Local youth column: Florida Fire Juniors ablaze with good wins

— The Florida Fire junior soccer program had success in tournaments and its camps recently.

The U18 girls were crowned champions of the Disney Soccer Showcase last week.

The Fire came from being down 2-1 to win 3-2 in overtime. The Florida Fire Juniors U15 girls team also earned a title recently, by winning the Orange Classic in December.

Florida Fire Juniors "Oggi Oggi Oggi" soccer camps had a record 73 participants during the winter break. Players from ages 4 to 13 years old participated in the camps, including a few international campers from Brazil and Czechoslovakia.

"It's always fun to have overseas players at the camps," said Gavin Spooner, the Florida Fire Juniors Director of Coaching and Operations. "They bring a different perspective of the game to our local players and we notice that our players are becoming just as knowledgeable of the global game as our international guests.

"We have players from Luxembourg and Canada and the other campers learn some new things about the game and the guests' home countries."

Spooner, along with Aaron Johnson and Kevin McCarthy, both Florida Fire Juniors club coaches, and Emily Cattanach, a current college player, ran the players through skills training and fun activities.

Johnson and McCarthy are both nationally licensed soccer coaches who played college soccer in Michigan and New York, respectively. Cattanach, a South Fort Myers High School graduate, is a senior at Armstrong Atlantic State University and is a Florida Fire Juniors alumna. She helped lead Armstrong Atlantic to a round of eight berth in the NCAA national tournament this year, and earned first-team All-American honors.

Florida Fire Juniors will host another weeklong soccer camp during spring break and hosts three weeks of camps in the summer. For info on the club's "Oggi Oggi Oggi" soccer camps visit www.floridafirejuniors.com.

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CALENDAR

ATHLETICS

Kindersport: Grades Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st grade. Jan. 12 to March 2, 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Community School. Cost is $95. Specially designed youth athletic program for children ages 4-6. Children will learn skills and play games in soccer, football, volleyball and basketball over an eight-week period. This is a unique first-exposure program designed to help each child develop skills and confidence from trained youth coaches. Contact: 290-3430 or visit sportsclubnaples.org.

Combine 360 Youth Sports: One-hour sessions with a qualified Get A Grip Coach. Cost $35 per session. Contact: Al Green 200-7411, algreentraining1@aol.com.

Sports Club Center open gym: Pre-K through 8th grade. Activities include trampoline, spring floor, tumble track and the largest foam pits in SW Florida. Fridays, 6:30 to 10 p.m. Contact: Kevin Lehman at 570-417-1121 or 239-566-CLUB.

BASEBALL

Gulf Coast Little League: Holding final check-in and online registration for spring baseball/softball for ages 4-15 on Jan. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Warren Street Fields. Register at www.gulfcoastLL.com and bring payment and medical release to check-in dates. Mandatory evaluations Jan. 15-17 for ages 8-12. Contact Cindy Dreyfuss at cindy.dreyfuss@gmail.com.

Jeff Smith's 13th annual Kickoff the Season Camp: Jan. 12 and 13 at Community School of Naples. Cost is $145. Ages 13-19. Contact: 659-6543 or email jjjrrss@aol.com.

Collier Cougars: 12U team. Contact: 262-8402.

Think Outside the Diamond: Offers baseball and softball mentoring and performance enhancement in a brand new training facility. Includes one-on-one and group training in skill development, strength, quickness, visual, and confidence building. $65/hour individual or group (up to 4 players) $100/hour. Contact: Coach Rick 777-4435.

Greater Naples: Spring registration is Jan. 7, 6-8 p.m. at Fleischmann Park. A late fee of $25 will apply for registrations received after Jan. 4. Contact: gnlittleleague@gmail.com.

Naples Wildfire: Travel team seeking 11U players for spring. Contact: Randy at 239-293-3081.

Southwest Florida Swamp Rats: Travel team recruiting 10U, 11U, 12U players for the upcoming season. Call to schedule a time to meet the coaches and work out with the team. Contact: Fort Myers: Coach Keith 222-4602; Naples: Coach Cain 682-9433.

Collier County Youth Baseball: Ages 4-15. Register at naplesyouthbaseball.com.

Elite 12U Travel Baseball: Team looking to add one or two players. Must be league age 12. Requires travel at least two weekends per month. Contact: 239-262-8402.

Collier Knights: 13U team. Need three players for the spring. Contact: John Landi 289-6297.

Golden Gate Hammerheads: 11U travel team seeks players for fall, ages 10-11. Contact: Walter Rascher 340-5025.

Naples Cyclones: 11U travel team. Contact: Coach Jon Ayres 398-1769, jonayresbaseball.com, Coach Mos 986-9118.

Southwest Florida Red Hawks: 13U travel team seeking players. Contact: 682-3299.

SWFL Hawks: 13U travel team seeking players. Contact: Lou Marsala 784-5965.

BASKETBALL

SWFL Youth Basketball League: Ages 5 to 17. Contact: 267-7922, swflbasketball.com.

SWFL Hoosiers: Looking for 8th-grade travel players. Contact: Mark Chlebek 272-1451 or Sam Foggin 407-376-0502.

FOOTBALL

1-on-1 instruction: Skill position players ages 6-18. Visit skillpositionpride.com. Contact: Mike Wexler 273-2693, mwexler@skillpositionpride.com.

HOCKEY

Roller hockey: Sundays 11:30-12:30 p.m. Ages 4-8. Contact: 566-2367.

Pro elite hockey skating and skills clinic: Thursdays, 5-6 p.m. Ages 7-12. $120 for six weeks. Contact: Coach Joe 431-7090, proelitehockey.com.

RUGBY

Naples Youth Rugby League: For girls and boys ages 10-14 (grades 5-8). Winter/spring session. Contact: Eric Vasquez 289-4943, naplesyouthrugbyleague@gmail.com.

Naples Bears High School Rugby Club: Tuesday and Thursday, 4-6 p.m. Practice will be on fields behind Palmetto Ridge High. Contact: Reed Jarvi, 777-5741 or rjarvi1234@comcast.net or Facebook: Naples Bears Rugby.

SOCCER

Chicago Fire: High School Combine. Opportunity for male and female players, ages 15-18, to showcase themselves in front of college coaches. Players will also benefit from participating in soccer-specific fitness tests and a college recruiting workshop. Learn about the recruiting process, communicating with college coaches and transitioning from club (high-school) soccer to college soccer. Combine will take place at Ave Maria during the Major League Soccer, Chicago Fire's 1st team preseason training in Florida starting on Jan. 26. Online registration: https://www.allplayers.com/g/chicago_fire_high_school_combines_florida/register/select/nojs; Contact: www.floridafirejuniors.com.

Chicago Fire: Regional Talent School, an individual training program specifically designed for advanced travel soccer players looking to take their game to the next level. Program consists of three hours of high level instructional coaching per day over two days. Ages 8-14 and 15-18, boys and girls. RTS will occur during the Chicago Fire's first team preseason training, beginning Jan. 26 at Ave Maria. Online registration: http://www.youthelitesoccer.com/event/show/40443486 Contact: www.floridafirejuniors.com

Chicago Fire: Community soccer clinic/Meet the Chicago Fire: Free soccer clinic for boys and girls, U6 to U14 and U15+, to experience a unique skills session for beginning, intermediate and advanced soccer players. The Community Soccer Clinic will occur during the Chicago Fire's first team preseason training at Ave Maria. Registration: Arrive by 1 p.m. on Jan 27 to register. Group or teams should RSVP via e-mail to admin@floridafirejuniors.com. Contact: Dwight Morgan, admin@floridafirejuniors.com.

The Optimist Club of Naples: Sign up for the spring season Jan. 12 and 13 at Coastland Mall. Sign-up times are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. To be eligible the child must have been born between Aug. 1, 1994, and July 31, 2009. Visit optimistsoccer.org.

SOFTBALL

NGSLL: Registration is now open and clinics scheduled in January. Register at the clinics or online at www.ngsll.org. Jan. 12, Jan. 19, and Jan. 26. Veterans Park, 3 to 4:30 p.m. for girls 9 and under; 55 to 7 p.m. for girls 10 and older.

Gulf Coast Talons: Fast-pitch team for winter season. Tryouts for 12U & 14U teams. Ages 9-14. Jan. 12, 9-11 a.m. at St. John Neumann softball field. These teams will practice and compete through July. Contact: Mark Peterson 269-4280, GCTalons@yahoo.com.

VOLLEYBALL

South Florida Riptide: Fielding girls travel teams, 10U to 17U for USAV and AAU events. Contact: riptidevolleyball@gmail.com, riptidevolleyball.net.

WRESTLING

Bear wrestling club: Sign-ups and practice Monday and Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Palmetto Ridge High cafeteria. Ages 5-18. Cost $150. Contact: David Parmenter 239-353-0265 or Josh McIntosh 239-938-6316.

Naples Sharks: Mondays and Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m., Gulf Coast High. $100 (no charge for first practice). Contact: Dominic Del Debbio 816-520-7617, giolexi@ yahoo.com.

Naples Titans: At Golden Gate High. Tuesday and Thursday, 6-8 p.m. $100 (no charge for first practice). Contact: Dominic Del Debbio 816-520-7617, giolexi@ yahoo.com.

Wildcat wrestling club: Practices 6-7:30 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, Estero High. First grade through high school. Free. Contact: Matt Brock 851-7630, matthewjbr@leeschools.net.

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