Austin FC II announced today the team signed midfielder Valentin Noel, midfielder Jackson Walti, and defender Salvatore Mazzaferro to the team’s MLS NEXT Pro roster. Each player joins ATXFC II on a one-year guaranteed deal with options for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
Austin FC selected all three (3) players in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft: Noel in the first round with the 20th overall pick, Walti in the second round with the 56th overall pick, and Mazzaferro in the third round with the 72nd overall pick.
“Val, Jackson, and Sal are all players who enjoyed tremendous success at the collegiate level,” said Austin FC Interim Sporting Director Sean Rubio. “They’ve had the opportunity to gain valuable experience training with the first team this preseason, and we’re excited to have them continue to develop and improve with Austin FC II.”
Noel played four (4) seasons of collegiate soccer at the University of Pittsburgh. He earned All-ACC First Team honors as a sophomore and as a senior, and All-ACC Second Team honors as a junior. He was named 2020 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, and a 2020-2021 MAC Hermann Trophy finalist. The native of Niort, France recorded 11 goals and three (3) assists during his senior season with the Panthers in 2022. Over the course of his collegiate career, Noel played 77 matches, scoring 35 goals and tallying 13 assists. Prior to playing for Pittsburgh, Noel played in the academy system of Chamois Niortais FC for 10 years.
A teammate of Noel’s at Pittsburgh, Walti was voted to the All-ACC Second Team in 2020, 2021, and 2022. He started 22 matches for the Panthers, leading the team alongside Noel to an appearance in the national semifinals at the 2022 NCAA Men’s Soccer College Cup. Walti played 9,069 minutes in 101 matches (98 starts) throughout his collegiate career. Born in St. Augustine, Florida, Walti spent much of his childhood in Switzerland.
Mazzaferro played center back and right back for the University of South Florida, earning selections to the AAC All-Rookie Team in 2019 and the All-AAC Second Team in 2020, 2021, and 2022. He led the team in minutes played in 2021 with 1,380. Prior to his collegiate career, Mazzaferro played in the Toronto FC Academy and at Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School, where he captained the team to a Canadian National Championship in 2015.
MORE ABOUT AUSTIN FC II
Austin FC II trains and operates alongside the Austin FC first team and academy teams out of St. David’s Performance Center. Further player signings will be announced throughout the coming months in addition to more details on the MLS NEXT Pro schedule and competition format.
Follow Austin FC II’s social channels (@AustinFCII) and check austinfc.com for regular updates on the club.
CURRENT AUSTIN FC II ROSTER
GK (1): Eric López
D (4): Anthony De Anda, Salvatore Mazzaferro, Chris Pinkham, Cheick Touré
M (5): Bobosi Byaruhanga, Valentin Noel, Alonso Ramírez, Leo Torres, Jackson Walti
F (4): Emmanuel Johnson, Sébastien Pineau, David Rodríguez, Christo Vela