York Lion Jonathan Lao named OUA male athlete of the year

York University Lions men’s soccer player Jonathan Lao continued his award-winning season when he was named the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) male athlete of the year.

Lao, a fourth-year economics student-athlete, led the Lions to an undefeated regular season and a first-place finish in the OUA West Division.

“I have played soccer my whole life, and being involved in the sport has shaped who I am today,” said Lao. “I’m fortunate to have been able to continue to play for the Lions while also getting an education at York.”

The Unionville, Ont. native was named OUA West Division MVP and a first-team all-star after he scored four goals and added three assists in 12 games this season for York. It was the fourth consecutive OUA all-star nod for Lao, and the second time in his career he captured OUA West Division MVP honours (he previously earned the award back in 2013).

Lao was also recognized for his strong season at the national level, as he became just the second player in program history to win the Joe Johnson Memorial Trophy as the U SPORTS Player of the Year, following Francesco Bruno in 2008. In addition, Lao was named a U SPORTS All-Canadian for the fourth time in his career, becoming the first player in program history to accomplish the feat.

Led by Lao, the Lions finished the season second in the OUA before placing sixth at the U SPORTS national championship.

Since joining the Lions back in 2013, Lao has been one of the most dominant players in the country, helping the Lions win three straight OUA championships (2013-15) and back-to-back national titles (2014-15).