SIGNING 1

Zach Naughton, pictured third from left, signed his national letter of intent to play soccer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On hand for the signing, from left, are his brother, Josh, and parents, Dan and Debby Naughton.

PIKEVILLE — Zach Naughton made it official Friday that he is going to play soccer for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when he signed his national letter of intent.

North Carolina is a Division 1 college that plays sports in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Other notable North Carolina schools in the same conference are N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest.

The signing comes after an excellent season for Naughton, who in 12 games had 16 goals and eight assists. The eight assists are double compared to last year when he had four.

In both his junior and senior year, Naughton also averaged over a goal a game, and for his high school career he averages 0.7 goals per match with 48 goals scored in 68 matches played.

Naughton’s stats show that he not only has the ability to score, but also creates opportunities for his teammates to score.

Naughton’s excellent individual stats helped Charles B. Aycock High School to have a big improvement this season as a team.

This year, the Golden Falcons finished 7-4-1 overall, and 5-4-1 in the Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Conference. This was a big improvement over last season when the Golden Falcons finished 3-20 overall, and 2-10 in conference play.

Naughton said he was excited to be able to sign with North Carolina.

“I’m pretty happy, and definitely excited for this big opportunity,” he said. “I’m thankful for everyone that was there for me. (North Carolina) has definitely been on my list of schools for a long time. They are, in my opinion, the best school in the country.”

Charles B. Aycock Head Coach Dominick Albano said he was glad that Naughton will get an opportunity to play soccer for North Carolina.

“It’s obviously exciting because it’s Division I soccer,” Albano said. “I really only remember maybe one other person going Division I from Aycock for soccer. So it’s very exciting to see all the work that he’s put in all these years finally pay off for him.”

His parents, Dan and Debby Naughton, as well his brother, Josh, attended the signing at the Charles B. Aycock High School gymnasium.

Naughton says his goal in the future is to play professional soccer. While at UNC, he plans to major in chemistry and be on a pre-med track.