NASHVILLE (Jan. 9, 2020) – Nashville Soccer Club made history today by selecting four players in the first two rounds of the club’s inaugural SuperDraft in Major League Soccer, presented by adidas. With the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, Nashville selected defender Jack Maher from Indiana University.
Nashville SC also selected Alistair Johnston with the No. 11 overall pick after a trade with Colorado Rapids that sent $75,000 in General Allocation Money to the Rapids. The club then selected goalkeeper Elliot Panicco with the No. 13 overall pick after a trade with New England Revolution in exchange for $50,000 in GAM and an additional $50,000 if Panicco meets certain performance-based metrics during the 2020 season. Nashville finished the day by selecting local product Tanner Dieterich with the 28th overall pick in the draft.
Maher was selected in unprecedented fashion as General Manager Mike Jacobs and a bus of Nashville SC supporters arrived at Maher’s home in Caseyville, Illinois to draft the Big Ten Defensive Player of the year in person WATCH.
The 20-year old recorded 46 starts in his two seasons at Indiana including multiple awards. In his freshman season, Maher was one of three players to start all 24 matches for IU and led an Indiana defense to 15 shutouts, allowing 13 goals the best in the NCAA. Maher was selected as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Big Ten All-Freshman Team and was First-Team Freshmen Best XI by Top Drawer Soccer.
As a sophomore, Maher started all 22 matches for the Hoosiers, recording three game-winning goals and was one of six Indiana players to record double-digit points with three goals and four assists. Maher finished his sophomore year as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and was selected as a 2019 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Men's Second Team All-America.
Following the selection of Maher, Nashville traded up in the draft acquiring the No. 11 overall pick and selecting Alistair Johnston, a defender from Wake Forest. Johnston a native of Canada, started his collegiate career at St. Johns where he started all 36 games in his freshman and sophomore years, recording 10 goals and four assists. Johnston was named to the Big East All-Freshman Team in 2016. Johnston was tied for the team lead with 16 points in 2017.
After transferring to Wake Forest, Johnston appeared in 42 matches in two seasons as a Demon Deacon, scoring six goals and logging 10 assists. In the two-year stretch, Johnston was part of Wake Forest squad that accumulated a 34-8-2 record.
Nashville stayed active during the first round, trading up for the 13th overall pick with the New England Revolution and selected goalkeeper Elliot Panicco from UNC Charlotte. A native of Huntersville, NC, Panicco had a stellar collegiate career at Charlotte starting a total of 77 matches in net in his four-year career that included 35 shutouts.
Panicco has won the Conference USA Golden Glove Award and was selected to the First-team All-Conference USA as an upper classman. Panicco set a school-record by not allowing a goal in 1,026 minutes at Transamerica Field.
Nashville concluded the day by selecting Nashville local, Tanner Dieterich. The midfielder from Clemson made and immediate impact on the field appearing in 19 matches recording a goal and an assist and was selected to the All-ACC Freshman Team.
Dieterich was named Captain of the Clemson squad as a sophomore and held that title upon graduation and finished with 75 appearances for the Clemson Tigers. Prior to his collegiate career, Dieterich played a year of soccer at Father Ryan in Nashville, Tennessee and represented the United States at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.
Fans will have a chance to meet the four SuperDraft picks along with the rest of the 2020 Nashville SC roster for the first time on Jan. 18 as NSC is set to host its 2020 Kit Reveal Party Presented by Renasant from 2-5 p.m. at Wildhorse Saloon.
The event is set to kick off the 2020 preseason slate as Nashville SC prepares for its inaugural MLS match against Atlanta United, presented by Renasant Bank on Feb. 29. Tickets are available through Season Ticket Memberships starting at just $425 ($25 per game). Be sure to secure your place in history with the best seats for Feb. 29 and throughout the inaugural season by visiting NashvilleSC.com/Tickets or calling 615-750-8800.