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Seattle, Chicago, Celtic and more—a new wave of Hoosiers is headed to the pros

After reaching the College Cup two years in a row IU will send a handful of stars to the professional ranks—both domestic and abroad

IU’s lineup could feature plenty of new faces when it next takes the field at Bill Armstrong Stadium due to the number of players turning pro.
Auston Matricardi

UPDATE: On Wednesday North Carolina FC officially announced the signing of center back Timmy Mehl.

“Timmy comes from an outstanding collegiate program that had great success this season,” North Carolina FC coach Dave Sarachan said. “He played a huge role in their back line and will provide us another center back option. He is comfortable on the ball and playing out of the back under pressure, which will be important in our way of playing.”

Mehl will join IU classmate Austin Panchot at the club.

UPDATE: On Friday New England Revolution FC officially announced the signing of forward Justin Rennicks to a homegrown contract.

In a press release Rennicks said, “I’m excited to move on to the professional level and happy that my first contract is with my hometown team. I am grateful for the opportunity Todd Yeagley and Indiana gave me the last two seasons, and I know it has prepared me best for this next step. I can’t wait to get out there under the guidance of Brad Friedel, who has done it at the highest level for both club and country, which is something that drives me every day. This club has been a part of my life for many years and it feels good to be back with the Revolution.”

UPDATE: On Tuesday Seattle Sounders FC officially announced the signing of goalkeeper Trey Muse to a homegrown contract nearly a week after the signing was originally reported by Ives Galarcep.

UPDATE: On Monday Portland Timbers FC selected Francesco Moore in the third round (71st overall) of the MLS SuperDraft. The midfielder was a key to IU’s back-to-back College Cup runs in 2017 and 2018 and was named first-team All-Big Ten in both seasons. Despite playing in more of a defensive midfield role, he still scored a trio of goals and racked up eight assists over the course of his career.

After a season in which IU won the Big Ten regular season and the Big Ten Tournament before making a run to the College Cup, it makes sense that a large portion of the starting lineup will begin their respective professional careers. Over the past few weeks, some Hoosiers have been training with pro teams, preparing for the MLS SuperDraft, or signing contracts.

On Tuesday Paul Tenorio of The Athletic tweeted that Jeremiah Gutjahr had signed a homegrown contract with Chicago Fire, though neither the club nor Gutjahr have made an official announcement. The midfielder and Bloomington native joins former Hoosier and MAC Hermann Trophy finalist Grant Lillard in the Fire organization. After a season-ending injury kept him out of action in 2017, Gutjahr returned to the lineup and was an important contributor during Indiana’s run to the College Cup.

The first Hoosier to officially find a new home was midfielder Austin Panchot. As a senior, he had a strong run in the postseason. He had an assist in the Big Ten Tournament championship game against Michigan and then scored a pair of game-winning goals in the NCAA Tournament, including the goal against Notre Dame that sent the Hoosiers to the College Cup.

Panchot signed with North Carolina FC of the United Soccer League on Wednesday. The club, formerly known as Carolina Railhawks, barely missed out on the playoffs last season and over the offseason brought in former United States Men’s National Team coach Dave Sarachan to lead the club.

“Austin is coming from an outstanding program with good coaching and a great environment,” Sarachan said. “They had a good run this year and he was one of four or five seniors that I watched and I think could translate to the next level. His starting point coming in will be good for a young player and he’ll have some versatility.”

Later that same day it was reported that standout goalkeeper Trey Muse had agreed to a homegrown deal with Seattle Sounders FC of the MLS, though the club has yet to officially announce anything. Muse was regarded as one of the elite keepers in college soccer over the last two seasons, setting multiple records and winning his fair share of conference and national awards. With the talented Stefan Frei still between the posts in Seattle Muse won’t be starting for the Rave Green next season, but it’s believed that he could get playing time with the second team in the USL while splitting time as Seattle’s number two keeper.

On Thursday, multiple outlets reported that MAC Hermann Trophy winner Andrew Gutman had reached a deal with Scottish giant Celtic FC. The left back had a marvelous senior year for the cream and crimson, scoring 11 goals and assisting on nine others on his way to winning practically every individual award available. If you need any kind of refresher on how talented Gutman is, take a look at this:

He was also pursued heavily by Chicago Fire. The club reportedly offered him a large homegrown contract in an attempt to keep him in the States, but he seemed determined to head overseas. In December Gutman went on trial with Rangers FC in Scotland and reportedly received an offer to stay on with the club, but ultimately decided to join their rival. Joining Celtic gives Gutman quite the opportunity. He’ll be teammates with fellow American prospect Tim Weah and if he finds a way to stick around and get some playing time he could possibly be the first Hoosier alumnus to play in the UEFA Champions League.

On Friday a pair of former Hoosiers were available in the MLS SuperDraft and both found new homes. With the sixth overall pick Toronto FC selected winger Griffin Dorsey. As a sophomore, the Colorado native scored five goals and tacked on five assists playing in attack on the wing, but he could move back a bit on the pitch as a professional. MLS analysts suspect that Dorsey could play as a full back for Toronto, some noting that his versatility could be an asset.

The second Hoosier to be selected on Friday was Rece Buckmaster, and just like Dorsey his versatility is a positive as he begins his professional career. The second-team All-Big Ten honoree played right back for the Hoosiers, but could potentially play in the midfield for New York Red Bulls, the club that picked him 32nd overall in the SuperDraft.

So many Hoosiers have taken their first steps toward a pro career, but there still may be a few more that join them. It’s rumored that forward Justin Rennicks is on the verge of signing a homegrown contract with New England Revolution. On Saturday Revolution boss Brad Friedel remarked to the media that his staff likes Rennicks a lot. For now, IU appears to be in wait-and-see mode with the star attacker.

Rennicks aside, a pair of graduated seniors have yet to find a new club. Prolific passer Trevor Swartz, who had 16 assists as a senior, hasn’t put pen to paper yet and there have yet to be any rumors surrounding Hoosier talisman Francesco Moore. If anything develops with these players, we’ll have updates here at Crimson Quarry.