By William Brown
Alex Braletic has done what no Ryerson athlete has ever done before.
Braletic was awarded the Joe Johnson Memorial Award as the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) player of the year in men’s soccer Wednesday night, becoming Ryerson’s first ever-athlete to win the award in any sport.
Leading the CIS in goals this season, Braletic beat out the award’s other nominees: Cape Breton striker Ian Greedy, Université du Québec à Montréal defender Jawad Guizaoui and University of British Columbia midfielder Reynold Stewart.
The Joe Johnson Memorial Trophy accompanies his Ontario University Athletics (OUA) MVP award, his first-team OUA all-star honour and his first-team all-Canadian honour, coming off a 13 goal regular season.
“It’s an individual award, and I don’t take any notice of individual awards,” Braletic told Ryerson Rams’ sports information specialist Andrea Elliot upon receiving the award. “We’re trying not to use this as a distraction. We’re trying to win the national championship, and that’s all we’re focusing on.”
His coach backed up his low-key response.
“Alex is a selfless player so, much like in his speech, he gives all the credit to his players and the people around him that make him successful,” said men’s soccer associate coach Filip Prostran. “It means a lot to the program going forward, these types of achievements.”
In addition to his goal-scoring his teammates commended him for his leadership abilities.
“He definitely contributes off the field as well. No matter what the situation is, he’s always a good leader. He’s the main character on this team,” said goalkeeper Christian Maraldo. “I’m very happy for him. He deserves it.”
Prostran agreed with Maraldo.
“It’s not so much the goals,” said Prostran. “Alex has matured as a person. That’s made him a better player.”
Ryerson begins national championship play on Thursday in Fredericton, N.B., when they take on the University of Laval Rouge et Or. The game can be streamed from the CIS website at 3 p.m ET.