Abdi Salim Strengthens the Syracuse Defense
“Some days you feel like you’re going to come back and some days you feel like you’re never going to play again,” said Abdi Salim.
On February 23, 2021, Salim exited a Syracuse men’s soccer game against Bowling Green just five minutes in with a torn ACL. The defender missed the entirety of the fall 2021 season for SU. Recovery was a bumpy road for Salim, but he persevered through all the ups and downs.
“When I would limp, I would just think that I could never sprint again,” said Salim. “We did the Olympic test and my time was slow. I thought I would never fully get back again. You do it just with patience. I took my time. The whole ACL recovery is a patience thing.”
Salim eventually made it back to game fitness ahead of the 2022 season, but there were more hurdles to jump for the Buffalo native.
“When I came back I got knocked with a little concussion. That pushed me back a little bit. I haven’t been playing in the beginning of the season just because of my game fitness. I’ve been sitting down recovering from the concussion,” detailed Salim.
After small periods of playing time, Salim finally played a full 90 minutes in an upset win at Clemson, his first full 90 minutes in over a year and a half. It’s safe to say his teammates and coaches missed his experience in the starting lineup.
Head Coach Ian McIntyre said, “He was doing well this summer and then had an injury that put him back. It’s good for him to get some additional minutes. We’ve missed Abdi. We missed him last year.”
Starting defender Buster Sjoberg talked about the connection he and Salim have in the back. “When you’re new to each other you have to communicate some things, but now they just happen like this. I know Abdi is going to cover me if I step up, and I’m going to cover Abdi if he steps up. Russell knows in the box if he claims the ball we’re going to support him and cover him so no one gets to him.”
“My team was doing all this and I wasn’t feeling part of it. Now I feel part of it and that’s the best feeling,” said Salim.
Salim rejoins a defense that ranks second in the country in goals allowed per game. The Orange are yet to concede multiple goals in a single contest this year. Salim and company travel to Blacksburg tonight to face Virginia Tech at 6 p.m.