BY CORY WRIGHT
A Ryerson Ram has finally made the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) all-Canadian soccer team.
Alex Braletic, a midfielder for the men’s soccer team, has been named to the CIS second team after a stellar season that saw him help the Rams to a winning record for the first time in 20 years.
Aside from the team’s success, which was cut short in an shootout playoff loss to Laurentian, Braletic holds many individual achievements.
Braletic is the reigning MVP in the OUA East, as well as an OUA first-team all-star.
He’s the first Ryerson soccer player to be an all-Canadian and one of six from the OUA.
Braletic netted a team-leading three goals in the regular season and added another in the playoffs. “He’s clearly the best player in the league (OUA) in my opinion,” said Rams head coach Ivan Joseph in a press release. “Alex has a nice sense of what it takes to be a good soccer player. He’s a good lead-by-example player. I think he could be the nucleus of what could be a nationally ranked soccer team.”
Braletic is pleased to hear these words from his coach and the CIS, but remains modest.
“I think it’s kind of cool that some people recognize my skill,” said Braletic. “And coach Joseph is a man who knows a lot and I have a lot of respect for him. Those words mean a lot to me.”
By making the CIS second team, Braletic is ranked within the top 22 men’s soccer players in Canada. This comes after spending his second year in the OUA and first with the Ryerson Rams.
Braletic spent a lot of time accompanying the team last year on road trips, but was ineligible to play. His presence and work off the field was not lost on the rest of the team.
Markus Molder, a second-year defender, said that Braletic is a great leader off the field because of his commitment to the team, and that the culture of the team improved with the addition of Braletic.
Molder also praised Braletic as “the best technical player” he has hit the field with.
Other schools, especially U.S. colleges, were interested in him, but Braletic insisted on staying in Canada and even played a year of professional soccer.
“The level of soccer wasn’t good enough, and the schooling wouldn’t be adequate,” said Braletic of the US schools. “Ryerson had a good program school-wise, and some of my friends were on the team.”
The Rams are looking to build on last season and work towards being a ranked soccer team in Canada. Braletic is excited about being the core component to rebuilding this team.
“The program wasn’t great when I came in,” said Braletic. “I want to help it get on the rise.”
Joseph adds that having a player of Braletic’s calibre will help recruiting and show the OUA that Ryerson is developing a serious soccer program.
“It definitely says that we have quality players and talent that wants to be here,” said Joseph.