Syracuse Prepares for First Action of the Year Following an Unusual Offseason

Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 3:27 pm by Sports Editor

By Noah Cierzan

CitrusTV’s Men’s Soccer Beat Reporter

Syracuse Head Coach Ian McIntyre put it as simple as possible in Tuesday’s media opportunities. “This has been an atypical year,” said McIntyre.

Entering his 11th year as head coach of the Orange, this season will most certainly be McIntyre’s tallest task. SU’s star player from the last two seasons, Ryan Raposo, is gone along with a slew of other players that were integral in their 2019 run to the NCAA Tournament.

When a team loses as much as the Orange have, it can be challenging to return to the win column right away. The good news for Syracuse, coach McIntyre, and his coaching staff assembled the 12th ranked recruiting class in the country.

“It’s a very new roster. It’s going to take us a little bit of time to integrate everyone. But they’ve had a good start. I think there’s some talent with some of the new guys and some of the old guys,” said McIntyre.

While Coach McIntyre is confident in the talent at his disposal, that is really just half of the equation. None of the greatest sports teams of all-time would have accomplished what they did without one thing; team chemistry. Not only does Syracuse have to attempt to achieve this with half the roster being brand new, but they also have to navigate the COVID landscape, the world finds itself in right now.

“We can’t hang out like we used to,” said Senior Midfielder Simon Triantafillou. “There’s a lot of protocols in place where we can’t freely socialize, and that’s fine.”

“I think it’s been a little more difficult,” said Junior Midfielder Hilli Goldhar. While the team could not get together as they usually would, Goldhar mentioned that there were benefits to moving to Zoom workouts in the Spring and into the Summer. “Typically, I wouldn’t have met or even spoken to the Freshman,” said Goldhar. “We had Zoom workouts once a week, so I had the opportunity to meet my teammates.”

All signs point to those weekly Zoom workouts during the offseason being a big reason why training has been successful early on.

“Everyone came back fit, and I was surprised,” said Triantafillou. “A lot of guys really worked hard in the offseason.”

Despite the unique circumstances, it appears as though the team took the virtual training seriously. McIntyre said it was important, “Not just to physically work out, but also work on our team identity.”

Oddly enough, the strange offseason has had even more benefits for SU. A team that is, most years, thrown into the fire after two weeks of training has had over a month to prepare for the seven game ACC gauntlet.

A big part of getting ready for this season has been 11 vs. 11 intrasquad scrimmages, which would not be allowed in a typical season. “It’s really given the guys something to aim toward,” said McIntyre. “We’ve seen tangible improvement.”

Coach McIntyre did admit that the team has big shoes to fill but has faith that there are guys that will have the chance to step up. The three names brought up to replace the likes of Ryan Raposo and Massimo Ferrin are Sophomore Forward Luther Archimede, and Transfers Manuel Busquets and Roque Viegas Jr.

“Patience is going to be required,” said McIntyre, “but I’m also optimistic we have some exciting pieces.”

It is hard to say exactly what this team will look like when it takes the field for the first time against another opponent on Saturday, but it is safe to say team morale is at an all-time high.

“Our goal is to win the ACC championship, that’s still been the goal, and eventually the NCAA championship in the spring,” said Triantafillou. | @ncierzan