Tod Silegy teaches soccer skills at South Meadow School

Tod Silegy addresses his 48 campers before camp begins Monday.

Tod Silegy addresses his 48 campers before camp begins Monday. —STAFF PHOTO BY AIDAN BEAROR

Tod Silegy's wife, Beth, helps coaches and campers set up for the day.

Tod Silegy's wife, Beth, helps coaches and campers set up for the day. —STAFF PHOTO BY AIDAN BEAROR

The youngest group of campers warms up with their coaches, all of whom were former students of the camp. 

The youngest group of campers warms up with their coaches, all of whom were former students of the camp.  —STAFF PHOTO BY AIDAN BEAROR

Campers warm up on the field of South Meadow School.

Campers warm up on the field of South Meadow School. —STAFF PHOTO BY AIDAN BEAROR

By AIDAN BEAROR

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 07-05-2023 11:06 AM

In the face of wet weather Monday, the Tod Silegy Soccer Camp began its second session of the summer.

Silegy has run the camp since the beginning of his career as the physical education teacher at South Meadow School in Peterborough. After 23 years, Silegy will be retiring at the conclusion of the upcoming academic year, but there has been no decision as to the future of the camp. 

Silegy’s opening speech and demonstration with the counselors were moved inside to the gymnasium due to weather. No activity had been held inside since the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite the longevity of the camp, it was nearly closed due to the outbreak. However, Silegy was able to keep the tradition alive in line with pandemic-era regulations. 

“The only way I could have camp that first year of COVID was to have it outside because they had camp regulations,” said Silegy. “So I looked up the camp regulations and… I looked at it and I said, ‘I can do this.’” 

Silegy’s altered model was approved with new hours of operation. The camp now runs from 9 a.m. to noon, three hours shorter than its initial model of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On Monday, 48 campers ages 5 to 15 lined the bleachers of the South Meadow School gymnasium. Silegy introduced himself and his coaches, and spoke extensively to his campers about the importance of sportsmanship.

“The games are just the way that you can put yourself in a position to try stuff,” Silegy told his campers. “So do it with no putdowns. Remember, no one at this camp has a right to hurt anyone’s feelings.”’

Silegy has been able to embrace different leadership styles as head of the soccer camp. As the head coach of Franklin Pierce University’s soccer team from 1978 to 1999, Silegy he brought the program to eight consecutive NCAA Division II Tournament appearances. He has been the head coach of South Meadow’s soccer team for 16 years. 

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“My real philosophy is: teach kids soccer in a fun way,” said Silegy. “I have that kind of personality. As a coach, though, I’m an entirely different breed. I'm very intense.”

The eight-person coaching staff is composed of six alumni of the program. The former campers work with the two youngest groups of campers. These coaches are responsible for coaching their players through drills and the demonstration of soccer moves. Campers are shown 10 to 12 moves over the course of their week-long session at the camp. 

One coach, Garrett Rousseau, is a former student at the camp. Garrett, now a junior in high school, played for Silegy as a student at South Meadow. 

“It was a lot of fun. He definitely pushes you really hard,” said Garrett. 

As a coach, Garrett has found a new perspective on the sport.

“Coaching definitely helps you with your soccer play,” said Garrett. “You get to think about and watch the game from a whole different perspective.”

Garrett hopes to play soccer in college, alongside the other six counselor alumni. The final session of the camp will begin July 10 and ends July 14. For information, visit todsilegysoccercamp.com.