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Syracuse men’s soccer 2023 season preview

We don’t rebuild, we reload...

2022 Division I Men’s Soccer Championship
I’m going to keep using this
Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

I can confirm, it is absolutely impossible for the Syracuse Orange men’s soccer team to improve on their 2022 campaign.

If you weren’t aware, they brought home the treble, including hardware from the ACC regular season, ACC tournament and the ever coveted NCAA tournament. From a team that at the beginning of the season was unranked and unknown to the top dog in the country, rolling through both tournaments and taking the final home on penalties, it’s been a wild ride this last season for the Orange.

This season, they come in ranked preseason number one. With as much turnover as they have had it seems other coaches are taking notice of what’s happening lately on the Hill and the offseason moves weren’t the wrong ones.

Prior to 2022, I noted the following, “Coach Ian McIntyre looks like he’s losing a huge chunk of the squad to graduation, then comes back in and reloads through the transfer portal and recruiting to have a completely new look, but still quality side.” This can just double for the 2023 season, but add in a boatload of new expectations. The end of the 2022 campaign saw Nathan Opoku signed by Leicester City and five Orange drafted in the MLS SuperDraft. Add to that some other departing seniors and you have a squad that was absolutely decimated at the end of the year, but as noted, Mac doesn’t rebuild, he reloads. The squad has grabbed an amazing number of transfers and international talent that will bring things back up to what has become the Syracuse standard in no time, it seems.


Syracuse finished their exhibition schedule 3-0 against Canisius (4-0), St. Bonaventure (5-0) and Marist (4-0). If those scores are any indication, this team will put the ball in the back of the net, albeit against lesser competition. The early out of conference schedule seems to be set well to get the squad gelling before the meat of the ACC schedule comes to town. They open with a Providence team receiving votes in the polls, but don’t face a ranked team until the road game at #18 Wake Forest on September 16th. Follow that up with an away match at #20 Cornell three days later and a home match against #5 Pitt three days later and you’re in the murderer’s row of the schedule. Then travel to #4 Duke to finish off that thirteen day stretch and we’ll really see where this team stands. Also of note will be the 1pm home match against #9 Clemson on October 15th, those have historically always been great contests and an afternoon fall day should be the perfect soccer showcase.

2022 Division I Men’s Soccer Championship Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images


Russell Shealy, Christian Curti, Abdi Salim, Amferny Sinclair, Curt Calov, Nathan Opoku, Colin Biros, Levonte Johnson, Julio Fulcar, Louie Bulger, Camden Holbrook, Parker Kump, Noah Lechelt, Marc Chin, Lucas Daunhauer

That’s eight of eleven starters, including the core of your defense, your starting goalkeeper, your entire front line and some midfield steel (and title winning penalty kick taker) in Sinclair. There’s a lot to make up for here from a team that had great chemistry and got the job done swimmingly over the back half of the season.


Returners - Julius Rauch (Jr.), Andrea DiBlasio (So.), Cici Pagano (Jr.)

Rauch is the only returner with significant minutes to his name. He’ll look to be one of the anchors up top and take on a more prominent role this season. Local favorite Pagano also got some time last year in a super sub sort of duty netting two goals in 19 appearances. Where he sits in the rotation will largely be determined by the influx of transfer talent.

Newbies - Nicholas Kaloukian (So.), Rodrigo Almieda (Gr.), Daniel Diaz Bonilla (Gr.), Michael Suski (Sr.)

  • Kaloukian is a Michigan transfer, and was All-Big 10 Freshman last season with four goals and an assist.
  • Almieda is a Portuguese grad transfer from Niagara, who netted 10 and 2 last year for the Purple Eagles and was All-MAAC second team,
  • Diaz Bonilla is a grad transfer from Princeton with 4 and 3 in the Ivy League.
  • Suski, who will be rocking the #99 kit, is a Boston College transfer, their top offensive talent in 2021, who wasn’t on the roster last year and looks to be returning to form with the Orange this season.

We’ll see against Providence what this group shakes out to be as there are so many unknowns.

2022 Division I Men’s Soccer Championship Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images


Returners - Jeorgio Kocevski (Sr.), Lorenzo Boselli (Sr,), Michal Gradus (Jr.), Giona Leibold (Jr.), Trevor Carabin (So.), Stephen Betz (Sr.), Jackson Glenn (Sr.), Tony Shaw (Sr.), Aidan Arber (Jr.), Nino Pagano (So.)

Kocevski (All-ACC Third Team/NCAA All-Tournament Team) and Leibold played as many minutes as humanly possible and are likely in pen to start this season. Liverpool native Kocevski started most of last season and there’s no reason to see that change. Leibold was named to the ACC preseason watch list for the year. While he didn’t garner any honor last year, Leibold running that left flank was a huge part of the success of the squad. Boselli was a standout at points, working under the forwards and providing offensive spark through the tournament runs. Glenn saw some solid minutes over the course of the campaign in a more defensive role. The rest of the returners are relatively unknown quantities based on play time last year.

Newbies - Stephen Hasse (Sr.), Mateo Leveque (Jr.), Felipe D’Agostini (Gr.), Ezra Widman (Fr.), Nate Edwards (Sr.), Josh Belluz (Gr.)

  • Hasse is a All-MAAC standout from Niagara and offensive facilitator with eight assists last season.
  • Leveque was a 2021 Big East Freshman of the Year and 2022 All-Big East First Team member out of the Nice academy. He’ll look to slot right into that midfield and make an impact.
  • D’Agostini is a Brazilian transfer from Oral Roberts scoring nine and dishing six assists for them last season, garnering Summit League Player of the Year honors.
  • Widman is the only true freshman on the roster. The attacking midfielder is a product of the RedBull and NE Revolution academies.
  • Edwards is a Brampton, Ontario native, filling our Brampton quota for the season. He comes from Purdue Fort Wayne and looks to slot in as a right wing back in the rotation.
  • Belluz, another Toronto area talent is a holding midfielder that comes to the Orange after a standout career at Villanova that was curtailed last season by injury.
2022 Division I Men’s Soccer Championship Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images


Returners - Noah Singlemann (Gr.), Gavin Wigg (Sr.), Buster Sjoberg (Gr.), Olu Oyegunle (Jr.)

Singlemann, the versatile right wingback is in pen as a starter, as are Sjoberg and Oyegunle. Sjoberg, who was injured down the stretch last season, drafted by MLS, but returned for his grad season with the Orange looks to slot back in as the central defender in the three man backline. Oyegunle is the likely left center back and manned that spot admirably through the season into the post season run. Wigg came into the program last season and garnered some spot minutes.

Newbies - Pablo Pedregosa (Gr.), Andre Cutler-DeJesus (Jr.), Gabriel Mikina (Sr.)

  • Pedregosa was a starter for NC State last season and the Spaniard looks to be in contention for the right center back spot.
  • Cutler-DeJesus is a Marist transfer, which worked well from the Orange with Christian Curti in the recent past.
  • Mikina is another Niagara transfer. All of your Purple Eagles are becoming Orange at this point.


Returners - Sam Coss (So.), Jahiem Wickham (So.)

The pair of sophomores didn’t see any run last season with Shealy and Daunhauer in front of them, so there’s not much information out there on who stands where. Wickham did get the nod in the first scrimmage, but they played three keepers, so that may not be the best litmus test. Much like a lot of the position battles, we’ll see where this lands when the season starts.

Newbies - Jason Smith (Jr.), Tomas Hut (Jr.)

  • Hut was the starter for Army last season, maintaining a 1.12 GAA on the season over 14 matches.
  • Smith started two years at Utah Valley after coming out of the Barca Residency Academy. The California native had good showings in the WAC and a clean sheet against Oregon State last season.

This squad seems to have a ton of promise, and a lot of unknowns. I’d say the highs are as high as we’ve seen and we have no idea where the floor is. A good bit of talent has come through the door this offseason to replace what left.

Their regular season opener is tonight, Thursday, August 24th against Providence, a team receiving votes in the Top 25 up at Syracuse Soccer Stadium. Coverage will be streaming on the ACCNX.

Kickoff is set for 7pm and there will be an unveiling of the NCAA Championship banner about 15 minutes before the start of the game.