Derryfield players conclude regular season trying to find strength in tragedy

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Coach Pete Miller (courtesy Deb Cousineau)

MANCHESTER, NH – The Derryfield School community is mourning the loss of girls’ varsity soccer coach Peter Miller, who passed away over the weekend.

Miller, who was finishing his second year as the head coach at Derryfield, had a long history of playing and coaching soccer across New England, with a particular focus on teaching younger female players.

That expertise impressed Deb Cousineau, whose ex-husband Jeffrey Cousineau coaches the boys’ team, and whose daughter Zoe played for Miller at Derryfield and the FC Stars club team.

“He was amazing as far as the girls were concerned,” said Deb. “He could coach girls and get them to have fun while doing it, he always got things across in a way without being a drill sergeant.”

Derryfield’s final regular season game takes place on Thursday in Laconia, rescheduled from its original time on Friday.

Coming into Tuesday afternoon, Derryfield holds the 13th and final playoff spot in Division III, six points ahead of Laconia.

Although the loss struck Zoe hard, she says the Derryfield community, especially the boys’ team, has rallied around the girls’ team following the tragedy.

According to Zoe, players on the team will have “Play for Pete” on their cleats, thinking about the impact their coach made on them at Derryfield as well as early on in their careers.

“He was just an amazing person,” said Zoe. “Whenever we had a bad game, he knew just what to say.”

Miller’s sudden death was due to a “cardiac related event” as described in a letter sent to the team by the head of Derryfield School, Dr. Mary Halpin Carter.

A Nashua resident, Miller will be laid to rest on Friday morning in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, but an additional remembrance is being held on Derryfield’s practice field at 3 p.m. on Saturday. There, all of his former players are being asked to come in their old uniforms and share memories of their time playing soccer with Miller.