By William Brown
Ryerson’s men’s soccer team had a regular season to remember.
Ontario University Athletics (OUA) announced Wednesday morning that six Ryerson players have been named to the all-star team, while three members of the Rams won major awards.
Midfielder Alex Braletic, won the OUA east Most Valuable Players honour, Cameron Galea-Andrews took home OUA Rookie of the Year and coach Ivan Joseph won OUA east Coach of the Year.
Braletic, Viktor Anastasov, Michael Jan and goalkeeper Christian Maraldo all were named to OUA’s first All Star Team, while Josh Kohn and Armin Tankovic were named to the second All Star Team.
The announcement came three days after Ryerson advanced to the Final Four competition with a win over the Toronto Varsity Blues in the quarterfinals.
“It’s always nice to be recognized,” said Maraldo, who won his first place on the all-star team. “It’s definitely a confidence boost heading into the Final Four [tournament].”
However, all of the players who were named to the awards did not hesitate to say that individual awards meant nothing compared to the team’s success and a possible spot at nationals.
“I will do anything for this team to win,” said second-time MVP, Braletic, “I do not care about individual awards. I’m not focused on that. I am not thinking about that and my team is not thinking about that.”
Joseph, the head coach of the team and leader of the 12-0-2 Rams, reciprocated his star’s attitude.
“[Winning the Coach of the Year] means absolutely nothing, to be honest,” said Joseph, “I would give up that coach of the year award, all coach of the year awards, if I could get to the OUA championship game and win it.”
The six Rams’ players designated to the teams is the most in its division and comes after an undefeated season.
“Nobody really thinks about it, no one really talks about it, but once all the numbers come in, it’s just kind of expected,” said Kohn. “Clearly we have the coach of the year; clearly Alex [Braletic] is the best player. And then all those other things just fall into place.”
Maraldo, who backstopped the Rams to their 12-0-2 season, felt the same way.
“I’d be surprised if we didn’t have that many people on the all-star team,” he said, “all the guys that were nominated definitely deserve this.”
Ryerson continued their dominance of the Rookie of the Year award, with Galea-Andrews winning the Rams’ the award for the fourth time in five years.
“Obviously it says something about our coaches’ scouting,” said Kohn, “We’ve got good players coming in their first years, and they’re performing, so it’s always a good sign.”
Joseph said he is proud that his team has bought into his ‘team-first attitude’.
“It’s a mature response,” said Joseph. “An individual award is easy to come by, but a team championship, those are the things that matter the most.”
The Rams will take on the Windsor Lancers this Saturday as the OUA Final Four competition opens, and Joseph says he is ready to take the next step.
“If we can come in, be well disciplined, execute our game plan, we’ll have a chance to compete for a championship,” said Joseph.