Starting on January 22nd, the Syracuse Orange men's soccer team began the rollout of their new commitment announcements through Instagram. The prospect of these new talents should certainly have supporters of the orange and blue buzzing. Let's take a look at the five new members of the Syracuse 2024 roster:
Elton Chifamba | Rising SR | Central Midfield | Clemson
As an Ohioan myself, I have had the pleasure of watching Chifamba live since his high school days, and I can confidently say that Syracuse got a good one. A diminutive defensive midfielder with three lungs and a great football mind, Chifamba profiles similarly to former Syracuse midfielder and national champion, Amferny Sinclair (‘22).
Chifamba’s biggest contributions to the Orange will be his ball-winning ability and composure to relieve his team in tight situations. Despite falling out of favor for National Champions Clemson, Chifamba still registered over 600 minutes across 16 games last season. In the 2022 season, Chifamba’s demonstrated his engine as he clocked 1,500 minutes across 20 games. There is little doubt that this ACC-tested national champion can have a great positive impact on the Orange.
Carlos Zambrano | Rising JR | Attacking Midfield | Daytona State
Not that you have to buy tickets for Syracuse soccer games, but Carlos Zambrano is the type of player who makes your ticket worthwhile. Having to take the JUCO route to arrive at Syracuse, Zambrano clearly has the mentality to step up his game at SU soccer stadium.
On the pitch, the creative midfielder is a true entertainer. Zambrano has stepovers, flicks, and tricks in abundance, along with a hunger for goal. In 32 matches at Daytona State, Zambrano racked up an impressive 13 goals and 16 assists as the squads feature player. Although Zambrano might struggle to adjust to the highest level at first, watch this space.
Ernest Bawa | Rising GR | Winger/Forward | University of North Carolina
If you have tapped in to any of the heavyweight clashes between Syracuse and UNC over the last two seasons, there is no doubt that Ernest Bawa caught your eye. Bawa is described as a sparkplug of a player who always gives 100%. The Ghanaian-born midfielder has an amazing first touch, is a great dribbler, and has a flare for the dramatic
Bawa also has the ability to score from anywhere; free-kicks, headers, set-pieces, you name it. Across his three seasons with UNC, Bawa racked up nearly 1,600 minutes, ten goals, and three assists. Bawa is the type of player whose impact is not always represented by the numbers, but the threat he provides with his pace and talent will be a valuable resource for the Orange.
Sam Layton | Rising GR | Central Midfield | Southern Illinois University
Sam Layton has had a long journey to Syracuse, NY, heralding from Australia, the midfielder also spent time with the academy of Burnley FC in England before his time with Southern Illinois. Layton was a key cog in the midfield of an SIUE team that didn't lose a game until their NCAA tournament matchup against Memphis. Layton was rewarded for his efforts with a place in the Ohio Valley Conference second team.
Across his last three years of play, Layton has registered a ridiculous 3000 minutes. Layton also scored one goal and provided eight assists from his conservative midfield position. There is no doubt that by bringing Layton in, Syracuse has acquired a savvy veteran of the college game who will be looking to take on this new challenge.
Daniel Burko | Rising SR | Forward | Lincoln Memorial University
From the South Athletic Conference (SAC) of NCAA DII, Ian McIntyre has found a potential gem in the Norwegian-born Daniel Burko. In his lone year with the LMU Railsplitters, Burko filled up the stat sheet and the trophy cabinet. In the 2023 season, Burko was named Regional Player of the Year, First Team All-Region, SAC Offensive Player of the Year, All-SAC First Team, and eventually, a first-team DII All-American.
In 19 games with LMU, Burko scored twenty and assisted three, an incredible rate of 1.2 goal contributions per game. On the field, it is easy to see that Burko is a top athlete. Big and strong with great body control, Burko even ran track at his previous school (Waldorf University). Burko’s best trait is certainly his knack for goals as highlight reels demonstrate his composure and top-notch placement. One thing is for sure, Burko will be able to test the best goalkeepers in Division One from the moment he puts on the orange and blue.
We’ll update with the full incoming class once it’s finalized.