Youth Sports

Sports Scene: Miami Marlins honor Gary Abramson, Cristian Alvarez, Hayden Hohman, Evan Soffer

Gary Abramson (Nautilus Middle School), Cristian Alvarez (St. Theresa Catholic School), Hayden Hohman (Coral Gables Preparatory Academy) and Evan Soffer (Hochberg Preparatory School) were acknowledged for being the Miami Marlins/Miami Herald Team Player Honorees in July before the Marlins/San Francisco Giants game at Marlins Park.

The program once again recognizes South Florida youth baseball and softball players for doing well in school and displaying sportsmanship on the diamond. Each honoree received a certificate of achievement with a Marlins autograph presented by Marlins pitcher Chris Hatcher during a recognition ceremony on the field. They then posed for photos with Hatcher and team mascot Billy the Marlin.

The honorees and their parents were also interviewed by Miami Herald Youth Sports Reporter Samantha Hahn.

About the honorees

For the past seven years, Gary Abramson has been playing Little League Baseball and travel ball.

Gary, 13, started playing baseball with his father, Randall, after his mother died. His father with a limited income made certain Gary could play on teams each year, and Gary even saved money he received on birthdays or holidays so he could attend a tournament in Key West and the Cal Ripken Tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Gary was not the best player on the team; however he certainly had the best attitude. A Miami Beach resident, he never missed a practice and saved his quarters for hitting practice in the batting cage.

This year Gary plays on three teams, and his focus, improvement and attitude have made him a valuable team member.

Nautilus Middle School coach Alton Strachan said: “Gary is a self-determined young man and believes that all of his hard work will pay off. ... He always works his hardest and gives his best, no matter what are the problems.”

Since kindergarten at North Beach Elementary School, Gary has received an award for perfect attendance.

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Gary is a very kind and considerate young man. He always helps his teachers, his grandparents and friends who have some disability. North Beach Elementary recognized his kindness by presenting him the Kindest Child in the School award, which included a new bicycle.

“Gary’s kindness is only matched by his love of all things baseball,” said Margot Betteridge who nominated Gary. “Gary is an avid baseball fan. He is an excellent sport, and his willingness to help others is apparent. He currently plays on two different baseball teams and still does well in school”

Gary completed seventh grade at Nautilus Middle School in Miami Beach, where he made the honor roll. He was also helpful in bringing bullying to the attention of school administrators, and the school now has an active program to stop bullying,

Cristian Alvarez, 13, of Westchester is a standout student-athlete taking honors classes at St. Theresa Catholic School in Coral Gables.

As a seventh-grader in the 2013-14 school year, Cristian made the National Junior Honor Society, won an award for the highest math GPA, made the honor roll and won the Principal's Award for having the highest overall GPA. He was also elected student body vice president in 2014-15.

Cristian played varsity volleyball, flag football and baseball. He is a shortstop, third baseman and pitcher for the Florida Shockers travel team.

Consistently, he leads teams in batting average and RBI. His coach named him captain for his leadership skills, hard work and confidence, and through the years, Cristian has made many friends on opposing teams in school and league play.

Some of his hobbies include DJing, playing the piano and volunteering for the Knights of Columbus and the Ronald McDonald House.

Hayden Hohman, 10, of Coral Gables is an excellent team player and a dedicated player. He is a pitcher and first baseman, playing this year for two leagues: South Miami Youth Baseball League at Palmer Park and Coral Gables Youth Center.

South Miami Youth Baseball League Coach Walter Araujo said: “Hayden just loves baseball. I coached him for a season, and he loved every part of every practice and every game. You can't give Hayden enough baseball. He loves it.”

As a fourth-grader at Coral Gables Preparatory Academy, Hayden made straight A's in the gifted program, earning the Principal’s award. He also had all 1's in behavior. He was focused and motivated in school and on the field, even while his father was in his ninth deployment in Afghanistan.

Hayden always works hard, treats others with respect and listens to his teachers. On the diamond, he encourages his teammates and helps them improve. He is recognized by his coaches, friends and teachers. He is one of the Marlins biggest fans and never misses a game.

Evan Soffer, 10, of Hollywood is an ‘‘A’’ student at Hochberg Preparatory School in North Miami Beach. He was chosen for the Duke TIP honor program because of his academic performance and standardized testing. He also studies Hebrew and Spanish at Hochberg Preparatory daily as well as having a love for math and science.

Ricki Borek, fourth-grade teacher at Hochberg Preparatory School, said: “Evan is a caring child who is liked by many. His natural abilities with sports are obvious. He lights up everytime he has a ball in his hands. He shows dedication to both school and extra-curricular activities. I'm thrilled to have been his teacher, and I know his future holds so many amazing opportunities.”

Evan was awarded the Best Athlete/MVP of his grade the past three years. Whatever team, he includes everyone and is considered a leader.

Andy Degen, athletic director at Hochberg Preparatory School, said: “Evan is not only a phenomenal athlete but an amazing all- around kid. Evan played on our fifth-grade basketball team the past two years as a third- and fourth-grader. He was a leader of our team and was MVP. He also was our star WR/offensive player of our championship fourth-grade flag football team. I know he stars in rec and travel baseball, hockey and is a very good tennis player as well.”

Baseball is his true love, and he won the Grand Slam Batting Derby in his age group at the University of Miami Baseball Camp. Playing up in age, he pitches and bats cleanup for the Hollywood Heat travel team. He is well liked by his teammates who often site his humility as his most endearing attribute, and he loves the Marlins. He has caught two foul balls at games this season, so far.

YouTube Videos: Ceremony, Fun, Interviews

jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)

Miami Herald Youth Sports Reporter Samantha Hahn


Interviewing the honorees and parents

Cristian Alvarez

Gary Abramson

Evan Soffer

Hayden Hohman

Jennifer Hohman

Ari Soffer

Randall Abramson

Javier Alvarez

Fun on the field

With Billy the Marlin

Marlins pitcher Chris Hatcher, Billy the Marlin, ceremony

Salty video bomb

Miami Herald Youth Sports Reporter Samantha Hahn



Major League Baseball announced the 24 teams advancing to the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series, which will be hosted by the Texas Rangers for the first time in the championship tournament’s 22-year history.

The RBI World Series features youth baseball and softball players representing 20 cities from around the United States, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Miami Marlins RBI has two teams in the tournament, one in the 13-15 age group and the other in the 16-18 age division.

Tournament seeding and playoff games of the RBI World Series will be played on fields throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area, with the championship games at Globe Life Park in Arlington, the home of the Rangers. The softball championship game will be played at Texas Woman’s University in Denton.

The RBI World Series is the international championship tournament of the RBI program, the Major League Baseball youth initiative designed to provide young people from under-served and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball.

Since the inception of the RBI program in 1989, MLB clubs have drafted more than 200 RBI participants and more than 70 players since 2008. Alumni on MLB rosters during the 2014 season include Michael Bourn (Cleveland Indians), Carl Crawford (Los Angeles Dodgers), Coco Crisp (Oakland Athletics), Yovani Gallardo (Milwaukee Brewers), James Loney (Tampa Bay Rays), Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles), Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals), CC Sabathia (New York Yankees), Hector Santiago (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), Tyler Skaggs (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), Justin Upton (Atlanta Braves) and Chris Young (New York Mets).

Crawford (Houston RBI – ’97), Loney (Houston RBI – ’99), Crisp (LA RBI – ’95, ’96) and Gallardo (Fort Worth RBI – ’03) have each played in the RBI World Series.

USA Baseball

After a week of trials, half a week of training and a day of travel that seemed like two weeks, the USA Baseball 15U national team opened the 2014 WBSC AA 15U World Cup with a 14-2 victory over Panama at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal Stadium in Mazatlan, Mexico.

Miami’s Raymond Gil, who plays for Gulliver Prep, scored and played third base. In a 16-1 win over New Zealand, he had an assist.

Gil was 2-for-2 with two runs and an RBI and had an assist as USA Baseball beat South Africa 25-0. In a 7-2 victory over Japan, he went 1-for-3 with a walk and four assists. He had an RBI and an assist as USA Baseball beat Germany 11-1.

Tommy Duenas, an assistant coach at Miami Dade College, and Javy Rodriguez, head coach at Gulliver Prep, are part of the coaching staff.

All-American Baseball Classic

Elih Marrero of Miami and Daniel Reyes of Miami Springs will represent the East in the 12th annual All-American Baseball Classic on Aug. 10 at PETCO Park in San Diego.

They will join 51 of the best high school baseball players in the country for the nationally televised contest, airing 8 p.m. on MLB Network.

The game’s 12-year history has seen some of today’s biggest stars and first-round draft picks, including Jose Fernandez, Bryce Harper, Gerrit Cole, Sonny Gray, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Harvey, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, Justin Upton and Homer Bailey, to name a few.

A 5-9, 190-pound catcher/outfielder, Marrero will be a senior at Coral Gables High School in the new school year. A 6-2, 200-pound outfielder, Reyes will be a senior at Mater Academy Charter School in the new school year. They are members of South Florida Elite.

Kendall Hammocks baseball

The Kendall Hammocks Optimist baseball program announced registrations dates and times for the fall season.

Divisions: T-Ball, 6U, 8U, 10U, 12U, 14U

Boys and girls, age 3-14, are eligible with age determined using May 1, 2014

Registration is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 16 and 23 at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122nd Ave.

Copy of birth certificate is required for age verification only, during registration. Fee is $190.

The fall season is scheduled to start Sept. 6. For information email or visit

The KHO Baseball program is under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks and is an all volunteer organization.


The SFPGA Junior Challenge Tour presented by The Honda Classic held event No.8 at The Biltmore in Coral Gables. This was the first time the Biltmore has hosted an SFPGA Junior Tour event.

South Florida PGA Junior Tour newcomer Alejandro Restrepo just moved from Venezuela to Coral Gables. After hearing about the upcoming tournament down the street from his residence, he decided to enter and begin his SFPGA Junior Tour career.

Restrepo had an opening round 3-under par 68. He then shot a second round 2-over par 73 to capture the overall boys’ title. Cole Castro of Homestead won the boys 13-15 age division, and Miami native Tomas Nieves captured the boys’ 16-18 division title.

In the girls’ 13-18 age group, West Palm Beach native Carrie-Ann Lee fired a 4-over par 74 to garner her first victory. Hannah Foster of Hobe Sound took home the girls’ 13-15 age division title, and Coral Gables native Sara Ciliberto earned top honors in the girls’ 16-18 age division.

Joey Burke of Naples won the boys’ 11-12 division by 1 stroke over Zach Buttrick of Key Biscayne. Pembroke Pines native Jennifer Lilly was the winner in the girls’ 11-12 age group.

The SFPGA Junior Tour presented by The Honda Classic is a membership-based tour open to boys and girls ages 11-18 in South Florida with the aspirations and skill levels to compete at the high school and collegiate level and features some of South Florida's most talented junior golfers. The Junior Tour offers 28 two day championship events for junior golfers in South Florida. The 25 events are divided between the Championship Tour, an invitational tour featuring extended yardages, and the Challenge Tour.

The South Florida PGA Junior Tour, run under the South Florida PGA Foundation, is committed to its mission of keeping membership and tournament-related costs low while providing first-class quality golf at 25 championship courses throughout South Florida over the course of the entire Junior Tour season.

For information on the Junior Tour and its respective Championship and Challenge tours, visit the new South Florida PGA Junior Tour website at


Katerina Stewart of Coral Gables rolled to the the USTA Girls 18s Clay Courts title, extending a winning streak that has now stretched to 34 matches, including two USTA Pro Circuit titles and the USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships.

The 17-year-old Stewart defeated Kennedy Shaffer 6-1, 6-3 in the finals at the Racquet Club of Memphis. She earned a wild card into the U.S. Open junior tournament.

Miami’s Adriana Reami and Deerfield Beach’s Taylor Russo won the Girls' 16s doubles title in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The unseeded pair upset the Californian No. 2 seeds Katie Chang and Claire Liu 6-4, 6-4 in the finals.

Kendall Hammocks flag football

A stellar season concluded with awards and championships in the flag football program, through the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks and NFL Flag Football, at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122nd Ave.

Division champs

U6: Dolphins: Colton Smith, Xavier Perozo, Anthony Gonzalez, Gabriel Stevens, Julien Castillo, Jayden Gonzalez, Adrian Diaz, Ryan Ramirez, DJ McGuire. Coaches Jason Smith and Enrique Sierra.

U8-Recreational: Ravens: Andres Lopez, Devin Hickmon, Ryan Montenegro, Jayden Montenegro, Dominic Basillio, Christopher Villamil, Carlos Rivera, Roman Cossio, Victoria Merino, Grace Fraga. Coaches Eric Arredondo and Eduardo Fraga.

U8-Pro: Bears: Alexander Casanova, TJ James, KJ Dempsey, Matthew Vina, Klay Ilhardt, Magnus Mitchell, Adrian Cardero, Gabriel Fraga, Daniel Diaz, Ruben Rayneri. Coaches Pedro Casanova and Manny Fraga.

U10-Recreational: Saints: Bradley Euster, Brett Euster, Marc Quarrie, Gaby Corrales, Anthony Galardi, Nelson Ramirez, Aron Stephen, Sebastian Saez. Coaches Howard Euster and Laz Corrales.

U10-Pro: Rams: Ryan Gonzalez, Dylan Puentes, Dylan Rodriguez, Ryan Castro, Edgar Aguilar, Daniel Serralta, Mark Cohen, Javier Cifuentes, Angelo Iparraguirre. Coaches Raul Gonzalez and Roly Puentes Jr.

U12-Recreational: Eagles: Brandon Collins, Dayne Jurjo, Anthony Ogando, Noah Coronado, Jared Guell, Justin Lazo, Noah Carroddo, Scott Kirk, Marcos Belaval, Gio Valdes-Martinez. Coach John Collins.

U12-Pro: Dolphins: Succes Federic III, Brandon Puentes, Anthony Cordovi, Mikiah Frees, Tristian Diaz, Seth Robinson, Bronson Leiro, Joshua Ochoa, Christopher Garcia, Kyle Mulvey, Michael Poldo, Dominic Nelson. Coaches Succes Frederic and Roly Puentes Jr.

U14: Dolphins: Nick Watson, Ethan Blandon, Tyler Wise, Alejandro Gil, Elijah Nunez, Alejandro Diaz, Tyler Perez, Michael Regalado, Justin Macia, Christopher Prieto. Coaches Succes Frederic, Keno Dempsey and Roly Puentes Jr.

U16: Rams: Michael Cox, Jr, Shamar Monroe, Richard Armenta, Michael Lopez, Derek Gonzalez, Bazthiele Plantado, Steven Martinez. Coach Raul Gonzalez.

• MVPs: U6: Colton Smith. U8: Evan Arellano. U10: MJ Padilla. U12: Anthony Cordovi. U14: Nick Watson. U16: Shamar Monroe. Coach of the Year: Doc Serralta. Rookie Coach of the Year: Steve Gaudette.

Contact Visit

Thunder Summer Camp

The Thunder Basketball Summer Camp is at the ThunderPlex, a 10,000 square feet facility in Doral at 1440 NW 82 Ave.

Thunder Basketball operates year round, and the mission is to play basketball in a recreational setting, teaching students the principles, fundamentals and basic skills.

The camp runs 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Aug. 15.

Sibling discounts are available. Call for pricing and availability.

Thunder has also teamed with Brain Gymnasium for complete mind and body fitness. Brain Gymnasium will offer help with summer reading and math review classes K-12.

For information, visit or

Florida Christian lacrosse

Florida Christian School Athletic Director Ed Riggan, announced that FCS Athletics will offer lacrosse at the JV level for the spring of the 2014-15 school year. For information call 305-226-8152 or visit

More events, leagues, programs


Thunder Athletix and Brain Gymnasium LLC teamed to offer a complete fitness program of body and mind at the new ThunderPlex, 1440 NW 82 Ave. in Doral.

Students can improve their basketball skills and physical fitness, as well as strengthen their academic skills through specialized tutoring programs. They can have fun and finish their homework.

The mission is to teach the principles, fundamentals and basic skills of the game to children age 5-17.

Brain Gymnasium offers specialized tutoring, homework help, FCAT Prep, SAT/ACT Prep, and Entrance Exam Prep. Their degreed, professional and experienced teachers provide a simple and exciting approach to learning.

For information on special packages, after school programs and summer programs,

visit ; or call 786-505-5585.

For information on Brain Gymnasium, visit or call 305-788-7339.


Kendall Hammocks cheerleading, tackle football

The Kendall Hammocks Warriors announces the registrations dates and times for the 2014 tackle football and cheerleading season in the Miami Xtreme Youth League.

Registration is open to boys and girls, age 5-14. Must turn 14 after Aug 1 .

A copy of birth certificate, 2x2 color face photo and a 2014 physical is needed by July 30 but is not required at time of registration. Potential players must be present during the registration process to be weighed in, and cheerleaders will be sized for uniforms.

The tackle teams are based on age and weight. Cheerleaders are based only on age.

Tackle Registration Fee: $180

Fee includes use of equipment, helmet, shoulder pads, home and away uniform at the end of the season the player keeps the home jersey, participation award, secondary insurance, referee cost, county and league fees. Fee also includes yearly one day NFL Tullock Camp.

Tackle Military Discount: As part of giving back and honoring the real Warrior heroes, the league offers a 15 percent discount with proper military ID.

Rookie Camp: Free with paid registration fee. Camp, an introduction to tackle football, is for new players.

Cheerleading Information: For detailed information on the cheer registration fee and cheer gear packages, email Cheerleading Commissioner Alicia Zamorano at A mini camp is in June for a nominal fee.

Planned include new uniforms for cheerleaders and also a cheerleading competition at Disney’s Wide World of Sports aside from the local competitions.

Registration and practices are at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122 Ave. Practice is underway.

For added tackle information, email Kendall Hammocks Football and Optimist President Mike Pintado at or visit the web site at

The tackle and cheerleading programs consist of an all volunteer group under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks.

Heads Up

Former tight end Troy Drayton played nine seasons in the NFL, including 1996-99 with the Miami Dolphins, and he is the Dolphins’ youth program coordinator.

Drayton added a new title to his résumé — NFL Ambassador for Heads Up Football.

The NFL and USA Football jointly announced the national launch of Heads Up Football, a youth football program aimed at making football better and safer for all who play it. The program is being supported with a $1.5 million grant from the NFL Foundation.

Three million kids already play tackle football, and the game can be even safer. Heads Up Football includes a tackling model that removes the head from the game.

Heads Up Football has five core elements: The use of the Heads Up Tackling model; coaching certification; Player Safety Coaches; concussion education; and proper equipment-fitting.

The program was launched in three test markets last year. This year, it expanded to more than 600 youth leagues in 50 states. Of these leagues, 100 were assigned a former NFL player mentor. Drayton served as a mentor to a local Heads Up League — the Tamiami Colts of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.

Thunder basketball

Thunder Basketball opened its new year-round facility at ThunderPlex, 1440 NW 82th Ave., Doral.

Thunder Basketball is currently running a day camp and summer league, open to boys and girls ages 5 to 17. Thunder Basketball’s mission is to teach the principles, fundamentals and basic skills of the game. It stresses the importance of team and sportsmanship.

Thunder also encourages players to succeed in the classroom and all aspects of life.

For information visit

Registration is open.

Email or call 786-505-5585.

Miami Lady Express basketball

The Miami Lady Express girls’ basketball team needs funding to continue competing in tournaments throughout the United States. The coaches volunteered to train the girls, giving them something positive to do, and the parents have been raising funds.

Travel costs, food, tournament fees and lodging are very expensive for these girls. They practice at the Keys Gate Gym in Florida City and South Dade High School, where their coaches teach. Contact Coach Larry Hicks at 786-301-2577.

Tamiami basketball

Tamiami youth basketball registration is open for girls and boys ages 5 to 16.

Email or call 305 -273-1145.


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.

“We are absolutely committed to changing lives through tennis,” said Linda Curtis, executive director of the USTA Florida Section Foundation. “This agreement is a prime example of how USTA Florida and our Foundation work together to impact communities each and every day. These athletes play tennis for the pure joy of the sport. It’s inspiring to see, and I’m proud to know that we will be able to provide even more opportunities for them to play through this partnership.”

Sherry Wheelock, president and chief executive officer of Special Olympics Florida, said: “At Special Olympics Florida, we embrace the transformative power of sports. USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation will help us bring first-rate trainings and competitive experiences to our athletes throughout the state. We are excited for this new partnership and are confident that it will further ignite a passion in our athletes for tennis.”

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.

Marlins Jose’s Heroes

Tickets to the José's Heroes Fan Zone are available each time Miami Marlins star pitcher José Fernandez takes the mound at Marlins Park.

For $16, fans receive:

A ticket in the José's Heroes Fan Zone (Left Field Bullpen Reserved)

A José's Heroes T-shirt

A 'K' Card to wave when José records a strikeout

Go to

Marlins Tours

The Miami Marlins offer behind-the-scenes tours of Marlins Park. The tours are open to the public on non-event days for $10 per person.

The tour includes visits to the field (behind home plate), home clubhouse, home batting cage area and Diamond Club, Promenade Level featuring the art in the facility, the bobblehead museum and the premium areas, including the suites.

Tours operate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except when the Marlins play at home or when other major events are scheduled at Marlins Park. Group tours of 10 to 25 people are available by appointment.

For more information, fans can call 1-877-MARLINS or e-mail Tickets can be purchased at the ticket windows on Felo Ramirez Drive (Northwest Sixth Street between 14th and 15th avenues) and are for the time and date specified.

Tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable.

HOF baseball

Hall Of Fame Baseball is sponsoring travel baseball teams for 11-12, 13-14, 15-18 (high school) players.

Hall Of Fame Coach Rich Hofman and his staff will coach the teams, which will practice and play in tournaments and leagues. Register for a tryout at or call David Hofman at 954-804-5600 or Ed Tisdale at 803-463-2591.

Youth Rugby South Miami

The Miami Rugby Youth Division, for boys ages 6-18, practices from 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays at Murray Park and Wednesdays at Palmer Park, 6120 SW 67th Ave., South Miami. Call 305-400-0134, ext. 101.

Visit .

Soccer 5 Academy

Soccer 5 Academy Mini Soccer Program, also referred to as small-sided soccer, is at three Miami-Dade County-owned parks — Tropical Park (7900 Bird Rd.), Kendall Soccer Park (8011 SW 127th Ave.) and Amelia Earhart Park (401 E. 65th St., Hialeah).

Headed by Soccer 5’s Director of Coaching Development Alan Georgeson, who has more than 15 years of experience in Europe in mini/small-sided soccer, kids 3 to 12 years old will learn the history of mini soccer, the basics of how to play, reasons why mini soccer is the preferred form of soccer for kids, youth and even adults, and will have the opportunity to play in “3v3” to “7v7” matches.

The three locations make mini/small-sided soccer available across the county, providing a greater opportunity for children and families to access the proper 4G turf game fields specifically designed for “5v5,” “6v6” and “7v7” games.

With smaller fields, mini soccer is much easier for young children or children who have never played. In addition, mini soccer is designed for competition among teams with fewer players, providing more opportunity for pick-up games, as well as more opportunity to play the ball making mini soccer popular with older players, too.

Soccer 5 Tropical Park is open 3 p.m. to midnight Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to midnight Saturdays and Sundays.

“I cannot thank Miami-Dade Parks and our Soccer 5 coaching staff enough for making our dream of developing small-sided soccer for kids in the Greater Miami area a reality,” Georgeson said. “It is an exciting time for us at Soccer 5 as we continue to expand our Kids Academy in South Florida built on the success of our public/private partnership with Miami-Dade Parks and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade.”

Allison Diego, director of business development, fundraising and advocacy for Miami-Dade Parks’ Recreation and Open Spaces Department, added: “The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade is delighted to partner with The Soccer 5 vision to provide an outstanding experience for this community through soccer. We are happy to be a part of this important child sports development.”

For more information or to register, visit


South Kendall Sun Blazers ( at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, 11395 SW 79th St. (305-630-3314).

Miami Dade Soccer League ( at Three Lakes Park, 13375 SW 136th St. (786-488-5216).

Soccer 5 ( at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127th Ave. (888-575-2976).

Club Atletico de Miami ( at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127th Ave. (305-764-5783).

Soccer Academy of the Americas ( at Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24th St. (786-486-3804)

Pinecrest Premier Soccer ( at Deerwood Bonita Lakes, 11511 S. Dixie Hwy. (305-255-3422).

Optimist Club of Westchester ( at Tropical Park, 7900 Bird Rd., (786-370-4222).

Coral Estates Soccer Club ( at Coral Estates Park, 1411 SW 97th Ave. (305-279-2328).

South Kendall Soccer Club ( at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, 11395 SW 79th St. (305-630-3314).

Southern Soccer Coalition-AYSO ( at Millers Pond Park, 13350 SW 47th St. and Westwind Lakes Park, 6805 SW 152nd Ave. (305-965-0083).

Heads Up

Former tight end Troy Drayton played nine seasons in the NFL, including 1996-99 with the Miami Dolphins, and he is the Dolphins’ youth program coordinator.

Drayton is adding a new title to his résumé — NFL Ambassador for Heads Up Football.

The NFL and USA Football jointly announced the national launch of Heads Up Football, a youth football program aimed at making football better and safer for all who play it. The program is being supported with a $1.5 million grant from the NFL Foundation.

Three million kids already play tackle football, and the game can be even safer. Heads Up Football includes a tackling model that removes the head from the game.

Heads Up Football has five core elements: The use of the Heads Up Tackling model; coaching certification; Player Safety Coaches; concussion education; and proper equipment-fitting.

The program was launched in three test markets last year. This year, it will expand to more than 600 youth leagues in all 50 states. Of these leagues, 100 will be assigned a former NFL player mentor. Drayton will serve as a mentor to a local Heads Up League — the Tamiami Colts of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.

Rebelle volleyball

Rebelle Athletics Club offers girls’ volleyball tryouts at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School, 4949 NE Second Ave.

The volleyball club, a member of the United States Volleyball Association, is under the direction of Mandi Tate, Dee Rey and former Barry University player Kelly Dantas. They are former coaches with South Florida Volleyball Club and currently coach at the Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School Biscayne Bay Campus.

Rebelle Athletics is dedicated to providing developmental and participatory athletic sports programs beginning at the youth development level. It offers a progression of sports activities for persons of all ages, races and creeds. It strives to enhance the physical, mental and moral development of amateur athletes at all levels, promoting sportsmanship and active citizenship.

Visit .


Jai-alai is open to anyone, age 10 to 80.

With a rubber ball and cestas, the amateur jai-alai facility is at 1935 NE 150th St. in North Miami, near FIU’s North Campus.

It is indoors, air-conditioned and open to all. Call Luis at 305-389-2313 or Bob at 786-556-3574.

Jai-Alai for women

Who said you have to be a male to play jai-alai? Just as females play the sport in Spain, France and Mexico, women can play it in South Florida at the amateur indoor, air-conditioned fronton at 1935 NE 150 St., North Miami, near FIU’s North Campus.

There are also leagues for males and children. Rubber or plastic balls are used with free lessons by former pros. Cestas and balls are also provided free with a nominal court fee. Open every day. Email or call Brucio 786-629-5428. The American Amateur Jai-Alai Academy is a not-for-profit organization.

CB Sports Leagues

CB Sports Club offers youth basketball, flag football, youth soccer, adult soccer and adult basketball. Visit or call 786-273-5639.

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).

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