By Ells Boone
This article is part of a running series The Daily sports staff will be publishing on graduating seniors.
Logan Panchot is a senior right back for the Stanford men’s soccer team. After the Pac-12 postponed fall sports to the spring, he decided to forego his senior season and enter the 2021 MLS SuperDraft. In his three years on the Farm, Panchot tallied three goals and 11 assists in 59 starts, as well as helping the Cardinal win the National Championship in his freshman season. He was named to the Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll in 2019 and served as a team captain for his sophomore and junior years. Panchot is a top-20 prospect in the upcoming MLS SuperDraft, scheduled to be held on Jan. 21, according to SBI Soccer. The Daily’s Ells Boone spoke with Panchot to reflect on his time at Stanford and look ahead as he embarks on a professional career.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): How did you first get into soccer?
Logan Panchot (LP): I’ve been into soccer as long as I can remember. I have two older siblings, and they played growing up. I kind of followed in their footsteps and fell in love with the game and just always grew up with it around me.
TSD: Growing up, you played on a few United States Youth National Teams alongside some guys who have now become stars at the highest level like Tyler Adams and Christian Pulisic. How was that experience, and do you still keep in touch with some of those guys?
LP: That experience was pretty cool. Just to play day in and day out with these people that are doing it at the highest level is certainly something to look back on. And then I do keep in touch with them, I keep in touch with Christian mostly. He was my good friend when we were down in Florida training and just growing up throughout the camps. It’s a pretty cool experience just to train with them, and then see where they’re at now and know that I competed with them day in, day out and that I can too if I have a chance to play at a high level.
TSD: What drew you to Stanford in your recruiting process?
LP: I definitely looked at a lot of schools, but once you get on campus here, and you know you have the best of both worlds in terms of athletics and academics, it’s hard to turn down the soccer situation. Obviously, we have a great coaching staff. We have the best facilities in the country. The program recently has been the best in the country over the last five national championships. It’s a pretty easy choice to come here once you get on campus, in my opinion.
TSD: Is there a professional player that you’ve looked up to and tried to model parts of your play after?
LP: I have a lot of players that I like to watch and learn from right now. Chelsea’s right back, Reese James, I think we play a similar type of style from right back. Getting up and back, being a good deliverer of the ball from wide areas and being somewhat of a physical presence that can get into tackles and be strong in the tackle. So I’d say he’s one guy I look up to right now. But growing up, I spent a lot of time every weekend turning on the TV and watching the Premier League.
TSD: What was your favorite part of your Stanford experience, both on the pitch and off of it?
LP: On the pitch, I have three that come to mind. The first one would be my first assist. I assisted my best friend here, [senior forward] Charlie [Wehan], and it was his first goal. It was like a freshman duo combo and it was a go-ahead goal against SMU, and we were kind of fighting the game a bit. It was also pretty cool to score a goal against UCLA. We had a lot of fans there and the celebration was really cool. But I think my favorite memory has to be winning the national championship. That was actually crazy because in the final we were playing Indiana, and my brother went to Indiana [University] at the time so I played him in the final. Then off the field, just cultivating my best friendships. All my best friends right now come from Stanford, and I’m super thankful because I know I’ll keep them for a long time. But it won’t just be something that happens at Stanford, it’s going to be a friendship that lasts a lifetime.
TSD: You kind of got into my next question, which is about playing your brother in the national championship. What was that whole experience like?
LP: We were talking before the tournament and we were like it looks like if we play each other it’s going to be in the finals, so we didn’t really think about it. You’ve got to win a lot of games before you get there, anything can happen. It’s not March Madness, but it’s soccer’s version — anyone can beat anyone. Then we ended up both going to the final four, both winning our semi-finals. I remember my mom made these special t-shirts. She didn’t know who she wanted to win. Deep down, I think she wanted Austin to win because he was older and I had more shots at it. But I ended up winning and definitely don’t regret that.
TSD: During your time at Stanford, you’ve played both in defense and midfield. What is your personal favorite position to play?
LP: I think right back is probably my best position in terms of suiting my skill sets, so I’ll say right back.
TSD: This past fall, you decided to forego your senior season in order to enter the MLS Superdraft after Stanford’s season was postponed to the spring. Can you take me through that decision process?
LP: The commitment I had to the team and the program was always to play my senior season in the fall. I finished all the classes I needed to obtain my degree. So once [the season] got postponed, I was like, okay, where’s life gonna go? Right now, depending on what happens with the draft, what the situation is in the MLS and the timing of the season, I’ll be here training until the next opportunity comes about. The decision wasn’t easy. Obviously I want to play with the guys, but life moves on and I’ve been trying to play pro since I was little so now’s the time.
TSD: What have you been doing over these past few months to get ready for MLS?
LP: I didn’t come back to Stanford in the fall. I was going to a bunch of combines, I was in Germany for two weeks training there, I trained with a few teams in Florida. So I’ve kind of just been training and staying around the game, nothing too crazy.
TSD: So as you start your professional career now, what are your goals for this next chapter of your life?
LP: My goal would be to just get drafted and get to a preseason and earn a contract on a MLS team. I’m not really looking further than that. The goal is to get to a preseason and play up to the level I know I can play at and make an impact and help a team become better.
TSD: Now that you are moving on from Stanford, can you just give your thoughts on this current Cardinal soccer team and how well you think they can do this season?
LP: This team is really good. You have a lot of weapons in attack, you have a lot of very sturdy defenders and a huge group of guys that all want to win. Definitely national championship should be the goal, [they] definitely have that level of talent. There’s no doubt in my mind that whether I’m here or not, that this team will be good. That’s the special thing about this program. It doesn’t matter who leaves or who enters, the standard is always held high. It’s a very special culture in that sense.
This transcript has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.