Midfielder Coulson leaves Michigan to return to Britain

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Freshman midfielder Luke Coulson left the Michigan men's soccer team this week to return to Manchester, England. Buy this photo

By Neal Rothschild, Daily Sports Editor
Published September 25, 2012

One of the Michigan men’s soccer team’s most recent arrivals is now its most recent departure.

Freshman midfielder Luke Coulson has left the Wolverines to pursue a professional career in his native England. The team said Tuesday that the Manchester native would sign with a Premiership team.

From the minute he stepped off the plane in August, Coulson made an immediate impact for the Wolverines. He started each of the team’s first six games and notched a goal in Michigan’s second game of the season, a 3-0 win over Vermont. Coulson also tallied two assists. His last game was Sept. 16, a 1-0 loss to Notre Dame, as he didn’t accompany the Wolverines on Sunday’s trip to Northwestern.

Michigan coach Chaka Daley had been starting two freshmen this fall — Coulson and fellow Brit, freshman forward James Murphy — and may have to call on another underclassman to take Coulson's place.

“Luke leaving the squad is obviously an obstacle that we will have to overcome,” Daley said. “But it is a challenge we are able and willing to meet heading into the heart of the Big Ten season. We have others capable of making an impact on this team, and they will have to step up.”

The Wolverines (0-1 Big Ten, 2-5 overall) have struggled out of the gate in Daley’s first season at the helm, though they’ve stayed competitive with some of the top teams in the country. Coulson’s departure will test Michigan’s depth and Daley may have to put starters out of position to compensate.

Coulson had spent the past 10 years playing for the Manchester City Youth Academy. The squad serves as a development team for its Premier League affiliate. The schedule consists of games against the youth teams of other teams in the Premiership. His ties to Manchester City could make the Blues most likely to land the 18-year old.

“Luke is an ambitious young man, and we wish him the best in his endeavors as a professional footballer in England,” Daley said.

— Daily Sports Editor Matt Slovin contributed to this report.