A YOUNG Scottish football player has collapsed and died in his college apartment in America.

Peter McAvoy, 22, originally from Dundee, died on Saturday after collapsing in his flat at Herkimer County Community College in Herkimer, New York.

He was one of the best players in US college soccer - and was last year named as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's national player of the year.

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He collapsed in the living room of his apartment at around 6pm on Saturday and was rushed to nearby Little Falls Hospital, but was pronounced dead.

Team-mates and college staff paid tribute to the player, describing him as "a real leader" and a "character and comedian".

The student, who is survived by his father, mother and sister, formerly played for Arbroath SC and Tayport FC, and is a former pupil of Craigie High School in Dundee.

His father, also Peter, paid tribute to his son.

Mr McAvoy, who is head of education at Perth and Kinross Council, said: "He had played football the night before and the coach had given the team the day off on Saturday. Peter went with some friends to watch the softball team play and went back to his apartment afterwards when he died.

"He was just sitting on the settee and just keeled over at about tea-time. His flatmate called for the campus security and they tried to resuscitate him. They had no luck so he was taken to hospital where they spent another hour trying to bring him back to life, but weren't able to.

"The medics believe he had a massive heart attack. It's just hard to believe, he was a fit young man.

"I spoke to him recently and he was telling me they were having a ceremony next week because the team had won the league and cup this season.

"The told me he would be speaking at it and he was really looking forward to it. I just can't believe it. We have no heart attack history in the family, neither my side or his mother's."

Herkimer County Community College's athletic director Donald Dutcher said: "There wasn't a kid on campus who didn't know Pete McAvoy.

"He was an unbelievable soccer player ... and one of the most popular students on campus. He had a presence about him that always had people laughing."

He said a cause of death had yet to be determined, and that an autopsy was being scheduled.

Herkimer College's Campus Safety department is working in conjunction with the Herkimer Police Department to investigate the death. Neither could comment on the investigation.

Mr McAvoy said he had been "overwhelmed" by the support from people in America and Dundee following his son's death.

He added: "He had so much potential. He went to America two years ago and won the championship both seasons."

Pepe Aragon, head coach of the college's soccer team, which is ranked as one of the best junior college teams in America, said: "Pete had an amazing personality. He was always the one who lifted us up.

"He was the character and comedian of the team - a real leader on and off the field."