Tom Feely helps students find the right kick

Tom Feely has always had a passion for coaching football.  Feely, a father of six sons, took a special interest in kicking when his son Jay Feely wanted to transition from soccer to football.

“When he was between his freshman and sophomore year in high school, we started going around to who were the gurus at that time,” Tom said. “We learned from different individuals and kind of created our own hybrid style, and it worked very well for Jay.”

Jay went on to become an NFL kicker and just finished his 14th season in the league.

After his success with Jay and the knowledge he had gained about the mechanics of kicking, Tom began teaching other students. He later founded Feely Athletics, which began teaching the technique of kicking, but has evolved into teaching every position in football.

“He’s constantly willing to learn new things and do research and wants to be the most knowledgeable person there is in this.  He’s not doing it for the money or anything, he’s doing this because this is something he really wants to do. He loves being able to affect so many lives in a positive manner,” Tom’s son Tyler Feely said.

Feely Athletics has become very successful over the years.  Coach Feely has coached 14 players that have made it to the NFL including his son Jay, who played with the Falcons, Giants, Dolphins, Jets, Cardinals, and Bears; Cody Parkey of the Philadelphia Eagles and Matt Boscher of the Atlanta Falcons.

Feely Athletics’ coaches teach students the importance of consistent routines that help them get better.

“I’ve seen great improvement. Every time I come out here, I’m always getting better,” Dalton Kocsis, an Armwood High School junior, said. “I strive for that and I feel like I’m getting that here.

Jesuit High School sophomore Camden Bauman says he will compete for the varsity kicking job next season and believes Feely Athletics will give him the edge he needs to win the job.

“I’ve made tremendous strides over the past couple of years with my kicking,” he said.

Feely Athletics will be breaking ground for the Feely Soccer Academy in about a year.

“We’ve already purchased land for that and are starting to develop our soccer fields, so through the outreach to all of those kids we hope that we’re going to be able to impact, as we have, many more kids down the road,” Tom said. “That’s my goal: to make our reach as big as possible.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Active mom, wife doesn’t let spina bifida slow her down

As a reporter, news anchor and movie set teacher, Kristine Schroeder has been in the spotlight for much of her life. She has an outgoing personality and is incredibly independent — but she also has a major physical disability.  Born with spina bifida, she has used crutches and a scooter her whole life to get around.

Schroeder majored in elementary education with a minor in mass communications in college, then worked as a television news reporter and anchor in several markets around the country.

She has also worked on the sets of “Dolphin Tale” and “Dolphin Tale 2” as a tutor for Nathan Gamble, the child actor who starred in the movie, when they were filming on location in Clearwater.

“It was really, really a lot of fun,” she said. “It was a great experience.”

Adding to her list of feats, she has also completed six half-marathons for charity on her hand cycle. She credits her parents for giving her the confidence to achieve her dreams.

“My mom and dad are really the reason I have the drive and the ambition that I have, because they never told me I couldn’t do something, they never said no,” Schroeder said.

Kristine has been married for 25 years, and she and her husband, Adam, have a 15-year-old son, Michael.

Her husband says: “She’s very positive and determined and still really active despite a lot of challenges, and still stays really positive.  What attracted me to her 25 years ago, still does today.”

Bloomingdale High softball athlete finds her true swing in golf

Elizabeth Jackson is a two-sport athlete whose future career could have swung one of two ways.

A senior shortstop in her fourth season at Bloomingdale High School, Jackson helped guide her team to the Class 8A State Softball Championship last year, leading the team with 38 hits and 24 home runs scored to a 27-2 record. Jackson  was named to the First Team of All-Hillsborough County Softball Team.

“It’s pretty amazing to have an opportunity to coach a player of her caliber,” said Mark Braddy, head coach of the Bloomingdale Bulls softball team.  “There are very few that come along, so I’m happy to have her.”

Jackson’s talent doesn’t stop at the softball field.  She is also an avid golfer.  She turned down an opportunity to play softball at the University of Arkansas to accept a golf scholarship to Daytona State.

“It was a really tough choice. Softball is different.  There’s only so far you can go with college,” Jackson said. “There’s really no pro league after that.  But for golf, you can make it so much farther, play in the LPGA, and ultimately, I’ve always wanted to be the No. 1 player in the world.”

Jackson wants to finish her softball career competing for the state championship once more. In six games this season, the Bulls are 5-1.  Jackson is hitting an astounding .615 with 8 hits and 9 runs scored.

“I really hope that we can repeat the state title again.  It’s probably a long shot, but we have a really strong team with a bunch of new incoming freshmen that replaced the seniors last year, and I think our shots are pretty good to go to states again,” Jackson said.

USF baseball has high hopes under new head coach

First year head baseball coach Mark Kingston is optimistic about his team’s upcoming season.

“I think the No. 1 thing is that we want to make sure we reach our potential,” Kingston said. “What that means from a win-loss standpoint, we don’t know yet.  We have a really tough schedule.  We have a lot of returning players, so I’m expecting some guys to continue to progress and get better.”

Kingston coached the past five seasons at Illinois State, where he compiled a record of 173-102 and was named Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2013. He joined the Bulls last June.

The Bulls are led by senior captain shortstop Kyle Teaf and 2014 First Team All-American Athletic Conference pitcher Jimmy Herget.  The Bulls are looking for a bounce-back season after having a tough year in 2014.

“Last year we were 27-31 I think, and that’s not good enough,” Teaf said. “We need to win more ball games, and obviously Regionals is a good goal to have, but we’re just trying to win ball games any way we can.”

The Bulls opened their 2015 campaign Feb. 13 by beating Cal State Fullerton 2-1 in the Clearwater Tournament. For more information, visit GoUSFBulls.com.