MSOC: Ibrahim Ezletni to bring limitless potential to Timberwolves in 2023
He’s big, he’s creative, and his future is incredibly bright. The University of Northern British Columbia Men’s Soccer team has added a talented piece to its attack, for today and for years to come, officially announcing the commitment of forward Ibrahim Ezletni for the 2023 Canada West season and beyond.
“This is a good moment for me. This is the next step in my career, and I have been looking forward to this day for the last couple months. Steve (Simonson) has a lot of trust in his players and gives his players the confidence they need to succeed. This is a very soccer-oriented environment with a lot of training. Every day there is training. Not many universities have training every day, so that’s pretty good.”
A six-foot-two attacking player with speed and length, Ezletni won 2021 and 2022 BC School Provincial Championships with Reynolds Secondary, serving as team captain in 2022. A product of Tripoli, Libya, Ezletni and his family made his way to Victoria permanently in 2012 . He knows there will be an adjustment at the highest level of university sport in Canada, but is confident his game will translate quickly.
“I can play in the eight, in the ten, even a bit out front. I like to get on the ball and make things happen, and I am a very creative-minded player who loves to get the ball at my feet. I love working in the pocket and linking up with players. I am technically minded and I am good at driving with the ball and creating chances.”
Ezletni visited UNBC’s Prince George campus in March, where he had a chance to tour the facilities, train alongside the Timberwolves varsity roster, and learn from TWolves head coach Steve Simonson. He points to that visit as crucial in his decision to make Northern BC his home for the next five years.
“In my Grade 12 year, it started to hit me. I knew I had to think about what school was best for me, and soccer-wise what was best for me. How could I get to the next level. Talking to Steve, this is the right choice.”
Simonson has known of the 18-year-old’s immense skill and vast potential for a number of years, keeping an eye on Ezletni’s development. The reigning U SPORTS National Coach of the Year got to see his newest recruit play within the Timberwolves training climate, and was immediately impressed by his ability with the ball at his feet, along with his genuine hunger to get better every day.
“I am really thrilled to welcome Ibrahim to our program. Ibrahim is a very high potential player. I feel his style of play will fit with our philosophy very well and anticipate bright things from this young man on the field. As a person, he is outstanding and will be a great addition to our program, our culture, and the UNBC community. Today is a good day.”
A product of the Vancouver Island Wave program, Ezletni’s path to the green and gold is well charted. UNBC veterans like Michael Henman and Cody Gysbers are first-hand examples of the pipeline, while Ezletni joins fellow islanders Koss Nystedt, Isaac Tate, Theo Tate, Wyatt Lyon, Logan Pierce, and Zack Sidhu in the 2023 TWolves recruiting class.
“A lot of guys came through Wave, so they know what I am going to deal with in my first year. Charlie (Stewart) has been a good help with that, and Steve, being from Victoria and knowing all the Victoria guys, it is nice to have a good connection here. Even as a rookie, when you come here, you feel like you’re a part of the team already.”
A BCSPL champion in 2022, Ezletni was selected to participate in the FTF All-Canadian All-Star Showcase in August. He will graduate from Reynolds in June and enroll in UNBC’s sciences program, before joining his new teammates for training camp in Prince George in July, continuing a soccer journey that started when he was four years old.
“It’s the fun. It’s so fun. Soccer is so enjoyable. Nothing can match it. When I am stressed out or not feeling it, I can go outside, kick a ball, and it’s a great feeling. Nothing can take away from it.”