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Jan 02, 2024

Ousmane Sylla: A Year to Remember

For senior Ousmane Sylla, the 2023 season was one to remember. Sylla earned numerous awards and recognitions this season, as well as finishing the season as the team leader in almost every offensive category, including goals, assists, shots on goal, penalty kicks and game-winners.

Ousmane Sylla

• United Soccer Coaches First Team All-American
• United Soccer Coaches First Team All-South Region
• MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist; Finalist
• NCAA Tournament MVP, Offense (All-Tournament team)
• First Team All-ACC
• ACC Tournament MVP (All-Tournament team)
• 5x College Soccer News Men’s National Team of the Week selection
• ACC Offensive Player of the Week (10/10)
• United Soccer Coaches Preseason Forwards to Watch list
• ACC Preseason Player to Watch list
• College Soccer News Preseason All-America Second Team

Sylla opened the season with PK in the opener vs UCF just 25 seconds into the match, the second-fastest goal in program history.

The Dakar, Senegal, native turned in at least one assist in three-straight games in September, before providing one of the most electric moments of the year. Against Virginia Tech, Sylla deflected a shot off a defender’s face and into the net, giving the Tigers the 2-1 victory with just :04 to go in the game.

Sylla recorded his second-career brace vs. Louisville on October 6, before having a senior night for the ages on October 20. He recorded his first-career hat trick against Boston College on Senior Night, in a perfect regular-season sendoff for the senior.

Once the Tigers entered postseason play, Sylla hit his stride. Against Duke in the ACC Tournament, he assisted on two goals and converted on a penalty to advance the Tigers past the Blue Devils. The next game, he scored twice against Louisville to propel the Tigers to the ACC Championship game, their 11th appearance in school history.

In the ACC Championship game, Sylla scored the game-tying goal in regulation and converted on a penalty kick to lead the Tigers to fifth ACC tournament title. He was named ACC Tournament MVP (All-Tournament team).

The Tigers entered NCAA Tournament play as the No. 9 seed with arguably more momentum than any team in the country. Against Charlotte, Sylla scored a goal and added an assist, then against New Hampshire, he netted the game winner to send the Tigers back to Historic Riggs Field for an Elite Eight rematch against Stanford. The Tigers topped the Cardinal and headed back to the College Cup for the second time in three seasons.

In the 2023 National Championship game, the Tigers’ second appearance in three years, Sylla netted the game-winner en route to earning NCAA Tournament Offensive MVP honors and helping the Tigers’ hoist the trophy for the second time in three seasons.

Following the Tigers’ championship run, Sylla was drafted in the second round of the MLS Draft by the Houston Dynamo.

Not only did he excel on the pitch, Sylla also walked across the stage as a Clemson graduate in late December.

Ousmane Sylla finished his Clemson career as a four-time All-ACC player, two-time ACC Offensive Player of the Week honoree, and three-time All-South Region honoree, as well as earning a degree in sociology. He also finishes as #14 on Clemson’s all-time assists list and #24 in points. The 2023 season was one to remember for Sylla, who will remain a Clemson legend and be remembered forever.