Chris Nanco looks to continue hot start against Notre Dame

The SU sophomore has scored two goals this season to spark the Orange to a 4-0 start.

Syracuse soccer has gotten off to a great start this season, winning its first four games.

Sophomore forward Chris Nanco has been one of the biggest reasons for that success.

Nanco started the season by scoring in his first game and leading the Orange to the Central New York Classic, where he was named the offensive MVP. After scoring only four times last season, he already has a pair through SU’s first four games, including the only goal in a 1-0 Orange victory over St. John’s.

“The difference between this year and last year is that we basically changed our formation so I’m playing higher up the field and I don't have as much as a defensive role as last year,” Nanco said. “I guess I have more energy to play and play longer minutes.”

One of the fastest players on the field, Nanco speeds through defenders leaving them behind in the dust whenever he’s attacking. He attributes his stamina to SU’s training regimen.

He said the competitive atmosphere drives each player to work harder every day, and apparently it works.

“I guess my dribble got better during training with the guys supporting me,” Nanco said.

Chris is also used to winning. Before coming to Syracuse, he played four years at St. Edmund Campion Secondary School in his hometown of Brampton, Ontario. He led the Bears to back-to-back OFSAA championships, including an undefeated 33-0-1 season in 2012.

When asked what makes Nanco such a great player and teammate, his former coach at Campion, Greg Spagnoli, said, “He’s a tenacious, fierce, competitor who always wants to win. More importantly, he’s a team player and he does whatever he can to take his team to the next level.”

Spagnoli added that, off the field, Nanco is one of the most grounded and hard-working players he has ever coached.

“Him playing for Syracuse just speaks volumes of the recruiting class,” Spagnoli said. “He fits (head coach Ian) McIntyre’s system beautifully.”

Nanco also has experience on the international stage, as he helped Canada win a silver medal at the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Jamaica. He also scored the game-winning goal against Trinidad and Tobago that helped the Canadians qualify for the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

“I’m sure those experiences helped him a lot and his improvement as a player,” SU senior captain Nick Perea said.

Saturday at 7 p.m., the Orange will face ACC foe Notre Dame, the defending national champion, which is looking to rebound from a loss to Kentucky. The Irish shut out Syracuse, 3-0, last season.

It will take a complete performance by SU to pull off the upset, but it can at least count on Nanco to do his part.

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