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'I wanted to go where I was wanted': Austin Panchot signs with USL's North Carolina FC

Former Indiana midfielder Austin Panchot has joined the numerous Hoosiers heading to professional soccer after he signed with North Carolina FC of the USL Wednesday.

Indiana’s lengthy postseason schedule resulted in a repercussion. It pushed Panchot to have to make a quick decision with his next step.

“It happened pretty quick,” Panchot said. “I signed with an agent and my dad and I kinda talked with him... He presented a few options with teams that were pretty interested, and some more than others obviously. Obviously after the season it was pretty new to me because I was just focused on finishing out, obviously going for a title that unfortunately we didn’t get. Really the agent took the lead and coach was helping out too. Talked with Yeagley and my agent regularly during the week.”

Ultimately, Panchot’s decision came down to the team that wanted him the most.

“North Carolina was always a front runner in terms of interest and I wanted to go where I was wanted as well as a great place to live, play.” Panchot said. “So, it ended up being a no brainer for me... A lot of the other teams that showed interest in me were like ‘we gotta put together our roster first before giving out an offer’ and I wanted to go to a place that was super excited about me and wanted me there.”

With North Carolina FC, Panchot will be able to develop under newly named head coach Dave Sarachan. Sarachan has 10 years of MLS coaching experience just finished a year at the helm of the US Men’s National team.

“That was a huge selling point too,” Panchot said. “Great opportunity to learn from him. With all the connections and experience he has it’s going to be great for me as a player.”

In the decision process, St. Louis was Panchot’s next option that he was considering. Panchot chose to follow his heart and head to North Carolina instead of staying home because he wanted a new adventure. It’s a similar adventure to Panchot’s decision to attend Indiana instead of St. Louis University.

Panchot finished his senior season with five goals and four assists in a year that ended with a trip to the College Cup. He finished his career with two College Cup appearances, 13 goals, and nine assists.

Now, Panchot will be joining a large group of Hoosiers that will be heading to the pros.

“It’s super exciting and I think it’s a testament to how great of a group we had,” Panchot said. “And these are all my best friends too so it’s great for the program, great for them, and just awesome.”

Joining Panchot on this adventure will be a familiar voice. Big Ten Network broadcaster Dean Linke serves as the lead play-by-play broadcaster for North Carolina FC.

“It’s awesome,” Panchot said. “I can’t wait. My Dad actually texted him (Linke) and said ‘I’m excited to hear you on the call’ and it caught him off guard a little bit.”

With Linke’s voice narrating Panchot’s future, the former Indiana midfielder is set to face an exciting new opportunity.

“It’s unparalleled,” Panchot said. “It’s completely new. I’ve obviously never signed a contract before so it’s super exciting for me.  I can’t really describe it. It kinda feels like committing to college in the sense that it’s a completely new adventure.”

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