguars 3-2 on the final day of the Aquafina UF Invitational at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in Gainesville.

Trailing 2-0, the Panthers scored twice in the third inning. FIU (13-8) cut the deficit in half and then with two outs, junior Ashley Leon (Gulliver Prep HS) tied the game on an RBI single, scoring sophomore Jessica Hallett.

In the opening game of Conference USA play, FIU edged Charlotte 2-1 at Felsberg Field at the FIU Softball Stadium. Trailing 1-0 in the sixth, the Panthers scored twice with pinch hitter Kaitlyne Musa (Westminster Christian School) providing a key bunt to put both runners into scoring position.

Miami Open Kids Day

World No.1s Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic along with virtually all the top stars in the tennis galaxy will descend on the 2016 Miami Open on March 21-April 3. On Day 2 of the event, parents and kids will take over the Grandstand Court in celebration of Miami Open Kids Day.

The tournament gates will open at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 22, and Kids Day activities on the Grandstand and an Interactive Court will begin at 9:30 a.m. The Grandstand event will run from 9:30-11:30 a.m., and the Interactive Court will be open throughout the day until 5 p.m. Tickets also grant access to all the action of the Day Session matches.

“All youth will receive a ‘passport’ which will schedule their time on the Grandstand court to complete each station and get their passport stamped,” said USTA Florida Director of Marketing, Membership & Communications Laura Bowen. “Once all stations have been completed, they will leave the court, and can watch from the Grandstand seats or proceed to the USTA Florida Interactive Courts. We’re looking forward to having whole families playing together again on the Interactive Courts.”

The first 500 youth participants finishing can redeem their completed passports at the USTA Florida booth for a T-shirt and other gifts. Parents can also stop at the USTA Florida booth, adjacent to the Interactive Court outside the Grandstand, for tennis programming and play information in their areas.

Special guests will include famed coach Nick Bollettieri, ATP and WTA players, and an event D.J.

To get tickets or for more info go to

5K Walk/Run

The PFC Bruce W. Carter Young Marines of Miami Dade is hosting its first 5k Walk/Run in honor of the Medal of Honor recipient who sacrificed his life fighting in Vietnam. The event is May 7 at the Village of Virginia Gardens Pavilion, 6500 NW 38 Ter.

Raised in Virginia Gardens, PFC Carter was a native Floridian, who diligently served his country.

Previously known as the Young Marines of Miami-Dade County, the unit was proud to have adopted the name PFC Bruce W. Carter Young Marines of Miami Dade because the legacy of this fine young man has inspired many boys and girls to pursue a life of dignity, respect and leadership. Though he left us too soon, PFC Carter’s life has stood as a testament to his courage and fortitude.

Community service is an integral part of the PFC Bruce W. Carter Young Marines ofMiami Dade unit’s day-in and day-out activities. As a 501 (3) c, non-profit organization, making this 5k Walk/Run possible is yet another testament of how these kids work conscientiously to remind others how important it is to give back to their community, while choosing a life of service and loyalty.

As a fundraiser, the 5k Walk/Run will help support the PFC Bruce C. Carter Young Marines of Miami Dade’s mission and also provide scholarships and leadership school opportunities for the unit.

The PFC Bruce C. Carter Young Marines of Miami Dade 5k Walk/Run will run on the very street named after PFC Carter, which is a great way to involve the Virginia Gardens community in something positive.

Sponsorship opportunities are available by calling Lisbeth Colon at 305-607-3030. Volunteers can contact Zenith Gordillo at 305-606-4011. For information about the program visit or log on directly to the Facebook Page

More events, leagues, programs

UM Sports Hall of Fame

The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame holds its 48th Annual UMSHoF Induction Banquet on Thursday, March 31 at Jungle Island in Miami.

Headlining the class are 2001 football National Champions Willis McGahee and Joaquin Gonzalez; , Miami's first African-American basketball player Will Allen and World Series Champion Jon Jay. The stellar class also includes women’s tennis great Megan Bradley, football’s John Mackey Award winner Kellen Winslow, Jr., women’s basketball’s all-time leading scorer Tamara James and two-time National Champion swimming coach Charlie Hodgson.

“The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to induct its 2016 class that once again represents some of the finest athletes and coaches to wear the Orange, Green and White,” said UMSHoF President Gerard Loisel. “We are proud to recognize their accomplishments as we welcome them into the UM Sports Hall of Fame.”

UM Athletic Director Blake James said: “The UM Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2016 is representative of the excellence displayed by the thousands of Hurricane coaches and athletes over the years. The individuals to be honored achieved remarkable success during their time in Coral Gables and, for many, on fields and courts well beyond South Florida. On behalf of the Hurricane Family, I want to congratulate all of the inductees and to thank them for their contributions to The U.”

Tickets for the 48th Annual UMSHoF Induction Banquet are $100 each, or a table of 10 for $1,000 In addition, a Super Table of 10 can be purchased for $1,500, which includes preferred seating and a 1 /4 page advertisement in the banquet program. For information contact the UMSHoF at 305-284-2775 or go to

The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization founded in 1966 by eight Dade County Circuit Court judges, Miami alumni, who wanted to establish an organization that would recognize those student-athletes, coaches and administrators who excelled at their sport and brought acclaim to the University through their achievements and championships. With the addition of the Class of 2016, only 300 honorees will have been inducted into the Hall.


The Florida High School Athletic Association in partnership with USTA Florida has increased high school “No-Cut” tennis teams from 22 at the end of 2015 to 164 registered schools thus far in 2016.

“The No-Cut program gave kids who wouldn’t normally make the team an opportunity to participate,” said Will Adams, the contract administration specialist for the FHSAA. “I received several calls from coaches thanking us for sending out the information so they could take advantage of the program. It gave teams the opportunity to receive a free case of balls, which is a huge benefit as tennis programs don’t always receive a lot of funding.”

USTA Florida offered an incentive where the first 100 schools to register received two cases of balls (or four cases if the school had both boys’ and girls’ teams). The next 50 schools to register each received one case of balls. A total $15,000 investment was made by USTA Florida for approximately 200 cases of balls to Florida high schools.

Thad Hawkes, the entry-level tournament coordinator for USTA Florida and a high school coach, coordinated the effort. As a No-Cut coach himself, he has seen the difference the program has made in keeping kids in tennis.

“The hardest thing for a coach is to tell someone that they didn’t make the team,” he said. “The other consequence is that the student may very well drop tennis and pick up another sport. Being a supporter of No-Cut means that I keep anyone who comes out. They practice with us, travel when they can, and many times get to play practice matches. They don’t just feel like part of the team — they actually are. The support we received from the FHSAA has made a huge difference this year.

“Growing this program is just the first step in growing the opportunity for high school tennis in years to come.”

Tony Lilly, the head men’s and women’s coach at Monsignor Pace High School, was one recipient from the program.

“As Thad stated in his letter, ‘I understand the value of tennis balls and how every little bit helps’ — this could not be more meaningful in our situation, and I’m sure for many programs throughout the nation with limited funding and resources.”

High school tennis and providing additional opportunities for players and coaches is high on the Florida tennis radar, along with collaborating with state and local coordinators, according to USTA Florida Associate Executive Director of Recreational Tennis Andy McFarland.

“High school tennis coaches and players are a demographic USTA Florida is looking to get more involved with these next few years,” McFarland said. “From offering education and resources to providing off-season Junior Team Tennis play opportunities, we at USTA Florida need to do a better job collaborating together with coaches and players. Building a sound relationship with FHSAA is a start in the right direction.”

For more information on No-Cut tennis go to

Suniland Sports Camp

The Suniland Sundevils Sports Conditioning Camp is now-May 29 at Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy.

The fee is $75 for boys and girls, age 5-15. That Includes:T-shirt, awards and secondary insurance.

Registration open 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For information, contact Jose Regalado 305-458-1966 or

Warrior Basketball

The Warrior Basketball Pre-Travel Team Program in Miami is intense training for boys and girls, age 8-15, to prepare athletes for a travel team level.

The athletes will train two times a week in a two-hour practice. To gain experience, scrimmages will be set up, and tournament like situations will slowly be introduced to the team.

Practice days are Wednesdays, Fridays and/or Sundays. Kids will receive a Warrior basketball jersey and shorts.

Call 305-777-7077.

North Miami baseball

North Miami Little League Baseball registration is open to boys and girls, age 4-14. The program provides the youth a safe structured environment to learn and enjoy the game. Contact Lucas Bailey 786-266-2738 or Brian Jinks 786-999-9130.

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 golf and tennis invitational meets will occur at various locations throughout Miami-Dade County in 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.

Golf - Briar Bay Golf Course: Wednesday, April 6 at 10 a.m.

Tennis - Tropical Tennis Center: Saturday, April 9 at 8:30 a.m.


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 golf and tennis tournaments are in April. All events will occur at various locations throughout Miami-Dade County.

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.


or call 305-223-7060.

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.

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

The schedule includes:

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

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

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

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

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

Gifts in Golf

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

Tennis classes, programs

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

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


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

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The NFHS Network ( 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.

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.

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

or on Twitter @USAFootball

NFL Football Matters

The National Football Foundation announced the launch of, 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. “ 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. 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.






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.

Physically Challenged

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

Submit info to Sports Scene

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

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


Youth sports online

For more area sports photos, go to

YouTube youth sports and more

YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)

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, travel league or school league (elementary school or middle school aged) from 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 or call 305-376-3621.