Most Valuable Player is just another title for Alex Braletic and the Ryerson Rams men’s soccer team to add to an overflowing trophy case.
The fifth-year midfielder was announced as the winner of the OUA East Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career Wednesday, after scoring 13 goals in 12 league games this season.
Braletic shrugged off the award, preferring to focus on this Saturday’s OUA semi-final match against the Windsor Lancers.
“On this team, individual awards mean nothing,” said Braletic, who previously won the trophy after the 2009-2010 season. “I’ll even go to the extent to say it’s not in the back of my mind. I’d give a million MVPs to have an opportunity at a national championship.”
Braletic said he was more impressed with his award-winning teammates and coaching staff. Ivan Joseph won East coach of the year, Christian Maraldo won East goalkeeper of the year and Cameron Galea-Andrews swept up East rookie of the year honours.
Maraldo, Braletic, midfielder Viktor Anastasov and defender Michael Jan were also named OUA East first team all-stars. Striker Armin Tankovic and defender Josh Kohn earned second team all-star honours.
“I’m happy for young Cameron and Christian but if we lose on Saturday, I don’t think any of us will be talking about awards,” Braletic said.
He said he doesn’t remember most of the awards he’s won in the past. There’s one trophy he’ll never forget winning—it made him sick to his stomach.
Braletic was named to the all CIS second-team twice in his career. In 2009, he attended the awards banquet with Joseph and realized he was the only player present to not be playing in the CIS national tournament.
“I felt sick to my stomach. It was a low blow, an example of how awards are meaningless. It hurt. If I have to, god forbid, pick up another (CIS trophy without playing in the nationals), it’ll be the worst one.”
Braletic will have another shot at playing in the CIS national tournament. With a victory on Saturday, the Rams will automatically qualify for the tournament which will be held in Fredericton, N.B., from Nov. 7 – 10.
Kick-off between the Rams and the Lancers is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Birchmount Stadium.