Just two weeks after his high school graduation from Monsignor Edward Pace High School, ace pitcher Christopher Rodriguez was drafted in the fourth round (126th overall) of the MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels.
The following day, Alex Mateo, a Pace alum from the Class of 2012, was drafted in the 22nd round by the Miami Marlins.
Rodriguez, a right-hander, helped lead the Pace Spartans baseball team to the 2016 FHSAA Class 5A State Finals. He finished his high school career by pitching a 1-0, two-hit shutout against Orlando Bishop Moore in the Class 5A state semifinal. He was named the (2016) 6A-2A Pitcher of the Year at the Miami Herald’s All-Dade Athletic Awards Ceremony and was also named to the Miami Herald’s 2016 All-Dade First Team.
Mateo, a 2016 graduate of Nova Southeastern University, helped lead the Sharks to their first NCAA Division II National Championship this season as one of their top pitchers. He earned a 2.96 ERA and struck out 96 batters en route to being named the 2016 Sunshine State Conference Pitcher of the Year.
Neymar Jr.’s Five soccer
Neymar Jr.’s Five – a global soccer tournament presented by Red Bull in 43 countries – celebrated its U.S. Finals at Wynwood Soccer in Miami-Dade County.
Team TC Broders from Southern California won the tournament title by defeating Team Dreamkillers from San Diego. The champs will travel to Praia Grande, Brazil to meet Neymar Jr. and compete in the World Final on July 9.
Sixteen teams from Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego, Fresno and Rochester put their skills to the test in this new and fast-paced approach to soccer. Precision and speed were a must as teams had to outplay their opponents within 10 minutes to win the game. The special rule - every time one team scores, the other team loses a player.
“This type of game was fun because we have been playing street soccer since we were kids,” said Juan Carlos Gonzalez of Team TC Broders.
Team TC Broders features brothers Jose, Christian, Juan Carlos and Salvador Gonzalez along with friends Diego Casillas, Carlos Zarate and Gustavo Campos. Salvador is the coach. The six players started their collegiate soccer careers at Taft College with three of the six then playing for NCAA Division II California State University-San Bernardino.
South Florida teams Samba FC and Oficina de Kendall qualified in Miami and reached the semifinal round but were unable to nab the title despite home field advantage.
“The U.S. Final went exactly as we expected - fast-paced, incredible skills and perseverance,” said Competition Director Eddie Salcedo.
For the latest about Neymar Jr.’s Five, follow @NeymarJr and join the conversation with #NeymarJrsFive.
Barry University men's basketball player Yunio Barrueta (Hialeah Gardens HS) signed his first professional contract with Crelan Okapi Aalstar in Belgium.
Barrueta signed a one-year deal with Okapi Aalstar. His professional debut is set for early October.
Aalstar advanced to the Belgium Scooore League Finals this year, dropping the championship series, 3-1, to Telenet BC Oostende. Aalstar went 13-7 in the regular season to finish third before finishing the second stage of the season with a 17-11 record. Aalstar swept a best-of-3 series with Mons-Hainaut in the quarterfinals before winning a best-of-5 series versus Brussels in the semifinals.
A 6-foot-5, 220-pound guard/forward, Barrueta received four All-America honors after averaging a school-record 24.4 points and grabbing 9.3 rebounds. He set Barry career records for points (1,781) and rebounds (858). As a senior, he set school season records for points (804), field goals (285) and three-pointers (107).
Barrueta scored a career-high 41 points in back-to-back games against Palm Beach Atlantic and Florida Tech. He went for 40 versus Rollins, matching the school record of 10 three-pointers. Barrueta knocked down a school record nine triples in the second half of that game. He finished his career ranked first in rebounding average (9.3). He was the first Buccaneer to score more than 700 points in a season, and the first to hit 100 or more triples in a season.
Barrueta was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA South Region Tournament, helping the Bucs to win the region title for the first time in school history en route to a 26-7 season. He was voted the Sunshine State Conference's Player of the Year and a First-Team all-conference selection. He also was named a finalist for the Bevo Francis Small College Basketball Player of the Year award.
Barrueta won a state championship with Hialeah Gardens High School.
Crate Hoop DREAMZ Camp
Crate Hoop DREAMZ Skills Camp, hosted by for WNBA Rookie of the Year Tracy Reid, is 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. from July 18-20 at Miami Central Senior High School, 1781 NW 95th St.
Emphasizing ball handling, shooting, passing and defense, the camp is open to boys and girls, age 7-17.
Cost is $70. All campers must bring their own ball. Camp will include free lunch.
Contact Tracy Reid at 305-769-8210.
Miami Dolphins 7-on-7
Miami Dolphins Youth Programs hosted more than 1,300 student athletes as part of the 9th annual Dolphins Academy Youth and High School 7on7 Tournament.
The event began with a symposium at the Don Taft University Center Arena at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. Breakout sessions were led by the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, a nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sport to advance race relations and drive social progress (RISEtoWIN.org). Athletes heard from RISE speaker Derek Greenfield and participated in special individual and group activities designed to increase team building and communication skills.
“Friday’s symposium set the tone for the weekend by emphasizing the importance of respect, understanding of differences and teamwork. The level of engagement demonstrated by the athletes during the activities was exciting to see and continued throughout the tournament.” RISE Executive Director Ndidi Massay said.
The high school football tournament commenced during the weekend at Plantation Park. The tournament consisted of round robin play and then moved into a single elimination format. Carol City won the tournament edging Miami Northwestern 35-31.
Twenty eight teams also competed in the youth tournament, which consisted of three age groups (10U, 12U, 14U). Miramar won the 10U and 12U competitions, with DKC first in the 14U category. Additionally, all players had the opportunity to participate in RISE’s “It Takes All Colors” photo booth.
“Our mission is to be the stewards of the game of football in South Florida and we were excited to host athletes and coaches at our symposium and tournament,” Miami Dolphins Senior Director of Community Affairs Twan Russell said. “We were able to engage students not only on the field, but had the opportunity to develop their character beyond sports which is equally important.”
Results: High School: 1. Miami Carol City Senior High School; 2. Miami Northwestern Senior High School. 10U: 1. Miramar. 12U: 1. Miramar. 14U: 1. DKC (Fort Lauderdale).
Ana Gabriela Soraggi Matthews, the assistant aquatics director & swim school supervisor at Gulliver Schools, was chosen from 750,000 applicants to volunteer at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
After a grueling six-month process, which included multiple interviews and hours of training, Gabby will soon be traveling to Rio to volunteer at the Olympic Swimming Park, where she will provide care to competing athletes in addition to other tasks.
She is particularly excited to return to her home country, Brazil, for such a historic event and to meet athletes passionate about swimming from around the world. She plans on using her time in Rio to learn new swim techniques and skills, which she can impart to her students, many that qualified for the Olympic pre-trials.
She said: “I am overjoyed with happiness with the opportunity to return home and represent both the United States and Brazil.”
Barry University assistant men’s tennis coach Fred Bonal is hosting a tennis camp through the end of July at Buccaneer Tennis Center.
The camp is open to girls and boys, age 6-18. It runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. The camp includes drills, competition and training tactics.
Bonal completed his fourth year as assistant coach of the Buccaneers. He helped lead the Bucs to a 29-0 record and NCAA Division II National Championship in 2013. Bonal helped guide the Bucs to a 26-0 record and national title in 2015.
During his time at Barry, he’s helped mentor eight All-Americans.
For more details or to sign up for the camp, call Bonal at 954-292-4156.
More events, leagues, programs
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
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.
1150 Anastasia Ave.
Coral Gables 33134
To register visit:
For more information visit:
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.
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
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 http://www.giftsingolf.org and Facebook page for updates.
GIG was founded in 2009 and has been serving several communities in Miami-Dade County. The organization provides fun instruction and mentoring while empowering special people with special needs. Integrating families and community, it provides all the benefits that golfing delivers with a focus on a person’s ability.
Olive Garden and the NFHS Network, the nation’s leading high school sports media company, are teaming up to recognize Team Moms and the high school athletes they support. This partnership includes the launch of GoTeamMoms.com, which will serve as a resource and destination to recognize Team Moms.
Team Moms volunteer to assist coaches and often lead team communications, fundraising, travel coordination and more. The website will feature Team Mom’s Best-Kept Secrets and game day highlights from high schools around the nation. In addition, coaches, athletes, family members and the community are invited to contribute shout-outs or photos of their favorite Team Mom using #GoTeamMoms on Twitter and Instagram to be featured on the website.
“The goal of the NFHS Network is to serve and support both the athletes and their fans,” said Christopher Young, senior vice president of sales for the NFHS Network. “There’s no bigger fan than a Team Mom and no better partner for the NFHS Network than Olive Garden, which resonates so deeply with our audience and shares our same commitment to families and the local community.”
To further assist Team Moms, each Olive Garden restaurant in the U.S. will be paired with a local high school to support through two national fundraising nights and Olive Garden VIP Passes that give teams access to exclusive discounts. With dining options that include ToGo and catering, Olive Garden is often the choice for feeding an entire team.
"Our restaurants are excited to support their hometown high schools and give back to their communities," said Jose Duenas, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden. “This partnership allows us to thank Team Moms nationwide as well as give families and teams chances to connect over meals and create memories during the busy sports season.”
ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN
Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.8 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales.
Headquartered in Orlando, and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated more than 33 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country. For more information, visit www.olivegarden.com.
ABOUT THE NFHS NETWORK
The NFHS Network (www.nfhsnetwork.com) captures the passion, pride, and energy of the high school experience by delivering live high school sports and events to family members and fans whenever they want, wherever they are.
The NFHS Network celebrates and showcases the unique accomplishments of high schools students, including the student-athletes participating in 27 different sporting events and the student broadcasters from schools around the country that produce events through the School Broadcast Program. The NFHS Network also broadcasts state playoff and championship events in 46 states.
The NFHS Network is a joint venture among the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), its member state associations and PlayOn! Sports. The NFHS is located in Indianapolis, Indiana and is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. PlayOn! Sports is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is the nation’s largest high school sports media company.
Follow the NFHS Network on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram at @NFHSnetwork for the latest news and event information.
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 www.facebook.com/usafootball
or on Twitter @USAFootball
NFL Football Matters
The National Football Foundation announced the launch of FootballMatters.org, a powerful new addition to the organization’s campaign to highlight the good in the game and the lifelong benefits to those who play it.
“Football makes a positive impact on so many levels, and we realized that we needed a centralized resource for capturing and subsequently promoting all the great football stories out there,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “FootballMatters.org provides us a potent platform for addressing that void and delivering compelling content directly to audiences who can help us amplify our messages about the value of football in producing leaders and creating educational opportunities.”
NFF Chairman Archie Manning added: “It’s just gratifying to be part of something that does so much good for our young people. The stories are out there, including the thousands of young kids who could not have gone to college but got some aid because of football, and their lives have been changed for the better. FootballMatters.org will enable us to directly capture those stories and inspire the next generation to further their educations.”
The NFF has linked with Arkleus Broadcasting, a Dallas-based full-service media company, to create the platform, which also encompasses a strong social media component to gain traction for the campaign.
“Arkleus is honored and thrilled to be chosen by such a prestigious American institution as the NFF to build and market an exciting new sports media property,” said Arkleus Broadcasting President Joe Shults. “We are passionately committed to helping the NFF in every way to protect, enhance, and ensure the future of football for generations to come.”
The site focuses on stories, videos, and franchises highlighting the very best in high school and college football, such as: Football Moms, Special Teams, Hook & Corporate Ladder, Man-to-Man, the Quote of the Day and many more. The site will also be the home to exclusive profiles of Campbell Trophy finalists, Leadership Award Winners, Courage Award Winners and all the honors associated with the NFF.
“We are really excited about the Football Matters initiative,” said Hatchell. “I want to thank everybody at Arkleus for their passion for the project. They have done a marvelous job of getting it up and running in a short amount of time, and we have already received great feedback.”
The site focuses on the stories that evoke the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal, character building and the drive for academic excellence that exemplifies many of the young men who play football and the families who support them.
You can learn more about the site and watch a video featuring NFF Chairman Archie Manning and NFF Board Members Jack Ford, Archie Griffin, Kevin Plank and Rod West by clicking here.
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 www.USTAFloridaFoundation.com.
Tennis classes and programs for all ages are at the Penny Sugarman Tennis Center at Sans Souci, 1795 Sans Souci Blvd., North Miami. Call for information on group lessons, annual passes, court rates and private lessons. Tennis pro is Ross Dubins. Call 305-893-7130.
Miami-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.
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YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)