ORANGE PARK - Former Fleming Island High soccer goalie standout Katie Nimitz has returned to Florida sunshine after getaways to the bristly midwest end of college soccer in Illinois and Kentucky.
"I'm right now setting up my first grade classroom at St. Johns Country Day School," said Nimitz, prior to a phone call interview with Clay Today Sports Editor Randy Lefko. "It's so exciting."
Nimitz, now 25 and a 2013 graduate of Fleming Island High School, will be part of St. Johns Country Day School's girls soccer coach Mike Pickett's newly formed North Florida Soccer Academy as a goalkeeping coach after three college stints.
"I had three Final Fours with Fleming Island, two years of college ball at Lynn University and two college coaching stops at Quincy University (NCAA Div. II, 11th ranked Sweet 16 finish, school record for shutouts) in Illinois and, most recently, Western Kentucky University (NCAA Div. I. conference tournament finish)," said Nimitz. "Knowing I probably would not be able to return to Western Kentucky, I decided to use my degree in elementary education and then got a call from coach Pickett."
Nimitz earned her national coaching certification in 2019.
Nimitz was integral in Fleming Island's Final Four championship runs, in 2012 and 2013, but the Golden Eagles lost twice in two years to eventual Class 4A finalist George Jenkins and once, in 2011, to 5A champion St. Thomas Aquinas.
"I hadn't give up many goals in all those seasons until that point," said Nimitz, who was instrumental in two overtime wins for the Golden Eagles en route to the Class 4A final. "It was tough to not get a ring."
Now, Nimitz joins a guy who has a whole cabinet full of rings. Mike Pickett and his North Florida Soccer Academy has a near decades worth of championship rings on his resume.
Nimitz, who played as a 12 year old for Pickett with his now-famous daughter Carson Pickett, a professional with the Orlando Pride in the women's professional league, sees the opportunity to help Pickett build his own Academy into a major force for area soccer.