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Syracuse men’s soccer: welcoming the 2024 freshman class (+1 more transfer)

With nearly 20 players departing Central New York, Coach McIntyre has brought in a promising wave of new talent

Canada v Mali - Group B: FIFA U-17 World Cup Photo by Robertus Pudyanto - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

The 2023 season was one of slight disappointment for the Syracuse Orange men’s soccer team as the side failed to reach the heights of their 2022 National Championship campaign.

With nearly 20 players moving on from the SU Soccer Stadium, Head Coach Ian McIntyre has had to do what he does best and find fresh talent to re-tool his squad. Given that the team only had one freshman on the roster last season, they will certainly look to bring down the squad’s average age with a plethora of talented youngsters set to join the ranks of the orange and blue.

Let's take a look at some of the recruits who will suit up for the Orange for the first time in 2024:

Jack Grossman | Walnut Creek, CA | Midfield

Grossman comes in from California having gained some MLS academy experience as well as featuring for Ballistic United Soccer Club. Despite his diminutive size, Grossman is a powerhouse in the midfield. Combative and tenacious, Grossman is not afraid to throw himself into a challenge and clean up messes in the midfield for his team. On the ball, Grossman is an excellent passer, possessing the ability to set up his teammates from all over the field. He is also a set piece specialist, comfortable with shooting or crossing from free-kicks, as well as putting in dangerous corners. With his tenacity and creativity, as well as technical ability, Grossman has the capability to rack up goal contributions even with his defensive workload.

Chimere Omeze | Brampton, Ontario, Canada | Defense

Considered a major talent in Canada, Omeze was a feature player for the Canadian team at the 2023 edition of the U17 World Cup. With his athletic build, Omeze could feature as a center back in a back three or back four, and could also play as a right back in a four. Omeze is an excellent game reader, almost always accurately predicting the flight of the ball. Because of this trait, Omeze is a massive threat for his team on offensive set-pieces. On the defensive side, Omeze uses his instincts to clear away crosses and beat attackers to the ball in important moments.

Alex Wharton | Smyrna, GA | Forward

Alex Wharton is a true one-man-show on the pitch who prefers to play in creative winger positions. Incredibly direct as a player, Wharton has gained experience with the Guyana U17 team as well as in the MLS Next. The first attribute that will stand out to any viewer of Wharton’s game is his daring nature and ability in 1v1 situations. Wharton has a knack of embarrassing his defender on his route to goal. Small and agile, Wharton’s low center of gravity allows him to slip past tackles and defenders. Wharton also has a ton of step-overs and tricks in his locker. When on the ball, Wharton is a constant threat and always looks to drive his team upfield and into attacking positions.

Quinn Olcott | Fayetteville, NY | Midfield

Gaining experience with Rochester FC, Olcott will be the next local in the team this season. A massive presence in the midfield, Olcott is very tall and physically imposing. An all-rounder in the middle, Olcott is basically good at everything you could ask of from a central midfielder. In defense, he uses his size and length to body smaller attackers, win aerial duels, and help out his defenders. On the front foot, Olcott is a progressive passer and can even pop up with the occasional goal.

Sam Sery | Gastonia, NC | Defense

Sery gained his experience for the big time in the academy of Charlotte FC, as well as at Forestview High School. Sery profiles as a true wideman, with an archetype similar to that of Nate Edwards. The Carolina native also plays the exact same position as he can play right back, right wingback, or even right midfield. Agile and with a strong motor, Sery makes his way up and down the touchline, smoking defenders going forward, and catching them up on his way back.

Sachiel Ming | Southampton, Bermuda | Forward

Ming was an All-American this year for the Northwood School where he was the feature player. Ming has a broad skillset, meaning he can be played all across the front line, or even in more attacking midfield positions. Similar to Alex Wharton, Ming is a direct dribbler who likes to take on his man. Ming is a nightmare for the opposition with his tricky feet and pace. He also possesses great goal-scoring prowess with his ability to finish from multiple positions and with multiple techniques. Ming’s flair will certainly catch the eyes of the Syracuse faithful in the coming season and going forward.

Abokye Bikyeombe | Herriman, UT | Midfield

Of the Syracuse signees so far, Bikyeombe might just have the highest levels of experience. Born in Tanzania, Bikyeombe has been featuring for the Real Salt Lake second team since the young age of 15! As a player, Bikyeombe is an absolute workhorse in the midfield, filling gaps and stopping breaks wherever he can. Having already played against grown men for the last few years of his life, Bikyeombe will certainly have the strength, skill, and stamina to feature in college soccer from his first day in Central New York.

Kelvin da Costa | Maputo, Mozambique | Defense

Having played for NYCFC’s MLS Next Affiliate, as well as Woodstock Academy, Da Costa already has experience playing at some of the highest levels for his age. Da Costa has a broad skillset and is a naturally elite athlete, meaning he has the ability to play many roles throughout the defense and midfield. I personally think he would fit Syracuse best as one of the wide center backs in a back three. Da Costa is a Rolls-Royce on the ball, always looking composed, and often beating a man or two whilst dribbling into midfield. Da Costa also has the passing ability to pick out his teammates anywhere across the field from his defensive positions. On top of these progressive skills, da Costa is a tough tackler and top-quality game reader on the defensive end.

Garrett Holman | Hamburg, NJ | Defense

Whilst I have high hopes for all of these incoming players, I think Holman could develop into an MLS-level player. He appears to be an amazing talent and maybe the pick of the bunch. Having gained experience with the New England Revolution Academy as well as Phillips Andover Academy, Holman has experience playing at a high level. Holman has a DI body right now, standing at an imposing six-foot-three, Holman is also muscular and strong. With his natural height and athleticism, the Jersey native is an absolute menace in the air and a major contributor on both attacking and defensive set-pieces. Holman can also be seen using his length and strength to put in some outstanding tackles.

Kristjan Fortier | Toronto, Ontario | Midfield

With experience gained through his time in the Toronto FC Academy and at the St. Michaels College School, Fortier has already seen a fair share of challenging opponents in his career, matching up against some of the top talents in Canada. Fortier has also made several trips to Europe, training with top academies such as Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Fortier seems to profile as a true ‘8’ or box-to-box midfielder. With Fortier’s size and experience, I expect him to contribute on both ends as an all-around midfielder.

Dominic Bell | Orlando, FL | Defense

At a young age, Bell has already gained high-level experience with Orlando City FC’s B side. Despite this, Bell is still very young and should have plenty of room to improve. A large presence, Bell will almost certainly feature at center back for the Orange where he is most comfortable. Considered a major asset at Orlando City, Bell will certainly be able to develop further at Syracuse. Bell’s experience with the US National Team youth setups should give him even more confidence to kick on in the NCAA.

Transfer: Michael Acquah | Rising SO | Forward | Lindsey Wilson College

Just after our recent publication of articles detailing the students transferring in to join the Orange in 2024, the team added the announcement for their final transfer of the season. Hailing from Ghana, the forward spent his freshman season at Lindsey Wilson College, the same school Nathan Opoku attended before joining ‘Cuse. In his 16 games with the Blue Raiders, Acquah scored seven and assisted one.

Acquah has a true forward’s brain, often seen making intelligent runs off the ball and popping up in the right places at the right times. With his six-foot frame, Acquah is strong and powerful, but this doesn’t limit him from being an excellent dribbler. Acquah demonstrates great body control, getting low to the ground to set defenders off balance and finding the correct moment to strike. The forward is both creative and clinical and should be capable of featuring at striker or winger for the Orange.

In a recent comment, Syracuse Head Coach Ian McIntyre emphasized his excitement to begin work with the rebuilt roster

“We are excited to welcome an outstanding group of young men to campus this spring semester. It is a talented group with a tremendous amount of college soccer experience among them. Each player is a wonderful addition to our locker room and to our Syracuse soccer culture. We will need time to grow and evolve as a new team, but we are excited to get to work and see how much we can progress as a group this spring.”

With nine players transferring in, and an additional 11 set to join as freshmen, McIntyre will certainly have quite a bit on his hands to build a cohesive team. Fortunately, the seasoned ‘Cuse Head Coach has plenty of experience handling off-seasons with high turnover in his squad.

Stay tuned for future updates on the state of Syracuse Men’s Soccer.