Letkeman Receives First MVP Selection As MCAC Announces 2016 All-Conference Team
As Men's Soccer prepares for the biggest weekend of their season, on Friday afternoon the MCAC announced the eleven players selected to the All-Conference Team and the 2016 Most Valuable Player.
Receiving the most votes for outstanding performance was CMU's fifth year midfielder Andrew Letkeman (pictured centre). The veteran Blazer was recognized in each of his previous four seasons in the MCAC with All-Conference honours, but the title of the MCAC's top player had always been held by his counterparts.
Letkeman was a late addition to the 2016 CMU lineup. In fact, head coach Russell Willms did not expect to have the speedy leader back for the Blazers at all this season. After missing the first four conference matches of the season, the product of Steinbach Regional Secondary School returned, leading his team to a record of 3-1-1 when available for selection.
"It is a strange season for Drew to receive this recognition simply because of how many games he missed in the season," said Willms, "but it is also a tribute to his reputation with the coaches, the impact he made when he was in our eleven and the respect and relationship he holds with his opponents. Drew loves the game and came back to play this season because of that. It is a nice way for him to end his career here."
Two teammates will stand alongside Letkeman on Saturday afternoon for the MCAC's Best Eleven presentation at Norm Konowalchuk Field on the campus of Red River College. Fellow fifth year and three-time All-Conference selection, Cole Johnson (right) and second year left back Aidan Beckingham (left) receives his first Conference recognition.
Injuries hampered Johnson for the 2015 season, and though the tidy wide-man managed to contribute regularly in the CMU starting lineup, he wasn't ever at full fitness. In 2016 Johnson has re-emerged as one of the MCAC's best and there is no doubt about Johnson's value to his team in the mind of his coach; "Cole has been more valuable to our team this season that any season before," said Willms, "his knowledge of the game, his leadership, his ability to help us in any area of the field that we feel vulerable, has made him a player that we really count on every weekend and we'd struggle to get by without him."
Earning three previous All-Conference selections, Johnson capped his MCAC regular season career by scoring his second goal of the season for CMU in a 1-1 draw last Sunday against the Providence Pilots.
Talented left back Aidan Beckingham rounded out the CMU trio selected to the 2016 MCAC All-Conference team. The graduate of Oak Park Collegiate has been a key player for his team in his second season, setting up attacks from his home on the backline. He has also been someone that his coach looks to to provide great left-footed service on free-kicks and has been consistent in defending some of the MCAC's best right wingers, "I'm excited for Aidan to be chosen for this recognition," said Willms, "he is really deserving of it and sometimes players that play his position get overlooked for what they contribute and how important they are to a team's success. I'm glad that those voting were able to see his talent and what he gives our team."
Other players selected in the 2016 MCAC's Best Eleven were Red River Rebels fullback Brendan Adamo, goalkeeper Rory Picton and attacking midfielder Anderson Perriera, USB Les Rouges winger Aristide Ebrottie, midfielder Melchisedek Tangwa, and striker Yahia Chihab and Brandon Bobcats central defender Taylor Blue and striker Osian Edwards.
The three CMU members of the 2016 All-Conference Team and their teammates are in Final Four semifinal action on Saturday afternoon at Red River College to take on the Rebels at 2:15 pm. The winner of CMU's semifinal will advance to Sunday's 2016 MCAC Men's Soccer Championship Final against the winner of #1 University of St-Boniface and #4 Providence University College at 3:00 pm.