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McIntyre brings changes to SU, veterans learn to adapt

first_img Comments Published on September 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Sixty feet. That’s how the soccer team thinks of itself. Thirty players and 60 feet. Last year’s team did not view itself so simplistically. It was mired in team politics about the firing of former head coach Dean Foti. Players became more concerned with personal disagreements and less concerned with this simple number. But this year, all that really matters are those feet and what they do on the field. Of those 30 players, only 10 were on the team last year to notice the changes that have occurred since Foti was released and new head coach Ian McIntyre was hired. The veterans have embraced the new players and the changes that came with McIntyre’s coaching. ‘It can be a little bit awkward when you’re returning and you see the number of new faces in the locker room exceeds those of the returners,’ McIntyre said. ‘But the older guys are leading by example. I refer to them as the cultural architects of our program. They set the standard, and ultimately they’re the leaders of the group.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder text The most obvious change is in the playing style. McIntyre tried out a couple of formations, but for now has settled on a 4-5-1, which fosters an attacking style of play. In this formation, there is only one defensive midfielder, said senior forward L.J. Papaleo. Last year, there were two. This allows more players to push forward, leaving only five field players and a goalie behind to defend. Last year, the team played a possession game, keeping the ball in its own half and advancing little by little. For most of the returnees, the adjustments have been minimal. Senior midfielder Geoff Lytle said he does not feel he has had to make any changes to this style of play. But Papaleo has had to get used to receiving the ball up top instead of having it going through the midfield. ‘There’s more playing direct,’ Papaleo said. ‘I’m more the point man. I hold up the ball, lay it off to a midfielder. Whereas last year, it was more play the ball through to me, and I’d run on to it.’ Aside from changes on the field, the 10 returnees have encountered changes in the chemistry of the team, as well. In fact, Lytle said team chemistry was the biggest difference this year. As old and new players have gotten to know each other, integration has not been a problem. ‘In the locker room, everyone talks to everyone,’ Papaleo said. ‘Last year there were cliques, and that kind of brought our team down. Everyone’s just one unit together.’ Starting over the summer, the veterans reached out to the newcomers by sending them letters and e-mails. Sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Jones helped organize the communication. Federico Agreda, a forward who transferred from Garden City Community College, was one of the recipients. Agreda said he found the information helpful upon his arrival at Syracuse. ‘It said (things) about the life here,’ he said. ‘To keep yourself away from the trouble, the parties, the drinking. How to manage your time, especially because there are so many people here. And control yourself, because we’re part of a team here.’ This team’s slogan for the year is ‘Maximum effort is the minimum requirement.’ This saying comes from McIntyre, and so does the motivation to live by it. Whether it was the advice in Jones’ letters or an atmosphere formed during preseason, Lytle said the team has taken the saying to heart this year. Last year, it might have just been a slogan. So 60 feet, all clad in laced-up cleats with Nike socks, walk on to the field as the SU soccer team. There is no telling which players were there last year and which are just getting used to the grass of the SU Soccer Stadium. There is just one obstacle left for the returners to overcome. Said Lytle: ‘The hardest part would be understanding the new guys from Sweden.’ alguggen@syr.edulast_img read more