builds teams on and off the field

By Jeff Allen

Program director Andre Daniels poses with Mikey, one of last year’s players.

Get ready for sports action as kicks off their 2010 fall season and their eighth year of sports programs in South Miami. The league offers youth and adult basketball and youth cheerleading and all practices and games are held at the Bethel Gibson Community Center in South Miami. will also introduce a new league this year, adult kickball.

Andre Daniels, a marine biology teacher at Nova Southeastern University, is the league founder and director and says that over150 kids will enter the basketball program which begins in October. “The goal of this program is to get kids off the streets and into the gym,” he said. “Team sports teaches kids how to work together.”

The youth basketball league is offered to boys and girls, ages 5 – 14 and is divided into divisions by age, with co-ed teams through age 10. Practices and games are held Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons. The season lasts ten weeks and teams will play eight regular season games plus playoffs. Each participant receives a uniform and trophy.

The cheerleading program is offered to girls, ages 5 – 14. Practices are held twice each week and the squads will cheer for the corresponding basketball team at the weekly games. Participants in this league will receive a uniform and pom-poms.

The youth basketball and cheerleading teams are coached by parent volunteers and UM sports students. Registration for these leagues runs through October 1st and the season kicks off on October 18.

Maria Stout-Tate, Director of the City of South Miami Parks and Recreation works closely with Daniels. “He is always willing to partner with us to incorporate children from our Parks and Rec programs into the program,” she said. “The great Parks and Rec staff works with all the participants to ensure they have a great experience at the Community Center.”

Everyone's a winner in the program.

Daniels and Stout-Tate rely on the generous donations from sponsors to offer enrichment activities in the youth programs. Sponsors are recognized with their name on jerseys, schedules and the league website. A permanent sponsor spot is also available on the scoreboard that was donated to the Community Center by

“Our sponsors are very important. Through their donations, we’re able to offer many scholarships and reward every kid who makes school honor roll with a $25 gift card that can be used to purchase school supplies,” said Daniels. “We stress education, commitment and hard work at all times.”

In partnership with the Parks and Rec, over 100 turkeys were donated for Thanksgiving to low income families in the area and toys were donated to support the annual toy drive during the holidays. Last year, sponsor donations also allowed for 75 kids to go to Santa’s Enchanted Forest and 50 kids to attend a Miami Heat game.

“These sponsor programs show our kids the benefits of teamwork, spirit and generosity,” added Daniels.

Some of the generous sponsors who support these programs are the same companies who enter teams in the adult basketball league at They include such companies as Royal Caribbean, Foster and Clark Real Estate, Executive Hotels, Victoria Electric, Wireless Solutions, Express Equity Lending Group, LLLP, Homer Bonner, P.A., and Metro-Dade Fire Department.

The adult teams are divided into three levels: Corporate A, top talent players; Corporate B, college level players; and Corporate C, “weekend warriors.” Registration for the adult league runs through September 1st and the season kicks off on September 20. The league usually has 15 teams and each team will play at least seven games.

“Many companies find this process to be a great team building experience,” said Daniels. is now registering full teams and individuals for its newest league, adult kickball. “It’s the favorite, nostalgic game of your youth,” said Daniels. “Everyone can kick the ball and run the bases.” also offers group and individual basketball instruction, youth camps and sports parties. For more information, contact Andre Daniels at 786-205-5198, e-mail him at or visit

The Bethel Gibson Community Center is located at 5800 SW 66 Street in South Miami. For more information, visit or call 305-668- 7232

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