Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Newsome soccer players take time from killer record to help others

Wolves goalkeeper Teena Fehling stands around the presents headed for needy families.

Courtesy of Diana Fehling

Wolves goalkeeper Teena Fehling stands around the presents headed for needy families.

LITHIA — The Newsome girls soccer team is off to a torrid start, beginning the season a perfect 17-0 entering tonight's game at Armwood.

The nationally ranked Wolves have been superb on the attacking end, stout defensively and suffocating through the midfield.

Yet with all the goals and the ballooning wins, Newsome's finest assist this year came off the field.

The Wolves donated time and gifts to the less fortunate through Angel Tree during the winter break. The program is run by Ministry of Hope, a Lithia nonprofit group that assists families with food, clothing and appliances throughout the year and especially during the holidays.

"We wanted to find something that the girls could participate in as a group and give something back to this community," Newsome coach Kelly Townsend said. "The girls chose this and just ran with it."

The Angel Tree at the Sweetbay on FishHawk Boulevard was adorned with angels made of construction paper. Names of needy area families were written on the angels, in hopes that store customers of would help out in any way possible.

"It had how many children, if any, the families had and their clothing sizes on the angels," said Diana Fehling, a team mom who helped organize the donations. "Some were women who had recently become widows. One family had just lost their father to cancer."

Townsend liked the idea and hoped "three or four" girls would participate. Fehling said she "would have been happy if 10 or so got involved."

Twenty-three did.

Defender Jackie Simpson said she picked a family with a girl because "I felt I could relate to her."

"It felt good to help families from around here that aren't as fortunate as us," she added.

The team's gifts ranged from children's walkers, high chairs and DVDs to food and clothing. Jackie said the number of players who participated didn't surprise her, but the generosity did.

"There were everything from baby gifts to bicycles," she said. "It was pretty cool."

The team gathered at Lindsay Milligan's house and wrapped the gifts. A few days before Christmas, the Wolves took the presents to the Ministry of Hope.

"It took three full carloads," Fehling, whose daughter Teena is the Wolves' goalkeeper, said. "And I mean packed in the front, back and trunk."

Ministry of Hope founder Janeen Long said the girls' kindness left an impression. She also hopes they learned a lesson.

"It teaches them while they're young to care about others so when they grow up they will know to care about others," Long said. "Unless you learn that when you're young, you can't comprehend that we have people out there living in trailers with no windows in them."

Newsome, which returns to action this week after winning the Sarasota Holiday Classic over the break, is poised to make a run at the state title when district play begins Jan. 18. Yet their assist off the field stands out most to Townsend.

"Honestly, what they did is the thing I'm most proud of them for this year," she said. "Hopefully we an make it an annual thing."

Brandon Wright can be reached at

How to help

To donate to Ministry of Hope, call Janeen Long at (813) 685-5047.

Newsome soccer players take time from killer record to help others 01/06/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 6, 2011 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg's Sebastien Bourdais vows to return for IndyCar finale

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Sebastien Bourdais was in one of the best race cars he'd ever had, so fast that most of his competitors thought he would win the pole for the Indianapolis 500.

    Sebastien Bourdais does physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. Bourdais broke his pelvis, hip and two ribs in an accident during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 20. He plans to return home to St. Petersburg soon to continue therapy. [Associated Press]
  2. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  3. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  4. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …