Last updateThu, 01 Oct 2015 9pm

New Youth Soccer Club opening in Palatka - will serve eastern Alachua County

PALATKA - The Florida Force Soccer Club makes its debut in Palatka, marking the return of competitive youth soccer to the area. This new club is starting with a strong foundation as several experienced coaches from around north Florida that have already joined the staff.

Club President Robert Miles and Vice-President Patrick Gould have brought their established girls team, which will be u16 for 2012/2013, into the club. The former Flagler Force / Ocala Lightning Elite Girls are now part of the Florida Force, as are Coach Baeu's u13 boys and Leo Goretti’s u16 boys teams. U-10 girls and u-12 girls coaches have also been named.

The staff includes several experienced coaches and the club will be looking to form traveling teams in various ages.

The Florida Force Soccer Club will be holding tryouts for boys and girls ages 9 to 17, in Palatka on Saturday, June 2 and Saturday, June 9 at John Theobold (aka Triangle) Park, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Other tryouts locations and questions / information can be obtained by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

All players must pre-register for tryouts at

The Florida Force will feature year round training with good coaching, the ability to play in North Florida competitive leagues and statewide tournaments while also maintaining a reasonable cost. Many of the large soccer clubs have turned youth soccer into a big business. At Florida Force Soccer, we pride ourselves on developing soccer players with solid skills, always keeping in mind that it's about the kids.

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Santa Fe’s Aaron Herring signs with Troy University

W_-_Aaron_Herring_photo_copySeated L-R: Patti Herring, Aaron Herring, Dennis Herring, SFHS football coach Tommy Keeler, SFHS Principal Bill Herschleb.

ALACHUA – Santa Fe High School (SFHS) senior Aaron Herring has received an athletic scholarship, and he made it official on Thursday, April 26 as he signed his letter of intent to play football for Division 1 Troy University. Herring, an offensive lineman as well as a defensive tackle for SFHS, will trade in his red and gray Raider jersey to play for the Trojan Warriors in Troy, Ala.

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Newberry coach and player take top honors

NEWBERRY – Though many of the sports seasons have ended, the accolades for Newberry High School’s athletics program continue.

The Florida Association of Basketball Coaches recognized Coach Ray Parrish as the Girls Coach of the Year for Division 1A and player Lasharrah Nattiel as the Girls Player of the Year for Division 1A. The recipients were selected from a statewide ballot of Florida Association of Basketball Coaches members.

Parrish has been coaching at the school for four years, and this year the season proved especially remarkable. The school made it to the FSHAA state finals, the first time in over a decade. Parrish said that the team’s success was four years in the making.

“This isn’t something that just happened overnight,” Parrish said in February as the team left for the state semifinals in Lakeland, Fla.

Though the Lady Panthers lost to Ponce de Leon High School 52-55, their wins in both the regional finals and the state semifinals left a lasting impression on the community.

The Newberry City Commission recognized the team at a meeting on March 12. At the meeting, Parrish commended the girls on their success but urged the city and commission to remember the local teams as the city’s sports tourism programs begin to take off.

“You can’t leave these kids and the community,” he said at the meeting.

Nattiel scored 19 points in the final game. She also had 15 rebounds and two assists in that game.

Newberry High School Principal Shane Andrew said the team was the first state championship for any sport at the school since 2007.

“Overall, their success certainly brought back pride to our girls basketball team,” Andrew said. “We’re extremely excited.”

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Santa Fe’s Logan Malphurs signs with Embry-Riddle

W_-_SFHS_Logan__Embry_Riddle_SigningSeated L-R: Leann Malphurs (mother), Logan Malphurs, ERAU head coach Randy Stegall. Standing L-R: Carl Malphurs (father), ERAU coach Dave Therneau, Gatorball coach Stephen Barton

ALACHUA – Santa Fe High School (SFHS) senior third baseman, Logan Malphurs, made it official on Thursday as he signed his letter of intent to play baseball for Embry-Riddle University (ERAU).  Malphurs finalized his decision to attend ERAU with a signing ceremony at Santa Fe High School where he was surrounded by coaches, family, friends, teammates, and faculty.

Santa Fe head baseball coach Todd Brooks addressed the gathering and summed up his feelings about Malphurs with three Cs—consistency, character, and confidence.  Brooks said Malphurs, who is an ideal student athlete with a 4.7 weighted grade point average, leads by example on and off the baseball field.  Brooks said he was sure that Malphurs would continue to succeed throughout life because of the strong work ethic he displays every day.

The group was also addressed by Stephen Barton, head coach and owner of Gatorball Baseball Academy, whom Malphurs has played for since 2006.  About Malphurs, Barton said, “He shows that having a dream and working hard pays off.”

Logan Malphurs thanked the large gathering, paying special attention to the many coaches who have helped him along the way.  Malphurs, who also had an offer from Jacksonville University, said he decided on Embry-Riddle because “The campus is beautiful, and they have a winning program.  I really liked the coaches, and I really feel like they are going to take care of me.”  Malphurs added, “I was just so happy that all of my hard work has paid off.  I am just so happy that the dreams I have had since I was little have come true.”

Last season, Malphurs finished with a .368 batting average and was awarded SFHS Defensive Player of the Year award.  Currently, he is hitting .310 as the Raiders enter district play this week.

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Nanoptics makes donation to Newberry Junior Olympic Archery Club


Members of the Newberry JOAD Club with Dr. Richard Farley and Nanoptics President Dr. Young Noh, along with Newberry JOAD Club Coach Robert Turner at the Easton Newberry Sports Complex. Photo by Alex Salom/Special to Alachua County Today

NEWBERRY – Nanoptics, Inc., a Gainesville based company that specializes in the manufacturing of fluorescent fiberoptics for archery sights and sight equipment, recently made a $2,000 donation to the Newberry Junior Olympic Archery Development Club.

Nanoptics President, Dr. Young Noh and Dr. Richard Farley attended the Club’s bi-monthly tournament, held at the Easton Newberry Sports Complex to make the check presentation. Archers demonstrated their skills at the event, breaking range records and many received awards from a previously held state championship. Dr. Farley, lead research engineer, shared with the Newberry archers that Nanoptics is excited to support this local archery team in its efforts to compete on a national level.

The donation will be used to sponsor archers to compete at the Easton Foundation’s Outdoor National Tournament in Hamilton, Ohio June 26-June 30. The club is sending 20 of its top archers to compete with hundreds of other archers from across the nation. The club hopes to bring home another national title, as one of its archers is the current Outdoor National Champion in his age division. Recently, the club attended the U.S. Indoor Regionals and Nationals Tournament in Conyers, Ga., and brought home 14 medals, a male national indoor championship title and a second place in the national female division.

The mission of the Newberry Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) Club is to promote the sport of archery, while encouraging sportsmanship and volunteerism. The club, which is a non-profit, volunteer-led organization, has 70 members ranging in age from eight to eighteen. The archers train at the Easton Newberry Sports Complex, under the direction of Head Coach Robert Turner and Assistant Coaches David Anthony, Eric Blalock, and Joey Todd.

Anyone wishing to join Nanoptics in their efforts to help the Newberry JOAD Club compete in Hamilton, Ohio this summer, visit the club web site at and make a tax-deductible Paypal donation.

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