Youth Sports

Coral Reef, Moors excel in Junior Team Tennis of Miami

The Junior Team Tennis League of Miami-Dade County in conjunction with USTA Florida ended its successful spring season with a Team Tennis Challenge at Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne. Coral Reef Green won the 12U-14U Yellow Ball Division.
The Junior Team Tennis League of Miami-Dade County in conjunction with USTA Florida ended its successful spring season with a Team Tennis Challenge at Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne. Coral Reef Green won the 12U-14U Yellow Ball Division.

The Junior Team Tennis League of Miami-Dade County in conjunction with USTA Florida ended its successful spring season with a Team Tennis Challenge at Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne.

Twenty-six teams from North and South Miami-Dade with 90 players participated in the event.

Divisions included 10U-12U green dot ball, 12U-14U yellow ball and 14U-18U yellow ball with a minimum of three players per gender-neutral team.

Junior Team Tennis leagues have kids playing on compatible teams of similar age and ability, with new formats introduced in 2016 for greater flexibility and more fun. About 2,500 children will participate in leagues this year in local and regional events throughout the state.

Younger participants receive credits and ranking points applied to the 10 and Under Youth Tennis Tournament Pathway in Florida.

Results: 10U-12U Green Dot Ball: 1. Moors; 2. Coral Reef Red; 3. Ensignia. 12U-14U Yellow Ball: 1. Coral Reef Green; 2. Goodlet; 3. Moors. 14U-18U Yellow Ball: 1. Ocean Club; 2. Ensignia; 3. Coral Reef White.

For information about Junior Team Tennis in Miami-Dade, contact Cathy Nordlund at or


Palmetto tennis

The Palmetto Middle School tennis team had an outstanding season.

The Lancers began by winning the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair Tournament at Tropical Park and ended by winning the Miami-Dade County Middle School Championship also at Tropical Park.

Robert Acosta won the boys’ singles title. Mattias Barragan and Sebastian Munoz were runners-up in boys’ doubles, and Matthew Schull and William Wilkins finished third.

Nathalie van de Reis was a finalist in girls’ singles. In mixed double, Sofia Gutierrez and Nicholas Wilkins were first, and Brighton Brown and Lucas Sama third.


As part of the inclusion opportunities from the City of Coral Gables, the Ernie Els for Autism #GameON AUTISM, Gifts In Golf and Crystal Academy teamed to provide a group of students with a unique tailored made golf program that lasted nine weeks, with twice a week sessions.

As a result, developing successfully for the first time was a comprehensive pilot program at the Granada Golf Course in Coral Gables, aimed at using golf as a life skills development tool and encouraging social interaction for individuals on the autism spectrum.

The comprehensive program, which has been developed by Els for Autism with support from PGA REACH utilizes multiple evidence-based practices, was identified by the National Professional Development Center on Autism. It consists of nine group lessons and takes four and a half weeks to complete with golf lessons occurring twice a week. Each session has a specially designed lesson plan that delivers golf instruction paired with specific autism focused learning concepts, including: communication, regulatory, motor and social skills.

Els for Autism designed each session to help build self-esteem and confidence in a fun, welcoming and supportive environment; encouraging participants to learn golf skills while practicing specific autism learning concepts.

“Our end goal is to develop #GameON Autism Golf into a comprehensive program that can be rolled out so that more individuals with autism can have access to this specialized program worldwide. The pilot series is a crucial step in helping us reach that goal,” said Els for Autism Founder Ernie Els.

Crystal Academy, therapy center and school for children with Autism and other developmental delays located in Coral Gables, was chosen by the Ernie Els for Autism #GameON AUTISM to participate in the pilot program that began in early April and finished on May 26 with an award ceremony at Granada Golf Course, the Autism partner facility.

Twelve children, age 6-13, benefitted from the gift of golf. As the Autism partner, “Crystal provided the perfect place to begin the natural progress of the lessons as we advanced to visits and practices at the real golf course giving our kids “the swings of hope,” said David Pike, founder of Crystal Academy.

Gift in Golf founder Philip Argianas was the Golf Pro chosen to team with the Ernie Els #GameON Autism Golf Program.

“Our fun golf programs not only teach kids to play, but also improves their motor skills,” he said. “Learning rules and etiquette help develop cognitive and social skills, which lead to development of new friends, self-esteem, empowerment, confidence and self control. These programs have yielded results beyond expectations, and have been particularly rewarding for parents, teachers and volunteers.”

Special teaching techniques are tailored to each individual student, and combined with modified SNAG golf equipment, Gift on Golf has been successful in introducing the game of golf to many students in an enjoyable and effective manner. Students with functioning abilities were able to enjoy and relate to the game, while excelling. Some kids starting off on modified equipment have been able to transition to standard golf equipment. Many experienced the thrill of going and playing on a golf course for the first time.

Gifts in Golf will continue the program this summer allowing for many more kids to experience and enjoy the gift of golf.

For information about the summer program contact Philip Argianas 305-238-7507 or email at You can also visit: for additional reference to the program.

Nautilus golf

The Nautilus Middle School Sharks golf team was second at the Miami-Dade County Golf Championships at Palmetto Golf Course.

Yoshi Petersson won the championship with a 41. Max Gotlin finished eighth overall with a 50. They helped the runner-up Sharks score 215.

Also featured are Daniele Cattabriga, Jared Rogoff, David Tamen, Matthew Gaynor and Jonathan Gaynor. They are coached by Eric Marshall.


Players from Miami will compete in the 2016 US Youth Soccer Region III (South) Championships from June 24-30 at the MeSA Soccer Complex in Greenville, S.C.

They are:

Davie United Sharks U13 girls: Midfielder Jacqueline Lew of Aventura. West Pines United U14 boys: Midfielder Sebastian Lago of Miami. Davie United Sharks U15 boys: Defender Rodrigo Coz of Miami, Ernesto De Luca of Doral, David Mizrahi of Aventura, Fred Nudel of Aventura. Sunrise Sting U 15 girls: Forward Stephanie Cuan of Miami, Defender Kylee Griffin of Miami Lakes, Defender Sydney Waiters of Miami. Sunrise Sting U16 girls: Defender Camilla Abdulhafid of Miami, Midfielder Yakira Matisonn of Sunny Isles Beach, Forward Samantha Wald of Bay Harbor. Sunrise Sting U17 girls: Keeper Laurel Ivory of Surfside.

The Region III Championships feature top teams in the Under-13 through Under-19 age groups, beginning Thursday, June 23, with opening ceremonies at Heritage Park in Simpsonville, S.C. Round robin games are Friday, June 24, through Sunday, June 26. Quarterfinal matches are Monday, June 27 for the U-13 Boys and U14-U16 age groups, and June 28 for the U-13 Girls, U-17 and U-18 age groups. Semifinals are Tuesday, June 28 for the U-19 age groups and Wednesday, June 29 for U13-U18 teams. The Region III Champions will be crowned following final games on Wednesday, June 29 for U-19 sides and Thursday, June 30 for U13-U18 teams.

US Youth Soccer State Cup Champions and select runners-up from 12 US Youth Soccer State Associations in Region III, including host South Carolina Youth Soccer Association will participate. The other State Associations represented are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Texas, Oklahoma, South Texas and Tennessee.

Daily reports and complete results from the tournament are available at

Regional winners of the Under-13 through Under-19 age groups earn a berth to the 2016 US Youth Soccer National Championships from July 25-31 at the Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco, Texas. One of the 14 national crowns awarded is the James P. McGuire Cup, the oldest trophy in youth sports, dating back to 1935 with the inaugural youth championships.

FIU soccer

Florida International University Head Men’s Soccer Coach Scott Calabrese announced the signing of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent including midfielder Alessandro Campoy of Miami.

Campoy, who was born in Port au Prince, Haiti, comes to FIU after playing for Weston FC of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA). He is one of two players in this year's spring signing class to have played with Weston FC, along with Hassan. Compoy played for the Haitian U17 and U20-National Teams, and represented Haiti in the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup in Jamaica. He has also played with the U18 USA National team. Campoy attended Immaculate LaSalle High School in Miami.

“Alessandro is a dangerous attacking player,” Calabrese said. “He has the versatility to play through the middle as a striker and attacking midfielder or he can play the wings. Alessandro has the drive and will compete. He can score goals and create chances. We are excited to incorporate him into our team next season.”

Fans are encouraged to follow the Panthers on Twitter (@FIUMensSoccer) and become a fan on Facebook ( for all the latest Men's Soccer news. Follow all of FIU's 18 athletic teams on Twitter (@FIUAthletics), Facebook (, YouTube (FIUPanthers), and Instagram (FIUathletics).

Westwood Christian sports

Freshman Lauren Amat received the Coaches Award for varsity volleyball at Westwood Christian High School at its annual athletic awards banquet.

Lauren, a two-year starter on the varsity team, maintains a 4.0 GPA. She is also a two-year starter and captain of her travel team, the South Dade Volleyball Club.

Sophomore Sebastian Guitian was named Most Improved Player on the varsity basketball team. Sebastian, a starter on the varsity team, maintains a 3.7 GPA.

Barry baseball

Barry University shortstop Alex DeGoti, a Belen Jesuit High School grad, was drafted in the 15th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Houston Astros. He was the 457th pick of 1,216 selections.

DeGoti, a First Team All-America selection by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and the NCAA Division II Conference Commissioners Association, batted .404 with 14 home runs, 58 RBI, 10 doubles, two triples and 22 stolen bases. He had a .900 fielding percentage.

He is the first Buccaneer to hit .400 since Dean Green in 2011. DeGoti’s .404 average ranks fourth in school single-season history behind Yan Gomes, now a catcher with the Cleveland Indians. DeGoti, a transfer from Long Beach State, had a .694 slugging percentage, which ranks sixth in school season history. He scored 68 runs, which ranks third in school history. His 14 home runs and 58 RBI are both tied for 10th.

DeGoti becomes the 19th player drafted under Barry Coach Marc Pavao in the past 11 years.

DeGoti was recently assigned to the Tri-City Valley Cats, the short-season A club in the New York-Penn League.

Hialeah water polo

Paola Domiguez-Castro and Ashley Luy of the Hialeah Storm Water Polo Club were selected to the Cadet National Team Selection Camp, which will be in California, for girls age 18 and younger.

During the Olympic Development Program National Championships in Riverside, Calif., Paola, 14, and Ashley, 16, were outstanding playing up for the Southeast zone team. That’s where they earned spots for the national camp.

The ODP tournament consisted of 16 teams from zones throughout the country, competing in a round robin format, with emphases on individual play. The players were evaluated by the national team coaching staff.

Paola and Ashley led the Southeast team in scoring and overall play in the 18-and-younger division. The team went 4-1, with the one loss by one goal.

The Cadet National Training Selection Camp will feature the top 48 girls in the country. At this camp, they will cut to 24 girls. Then they will hold another camp in June which they will cut to 14 girls. Those 14 will play in an international tournament representing the USA in Canada in July.

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

Hooters South Florida

Hooters of South Florida presented a donation of $51,000 to Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida. The funds were raised in October at South Florida Hooters locations in the name of Kelly Jo Dowd.

The Hooters Girls who were the top fundraisers participated in the check presentation with LTP Management Director of Marketing Kristi Quarles and Miami Cancer Institute Oncologist Dr. Mary Wang and Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders (partner of Hooters and Baptist Health South Florida). Hooters Girls Victoria Ruiz (Pembroke Pines), Sable Robbert (Pembroke Pines), Allison Novo (Doral) and Raeanne Hasbrouck (Bayside) also had the opportunity to tour the construction site during the visit.

Kelly Jo Dowd, one of the original Hooters Girls, graced the cover of the 1995 Hooters Calendar and worked her way up the Hooters ranks to manager of the Palm Harbor location. In 2002, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and despite radical and aggressive treatment; on May 24, 2007, the Hooters system suffered a tremendous loss with her passing. Kelly Jo spent the last five years of her life battling this dreaded disease. Through this struggle, she was courageous and selfless, becoming an advocate for early detection, education and fundraising in the battle against breast cancer within the Hooters organization.

LTP Management, a Franchisee of Hooters of America, owns and operates 17 locations in South Florida. “LTP Management is thrilled to offer its support for Baptist Health South Florida Foundation and Miami Cancer Institute. Giving back to our community especially through raising funds and awareness for Cancer Research and outreach at local hospitals is very important to us,” said Hooters of South Florida Director of Marketing Kristi Quarles. Miami Cancer Institute will offer diagnosis, treatment, clinical trials and follow-up care at its state-of-the-art location. Hooters of South Florida raised the funds in conjunction with the Jimmy V Foundation who made the grant possible.


Midnight Allstars Basketball began its summer adult basketball league at SLAM Academy.

Standings: Beast Miami Basketball 1-0, Warriors 1-0, Florida's Natural 1-0, The Boys 1-0, Division4 0-1, Run-N-Gun 0-1, Primo Cash 0-1, LifeWallet 0-1, Amicis 0-0.


The countdown to summer is on, and the city of North Miami is providing a fresh way to cool off with free swim lessons at the Thomas Sasso Pool & Playground, 1100 NW 125 St.

North Miami residents, age 3 and older, can register for beginner, intermediate and advanced swim lessons at no cost. Classes will be administered on a first come, first serve basis. Residents may register for one free session. Space is limited. To register, visit the Parks and Recreation Department Administrative Office at 12300 NE 8 Ave. in North Miami, 33161.

For more information about swimming lessons, summer camps and programs offered in the city of North Miami for residents and non-residents call 305-895-9840 or view the 2016 Summer Program Guide online at

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.

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.