Eduardo Cuni (Claude Pepper Elementary School/USSA Little League Baseball), Daniel N. Milian (Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center/North Miami Beach Little League Baseball), Saarah Rassif (Miami Country Day School Varsity Softball), Chaz Royo (Doctors Charter Middle School Baseball), and Delaney Shechtman (Christa McAuliffe Middle School/West Boynton Fastpitch Softball) are the Miami Marlins Team Player Honorees for June in conjunction with the Miami Herald.
They were recognized for their academics in the classroom and sportsmanship on the field. Marlins relief pitcher Kyle Barraclough and Billy the Marlin congratulated them during the ceremony, before the Marlins/Chicago Cubs game at Marlins Park.
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.
About the honorees
Eddie Cuni, 8, Claude Pepper Elementary School, plays tournament baseball in the USSA Little League program.
Off the field, he is an Honor Roll student.
Teacher Larry DeSario: “His skills are superb. Ever since the second grade, Eddie has shown a penchant for batting, power hitting farther than most of my fifth grade students. Eddie is very good natured and exhibits sportsmanship among his peers. He has a bright future in any endeavor that he chooses to participate in, especially baseball. I find Eddie to be a pleasure to have in my physical education class. He is a very nice young man and is popular with his teachers.”
Eddie’s team was invited to a Little League World Series type tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista. A power hitter, he also plays baseball in the 8U Kid Pitch Division at Tamiami Park.
Daniel N. Milian, 10, Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center, plays baseball for North Miami Beach Little League.
He has been playing in the North Miami Beach Little League since he was 5. He has a great love for baseball. He puts forward his maximum effort both in school and in the field. We would like to nominate him for the recognition. Attached are two letter from both his teacher and baseball coach.
Teacher Frances Mora: “It is with great pleasure to recommend Daniel Milian for the academics sportsmanship award. He is one of the most exceptional students in the classroom, and has a keen interest and talent in all subjects. He is a perceptive, sharp, quick individual with a high aptitude in Mathematics and Reading. He is driven to understand how things work and displays a joy for learning. Daniel exudes an active, outgoing presence in class with a great sense of humor. He has my highest recommendation for this award.. He has demonstrated excellence in all that he puts his mind to.”
Saarah Rassif, 12, Miami Country Day Middle School, plays high school varsity softball.
Saarah completed seventh grade at Miami Country Day School where she played up, starting at catcher for the high school varsity softball team.
Off the field, she made the Director’s List for outstanding academics and was also selected for membership in the National Junior Honor Society. She is also active in Reach for the Stars, a charity helping individuals who have Cystic Fibrosis.
Coach Antonopoulos: “Saarah is a credit to her family, her school and to our team, and a pleasure to coach.”
Chaz Royo, 14, Doctors Charter Middle School, plays baseball for the school’s young and improved program.
Chaz was a tri-captain of the baeball team. He was a leader and key contributor on and off the diamond as the second year program improved its record to 9-12-1 after going 3-15 in the school’s inaugural season.
Coach Paul Calli: “Chaz is a coach’s player. He loves the game and works hard to improve every day in every aspect. “Just let me get a few more” is what the coaches often hear from Chaz. As a tri-captain, he helped unify the team and build chemistry and cohesion on the diamond and off, helping to make this year’s Doctors Charter team a tight knit group on its way to a respectful 9-12-1 record.
“Chaz respects the game and the uniform and demonstrates sportsmanship toward his opponents at all times, playing hard but with humility and never drawing attention to himself except through his play. Chaz understands the primary importance of school and that it is an honor to be a scholar athlete. He works hard to maintain his grades and exhibits concentrated time management skills to ensure his school work comes first.”
In the classroom, Chaz maintains a 3.0 GPA.
Delaney Shechtman, 13, Christa McAuliffe Middle School, plays softball for the West Boynton Fastpitch Softball League.
She just began playing softball and picked up the game quickly, becoming a starting pitcher.
Coach Travis Smith: “She’s always on time, never misses practice and is very dedicated.”
As a seventh grader, Delaney took all honors classes as well as a high school level math class. Her GPA is 4.0, and her honors GPA is 4.2857. She has been on the Honor Roll every semester and won an award for excellence in Language Arts (an 8th grade class).
Mr. Ehrlich, science teacher: “We need to clone her. I wish every student was like her.”
She is a member of the National Junior Honor Society as well as the school’s Jazz band, playing trombone. The Jazz band is voluntary and meets before school to practice. She developed a passion for music and practices constantly. In her spare time, she draws and loves to cook.
Florida Collegiate Summer Baseball League
Sergio Lopez of Miami was named a Florida Collegiate Summer Baseball League all-star.
Forty six players including Lopez will represent their summer team at the mid-season classic at Sanford Memorial Stadium. The North team will consist of players from DeLand, Leesburg and Sanford, and the South team will pull players from Altamonte Springs, Winter Garden and Winter Park.
To choose the all-star teams, 10 ballots were submitted. Six ballots were from the head coaches of each team. Head coaches were not allowed to vote for anyone from their own team. Three ballots were from Florida League staff members including the president, vice president and director of operations. The final ballot was a cumulative effort from fans, who voted online for their favorite players. The response to the fan vote was tremendous as more than 1,100 fans voted.
The day begins with a showcase where Florida League players will show off their skills in front of MLB scouts.
Lopez, who plays for the Sanford River Rats, will represent the North. The 6-0, 235-pound, right-hander is an outfielder for Hillsborough Community College in Tampa. He is a graduate of South Dade High School.
Here is an update on two Barry University baseball players competing on summer teams.
Michael Escarra, OF, Gold Coast Collegiate League Titans -- Barry's first-year player from Hialeah is fourth in the GCCL in batting average and third in OPS. He prepped at Mater Academy before coming to Barry.
Christian Gonzalez, RHP, Gold Coast Collegiate League Dash -- Another first-year Buccaneer who hails from Miami, Gonzalez played at Keys Gate Charter High School.
Barry University, based in Miami Shores, is an NCAA Division II affiliate.
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.
Barry University women's golf coach Shannon Sykora qualified for the Florida Open Championship.
Sykora shot 1-under 71 at Lago Mar Country Club’s 7,053-yard, par-72 course in Plantation to earn a spot in the three-day state championship at Interlachen Country Club in Orlando. Former Barry men's golfer Jaime Rodriguez also shot 71 at Lago Mar to qualify.
“It was fun to play a good round and qualify for the Florida Open,” Sykora said. “I look forward to a fun week in Orlando.”
Sykora birdied the par-4 18th at Lago Mar to secure a qualifying spot in the state championship. The Florida Open is a 54-hole, three-day tournament. The field will be cut after the second round.
Gulliver lacrosse, soccer
Gulliver announces that Sarah Dacey is the school's new girls’ lacrosse and soccer coach. Dacey joins Gulliver after, most recently, serving as the assistant soccer coach at Barry University in Miami Shores.
“Sarah brings years of experience at the collegiate and high school level to our renowned sports program,” Gulliver Athletic Director Mark Schusterman said. ”We are thrilled to have her join our Gulliver family, and we are excited for what the future holds.”
A college soccer and lacrosse star at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dacey had an extensive playing and coaching career. A four-year soccer starter for the Tar Heels, she was a part of three national title-winning soccer teams. On the lacrosse side, Dacey was a team captain and was named an Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-American twice.
After graduating with a degree in physical education, Dacey played several seasons of professional soccer in the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA). Following her playing career, she took her first coaching opportunity at Fay School in Massachusetts, where she was head soccer and lacrosse coach. On the collegiate level, she has held assistant and head coaching positions - in both sports - at a number of universities, including the University of Tennessee, Babson College, Boston College and the University of Albany.
“I look forward to the challenge of continuing the rich legacy of Gulliver sports,” Dacey said. “Gulliver is the right fit for me.”
Since moving to South Florida in 2013, Dacey has dedicated her career to helping high school athletes achieve their full potential on and off the field. Before joining Barry University, she was the girls’ director of coaching for the Pinecrest Premier Soccer Club.
“I love having the opportunity to help these young athletes reach their goals,” she said.
About Gulliver Schools
Gulliver Schools is a 501(c)(3) private, non-profit, independent, coeducational, nonsectarian day school with the mission to create an academic community devoted to educational excellence, with a personal touch, that fulfills each student's potential.
For information about Gulliver, visit
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.
Youth sports online
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YouTube youth sports and more
YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)