Youth Sports

Undefeated Miami Rugby Club wins gold at Sunshine State Games

The Miami Rugby Club team went undefeated to win the gold medal in the Men’s Open Division of the Sunshine State Games Rugby Championships at Brian Piccolo Park in Cooper City. The champs are front from left, Jose Laphitzondo, Damien Clemente, Mateo Velazquez, Cagney Kobrin, Cristian Alonso, Jesse Tavai; back, Adrian Salazar, Santiago Laphitzondo, Francisco Gonzalez Montaner, Craig Sykes, Eugenio Alonso, Adrian White, and Coach Ronnie Suarez.
The Miami Rugby Club team went undefeated to win the gold medal in the Men’s Open Division of the Sunshine State Games Rugby Championships at Brian Piccolo Park in Cooper City. The champs are front from left, Jose Laphitzondo, Damien Clemente, Mateo Velazquez, Cagney Kobrin, Cristian Alonso, Jesse Tavai; back, Adrian Salazar, Santiago Laphitzondo, Francisco Gonzalez Montaner, Craig Sykes, Eugenio Alonso, Adrian White, and Coach Ronnie Suarez.

The Miami Rugby Club went undefeated to win the gold medal in the Men’s Open Division of the Sunshine State Games Rugby Championships at Brian Piccolo Park in Cooper City.

In four games of pool play, Miami (5-0) outscored opponents 144-20. In the finals, they beat Naples 29-0.

The champs are Adrian Salazar, Eugenio Alonso, Cagney Korbin, Cristian Alonso, Craig Sykes, Adrian White, Santiago Laphitzondo, Mateo Velazquez, Damian Clemente, Jose Laphitzondo, Jesse Tavai, and Francisco Gonzalez Montaner.

For more information about the 37th Annual Sunshine State Games, visit Click the “Results,” link for full results of each of the 28 sports of the Games as they progress through the coming months.

More than 10,000 of Florida’s finest amateur athletes will compete in this program presented annually by the Florida Sports Foundation.

U.S. water polo

Ransom Everglades graduate Ashleigh Johnson will be in goal for the U.S. Olympic women’s water polo team when it plays an exhibition match against Hungary at Ransom Everglades on June 27, six weeks before the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The match will be part of a seven-city, cross-country, pre-Olympic tour.

Johnson, a 2012 Ransom grad, grew up in the Redland area of Miami-Dade County, played water polo as a youth with the Cutler Bay Riptides club and won five state titles at Ransom Everglades (one in swimming). She was named international “Water Polo Player of the Year” for 2014 and 2015 by Swimming World magazine. She is currently at student at Princeton.

Tickets for the 6 p.m. contest are available only through USA Water Polo. They are $20 at the door, $15 for members of USA Water Polo.

They can be purchased here

Miami Country Day Water Polo

Miami Country Day School boys’ varsity water polo team repeated as district champs by defeating MAST 7-3 in the district finals.

During the regular season, the Spartans beat Cooper City, University, Boca Raton-Spanish River, Lake Brantley and Columbus among others. They also won the state level bracket at the Boca Raton-St. Andrews Invitational.

MCD’s top players were Christian Claramonte, Jonathan Abramowitz, Zach Smith, Sebastian Rodriguez and Juan Martin Caro. The team returns all 12 players next season.

The Miami Country Day School girls’ varsity water polo team was the district runner-up with an 11-7 record. The Spartans beat Hialeah High in the district semifinals. During the season they had wins against Miami Beach, Boca Raton Community, ATM, Coral Gables and Palmetto among others.

Gaby Palmisano had another standout season in goal, including two shutouts. Upfront, they were led by captains Amelia Gregorio, Maddie Hertz and Yasmine Bazzi. Also senior Madisyn Jones had an outstanding season. Gregorio made the Olympic development team.

The Miami Country Day Middle School water polo teams were in a rebuilding year. They gained some valuable experience playing against some tough competition in Gulliver and Ransom.

The girls were led by Gabi Marchesani, Sophie Cartledge and Isabella Stripling. A few girls were called up to varsity for the district tournament toward the end of the season.

The boys were led by Camryn Davis, Jack Rodriguez and Riccardo diGiuseppe. Both teams will be sending some players to varsity next season.

Miami Touchdown Club

Orlando Hurtado, Felix Varela Senior High School football player was selected as the 2016 Miami Touchdown Club Scholar Athlete Award winner and scholarship recipient.

Hurtado, who served as Felix Varela’s varsity captain playing offense, defense and special teams, earned a 5.1 Grade Point Average and 1780 SAT score. In addition to being an excellent student, Hurtado interned as a research assistant at Florida International University’s Wetlands Ecosystem Lab and tutored Varela Viper football teammates so they can succeed in the classroom as well.

Along with winning the inaugural Miami Touchdown Club Scholar Athlete Award, Hurtado received the following academic honors: AP Capstone, Bausch & Lomb Science Award, Top 1% of his class, Principal Honor Roll, Congressional Recognition, and was a member of the National Spanish & English Honor Societies, National Society of High School Scholars.

The Miami Touchdown Club presented the award to Hurtado at the Annual Miami-Dade Scholar-Athlete Luncheon.

The Miami Touchdown Club was founded in 1959 by a group of local community leaders with a strong interest in supporting football in Miami-Dade County. Long-established relationships exist with local public and private high schools, the University of Miami, Florida International University, and the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. Club events include dinner meetings featuring well-known speakers, members-only invitations to closed college football practices, UM and FIU incoming freshman dinners, Miami Dolphin outings, and other football and sports related activities.

The Miami Touchdown Club is the local chapter of the National Football Foundation (NFF) and will nominate Orlando Hurtado for the NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete award which is among the most prestigious high school awards in the country. Notable past recipients include Todd Helton (1992), Drew Henson (1998), Bobby Hoying (1991), Andrew Luck (2008), Chris Prosinski (2006), Andrew Rodriguez (2008), and Jon Stinchcomb (1998). The winner is honored at the NFF Annual Awards Luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

Team Soul

Team Soul from Miami’s CrossFit Soul finished first at the Atlantic Super Regionals, qualifying for the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games in Carson, Calif.

Team Soul is made up of six local athletes splitting their time between training, working full-time jobs, attending school full time, and in some cases all of the above.

They are led by Danny Lopez-Calleja, a husband, father, coach and owner of CrossFit Soul, whose lifelong dream was to coach an athlete or group of athletes to the Games. This year the dream became reality with Team Soul and two masters athletes representing Miami on a global stage at the Games.

Team Soul consists of: Melisa Alonso, 23, full-time graduate student at FIU; Lilly Bertz, 31, works full-time and trains five days a week; Dillon Betancourt, 27, doctoral candidate and researcher at University of Miami; Rey Fernandez, 27, full-time coach at CrossFit Brink; Danielle Llopiz, 29, works full-time and coaches; and Todd Smith, 21, also a coach at CrossFit Brink.

The CrossFit Games is a worldwide competition much like the Olympics, touted as an event to find the world’s fittest athletes. Forty individuals and teams from eight regionals compete in several events from July 19-24 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

The Team Soul GoFundMe page will help cover some costs associated with the trip to California.

CrossFit Soul's Facebook page:


Instagram: @crossfitsoul


Parents who coach USTA Junior Team Tennis squads are -- especially in the younger age groups -- often a child’s early introduction to fair play, camaraderie, teamwork and sportsmanship. They teach not only the rules and etiquette of tennis, but also a love of the game.

USTA Florida names Melissa Garcia as the May Tennis Volunteer of the Month for giving of her time in sharing the lifetime sport of tennis with children and looking to lead by healthy example.

“I don’t really see this as work, but it is something I enjoy and love being a part of,” says Miami Junior Team Tennis parent and captain Melissa Garcia. “As a busy working parent and a known procrastinator, one of the things I am proud to say I have accomplished is being able to stay on top of everything I need to do as a parent-captain to my tennis team.”

USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Miami area Cathy Nordlund says Garcia is modest, and “staying on top of everything” has included mentoring parents and other team captains along the way.

“Melissa has been involved with JTT for several years and goes way beyond the call of duty,” Nordlund said. “She has designed parent guide sheets and other helpful documents. Melissa is now serving on the commission for the South Miami-Dade JTT league. Her son has gone through the system starting with red ball [beginner level], and now has graduated to green dot.”

Her junior tennis voyage over the years has taken her from the Hank Kline Boys & Girls Club in Miami to Top Spin Services at Goodlet Tennis Center, and now the Friends of Miami Tennis at the Tamiami Tennis Center. Like many JTT parent-captains, the team tennis experience has provided for extra family bonding.

Junior Golf

The Junior Orange Bowl Golf Committee will once again sponsor Team USA at the TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup. The 24 th annual event is set to tee off on June 14-17 and will be hosted at Chukyo Golf Club’s Ishino Course located in Toyota City, Aichi-Prefecture, Japan.

The Junior Golf World Cup, which follows a four-players- count-three scores format, will consist of four rounds played June 14-17. The TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup 2016 Supported by JAL is the world’s only junior golf championship in which national teams, winners of regional qualifiers held across 6 continents and participated by more than 60 national squads, compete for the world champion trophy.

Team USA, which is supported by Nike Golf and the GCAA has won the tournament five times, but will be aiming for its first championship since 2005. Jeff Roope, Head Golf Coach at Wittenberg University (OH) will coach the boy’s team consisting of Austin Eckroat (Oklahoma), Will Thomson (Texas), Matthew Wolff (California), and Norman Xiong (New York). The girl’s team will be coached by Kory Henkes Head Golf Coach of University of Mississippi with a strong squad, consisting of Alyea Abdulghary (California), Kaitlyn Papp (Texas), and Kristen Gillman (Texas) who will be returning from the 2014 team.

The Junior Orange Bowl Golf Committee has been the sponsor of Team USA since the prestigious world championship event” says Steinbauer. “The Junior Orange Bowl International Championship strives to showcase the world’s top amateur golfers, and it is an honor to be able showcase the best that USA has to offer on a truly International stage”.

Former Junior Orange Bowl Tournament Director and current Committee Chairman of the TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup, William Kerdyk, Jr was on the founding board of the tournament. “The tournament committee is enthused to once again host the world’s premier junior golf international team championship,” Chairman William Kerdyk said. “It’s great to see the worldwide participation and excitement by the players to represent their countries.”

The 54 th Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championship will once again be hosted at the Biltmore Hotel and Golf Club in Coral Gables on Dec. 27-30. Nearly 100 of the world’s best boys and girls amateur players will vie to join the likes of Tiger Woods and Lexi tournament’s inception 23 years ago. J.R. Steinbauer, Tournament Director of the Junior

Orange Bowl International Golf Championship will accompany Team USA at the tournament. “The Junior Orange Bowl Golf Committee is proud to sponsor Team USA at this prestigious world championship event” says Steinbauer. “The Junior Orange Bowl International Championship strives to showcase the world’s top amateur golfers, and it is an honor to be able showcase the best that USA has to offer on a truly International stage”.

Former Junior Orange Bowl Tournament Director and current Committee Chairman of the TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup, William Kerdyk, Jr was on the founding board of the tournament. “The tournament committee is enthused to once again host the world’s premier junior golf international team championship,” Chairman William Kerdyk said. “It’s great to see the worldwide participation and excitement by the players to represent their countries.”

The 54th Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championship will once again be hosted at the Biltmore Hotel and Golf Club in Coral Gables on Dec. 27-30. Nearly 100 of the world’s best boys and girls amateur players will vie to join the likes of Tiger Woods and Lexi Thompson as champions of this prestigious tournament.

For more information visit

Miami Midnites basketball

The Miami Midnites basketball team (4-1) earned its third consecutive victory by beating the Florida Flight 114-93 at the Orlando Downtown Recreation Center.

In his first game since returning from playing overseas in France, Miami's Darnell Dodson scored 20 points on 9-of-13 from the field and snared nine rebounds. Big man Keion Palmer had a double-double on 18 points and 12 rebounds, and power forward Antonio Hester added 17 points and six boards.

Guard George Gray totaled 11 points, eight assists, five rebounds and six steals, and guard Amir Celestin contributed six points, six rebounds and seven assists.

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 first season of existence, the Miami Midnites won the 2014 Florida Basketball Association (FBA) 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 out of 90+ 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

Florida Panthers Summer Cats

The Florida Panthers announced the introduction of their new Summer Cats program. The program is a summer ball hockey league sponsored by the Panthers.

The Summer Cats program will occur at 17 participating Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCA branches. All equipment for the program was purchased from Bauer by the Florida Panthers.

The regular season begins on June 13, and each team will play seven games through the end of July. The top four teams in each level will compete in a one-day playoff at the BB&T Center on Aug. 3 in Sunrise. The winner of each age group will be crowned the South Florida Champion.

The three age levels able to participate are Mite (ages 6-8), Squirt (ages 9-10) and Pewee (ages 11-12).

To sign up, visit a local participating YMCA or Boys & Girls Club branch. The following are participating YMCA branches: Peter Blum Family YMCA of Boca Raton, DeVos Blum Family YMCA of Boynton Beach, Edwin W Brown YMCA of the Palm Beaches, Weston YMCA Family Center, YMCA Pines Family Center and Lauderdale Lakes Middle School. All Broward County Boys & Girls Clubs are participating in the program.

More events, leagues, programs


USTA Florida will be hosting four Development Camps for Diverse Backgrounds in 2016 in different areas of the state, for junior tennis players, age 12-18, who are currently participating in USTA tournaments, are looking to improve their game and learn about college scholarship opportunities and the latest in sports science and physical training.

“This will be the second year we are hosting more than one Diversity Camp to give more players around the state the opportunity to participate in this great learning experience,” said USTA Florida Player Development Coordinator Andy Gladstone. “The more players we can impact through the camps, the better it is for our sport and for the participants to improve in areas such as match play, strategy, and learning the amazing experiences they can have as college players.”

Pros and college stand-outs that have attended USTA Florida Diversity Camps in the past include Sloane Stephens, Victoria Duval, Sachia Vickery, and former University of Florida star Sekou Bangoura.

The cost for the one-day camp is $50. The fee includes drills, match play, a camp t-shirt, classroom improvement sessions for parents and players, and lunch.

South Florida - Oct. 29

9 a.m.-4 p.m.

William H. Kerdyk Biltmore Tennis Center

1150 Anastasia Ave.

Coral Gables 33134

To register visit:


For more information visit:

Sunshine State Games

Get into the 2016 Olympic Games spirit by competing in one of more than 25 Sunshine State Games sports between now and November. The 37th annual Sunshine State Games are Florida’s own Olympic-style Sports Festival.

Online registration is open at and more information is available by email at or calling toll-free 866-354-2637.

The Broward County Spring Festival begins a plethora of SSG activity with six of the next seven weekends featuring amateur sports competitions through June 25.

A multi-sport festivals will be in Palm Beach County June 18-19.

Two sports that returned to SSG action in 2015 (BMX Cycling and Boxing) are back for 2016, and Baton Twirling debuts in 2016 as part of a Fall Festival in Vero Beach, along with Lacrosse. Beach Ultimate returns in 2016 as part of a Beach Festival in Clearwater in September, featuring Beach Tennis and other sports.

The Sunshine State Games are an annual program presented by the Florida Sports Foundation, in conjunction with local sports commissions.

For more information visit, email or call toll-free 866-354-2637. Follow the Sunshine State Games on Facebook

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.

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.

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.


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

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

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

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

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

Tennis classes, programs

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

Physically Challenged

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

Submit info to Sports Scene

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

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


Youth sports online

For more area sports photos, go to

YouTube youth sports and more

YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)

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.