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Austin FC select Pitt midfielder Jackson Walti with No. 56 Pick in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft

Photo courtesy Ed Thompson

Austin FC selected Pitt graduate midfielder Jackson Walti with the No. 56 pick in Round Two of the 2023 MLS SuperDraft on Wednesday.

Walti is the third Panther to earn a draft selection for the 2023 edition, with junior forward Bertin Jacquesson going to Real Salt Lake at No. 16 and senior midfielder Valentin Noel also going to Austin FC at No. 20, both in Round One. His selection makes it the most successful draft in Panthers history and he is also the seventh player ever to earn a draft selection as a Panther.

The first draft pick saw midfielder/defender Pol Calvet Planellas to the LA Galaxy at the No. 24 pick in the Round Two in 2018. Los Angeles FC drafted midfielder Javi Perez in Round Three at the No. 64 pick in 2019 and New England Revolution selected forward Edward Kizza in Round One at the No. 24 pick in 2021.

The Houston Dynamo selected defender Arturo Ordoñez in Round Two at the No. 38 slot and Real Salt Lake drafted defender Jasper Löffelsend in Round Three at the No. 81 pick, both in the 2022 draft.

Walti played in all 101 games in his five year career at Pitt, starting 98 of them and 95 consecutively since 2018.

He helped propel this team to their first ever ACC Tournament win in 2018, first ever NCAA Tournament win in 2019 and then three consecutive Elite Eight appearances with two College Cups in his final three seasons. He also made the All-ACC Second Team for three consecutive seasons from 2020-22.

Walti served as the captain for almost all of those games and played as a defensive midfielder. This meant that he manned the midfield, provided help to the back line and also made sure to move the ball up the pitch to his attacking teammates.

He holds the record for most appearances, starts and minutes played in program history and Pitt fans will remember him fondly for all the work he did to propel this program forward.

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