College sports take students beyond the classroom and into a sense of community, and Tony Galeano wants to go another step further and take his team beyond the field and into life. The newly named College of Southern Maryland men’s soccer coach will be drawing from his experience coaching in previous years to create a program that is both strong and holistic.
This is not the first time Galeano has coached soccer at CSM – he was the men’s soccer coach from 2002 to 2011, and then coached women’s soccer in 2015. Both times he stopped coaching, life was taking him down different paths and away from coaching, but he has managed to return, ready to apply new experiences and knowledge to the job.
When he left the men’s team, his day job had changed and making time for the soccer team became impossible. Still, the team won the regional tournament that year, with the coaching staff and team that he had trained and the program he had started. Galeano said the winning season, despite his departure, is a testament to the kind of team work that is required for any successful sports program. No team is just one person, and setting a strong foundation is just as important as any one team member’s performance.
As he returns this year for a season that will officially begin in August, Galeano said he has a plan for a comprehensive program that will focus not just on the physical skills of the players, but on their character, as well.
“Athletics is a good way to get prepared for life,” Galeano said. “We want to find good student athletes that are students first, athletes second. … We want the players who wear our jerseys to be seen as good role models and citizens.”
Galeano said he has worked for CSM in some capacity since he was 16 years old, and now that he is 41, he feels he understands the mission of the college better than ever, as well as his part in it. He is currently the aquatics and community services coordinator.
Michelle Ruble, CSM’s executive director of student life and athletics, agreed.
“We are happy to have Tony back with CSM athletics as a head coach,” Ruble said. “He brings with him a wealth of knowledge in the sport of soccer, the recruiting landscape of Southern Maryland and the complexity of being the head coach of a junior college sport.”
Ruble said Galeano understands the college’s desire to go beyond the classroom and build students’ character and sense of community, as well. “Working with students outside of the classroom is a priority of Tony’s and plays a large part in retention efforts on the team,” she said.
Taking breaks from coaching allowed Galeano to take a step back and consider all angles of the athletics programs. His teams were successful before – his team won the conference in 2005, 2006 and 2008, and won the regional championships in 2003, 2005, and 2006 – but he knows he can do more.
“I’ve spent the last few years learning and expanding my knowledge of the game,” he said. “I just want to get better than before, make it more well-rounded and help the students make sure they are better prepared for life. Soccer is a good vehicle to help them learn about life, and we get to help them to do that.”
Galeano’s assistant coaches are Rodney Fugitt and Simon French. Both have extensive backgrounds in coaching, both for CSM and all over the world.
For information on athletics at CSM, visit http://www.csmd.edu/athletics.