Meet Our Highly Experienced Staff
Mike is a lifelong New Yorker and entrepreneur who grew up on the Upper West Side, loving all sports, especially baseball. In 2002, at the age of eighteen, Mike founded Kids of Summer Sports, an instructional recreational sports organization based in Manhattan's Riverside Park. Kids of Summer currently trains over 800 children per year in baseball, basketball, flag football, and more through summer camps, school break programs, after-school, travel teams, and more. In 2014, Mike partnered with Juan Hernandez to found the NY Bluebirds Youth Baseball Organization. The mission was to provide competitive youth baseball players the opportunity to train, learn, and play in a professional atmosphere with the best coaching and training platform in New York City. Mike's responsibilities include the administration of the organization, player recruitment, scheduling, and all parent communication. He loves seeing players improve, gain confidence, and succeed both on and off the field and looks forward to the Bluebirds continuing to grow through the support of its wonderful families for many years to come. Mike graduated cum laude from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University in 2005 with a dual major in broadcast journalism and political science while playing for the Syracuse University baseball club, where he was elected two-time team captain. Prior to that, he attended the Bronx High School of Science and played Varsity Baseball for three years, where he was named team captain and awarded the school's Iron Man Award three years in a row for never missing a single game or practice. He amassed a career .463 batting average and was selected to the All-Bronx and All-Senior Team by the New York Daily News, where he represented the Bronx/Manhattan All-Star team as the starting first baseman. When not near a baseball field or playing/watching sports, he enjoys the beach, traveling, and spending time with his wife, Emily, and two daughters.
Juan was born in the Dominican Republic. His family immigrated to NYC when he was 2 years old, and since then, he has been a proud New Yorker. Juan founded the NY Bluebirds with Mike Handell with one goal in mind: To develop the best baseball players in NYC! Juan brings over a decade of experience developing high-performing teams and players. His training philosophy stems from a unique combination of past experiences as a player, coach, and instructor and from the baseball professionals he frequently consults. As the director of operations and player development, Juan is responsible for the training and development of all the players in the organization. He is also responsible for the training and development of the coaching staff. Juan played 4 years of Varsity baseball at DeWitt Clinton High School where he earned All-City recognition junior and senior year. He later trained and played in the Dominican Republic, where he had the opportunity to join the Cleveland Indians organization as an infielder. After graduating college, he earned the opportunity to play for the Azules de Mexicali of the Mexican Professional Baseball League. Juan graduated from Ramapo College in 2009 with a B.A. in Economics with international honors. In 2011, he graduated from the University at Albany, SUNY, with a Master's degree in Economics. When he is not at work Juan likes to spend time with his wife, Mariel, his young son and friends, and family.
Coach Luis played Division I baseball at Monroe College as a pitcher and has been coaching with the Bluebirds since 2022. He not only coaches our 13U Blue squad but also serves as one of the head pitching coaches for the organization, working at The NEST training center to provide private and small group pitching training to both Bluebirds and non-Bluebirds players. Luis is dedicated to his players and offers both technical expertise and a passion for the game while pushing them to challenge themselves as players.
Brian Handell was born to play and coach sports. Raised on the Upper West Side, he had a successful athletic career at Beacon High School, where he won a PSAL baseball championship as their starting centerfielder and was the leading scorer in all of the PSAL as captain of the soccer team with 32 goals in 13 games. He went on to attend the University of Delaware as a member of their Division I soccer team.
Brian has been developing his passion for coaching at Kids of Summer Sports since 2010 and is now the co-director and in charge of programming for the summer camp, making it a true family business with his brother Mike. In addition, Brian was brought on to help with the administration of the Bluebirds organization with scheduling logistics, COVID-19 safety protocols, and practice and team coordination.
In the Fall of 2018, Brian was hired as the head varsity soccer coach at his alma mater, Beacon High School, a city powerhouse, and in 2019, he led them to a PSAL New York City Class A title. Brian was also formerly the Assistant Athletic Director at The Computer School, a public middle school on the Upper West Side, where he served as head coach for boys baseball, boys and girls basketball, and boys' soccer and previously was a head coach for our Bluebirds teams.