Journey of David Coly ’15 Featured in Washington Post

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
David Coly ’15 celebrates after winning the Patriot League title
(photo by Trish Sexton/American University)

David Coly ’15 starred for American University in the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Tournament. Coly was named the most valuable player of the Patriot League Tournament April 17 after leading American to a 2–1 win at Lafayette. The victory clinched American’s trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Coly’s road back to the NCAAs has been a winding one, to say the least. He led Mercersburg to the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Prep League boys’ soccer championship, and signed with the University of Washington, where he played two seasons (appearing in one NCAA Tournament for the Huskies) before having to return to his home country of Senegal due to visa issues. Read a feature story on Coly from the April 28 issue of the Washington Post.

Three years later, in 2019, Coly was approved for permanent residency in the U.S., and relocated from Washington state to Washington, DC, to join the American soccer program. He received waivers from the NCAA and Patriot League in order to compete. Coly led the Eagles with seven goals this season, and scored in each of the team’s final six contests.

In the 2021 NCAA Tournament, Coly scored a goal and converted his attempt in a penalty-kick shootout in a first-round match against Jacksonville April 29 to help send the Eagles to the second round (following a 3–3 result after extra time). American then faced No. 1-seeded Clemson May 2, also in Winston-Salem. For the sixth consecutive match, Coly scored a goal for the Eagles; his goal in the 4th minute stunned the top-seeded Tigers and gave American a 1–0 lead it would hold for 52 minutes before Clemson rallied for a 2–1 win.
Match recaps:
American defeats Jacksonville in PKs
Clemson outlasts American
For more information on this story, please contact Lee Owen ( in Mercersburg’s Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications.