July 6, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky senior defender Barry Rice – the only two-time Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in league history – has been named a second-team preseason All-American, CollegeSoccerNews.com announced.
Rice, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound defender, earned third-team All-America honors from CollegeSoccerNews.com in 2008, becoming just the third All-American in program history. Rice became the first player in C-USA history to win league defensive player of the year honors in consecutive seasons, claiming the honor in 2007 and 2008.
A native of Parma, Ohio, Rice has been arguably the best player to ever play at Kentucky, totaling 10 goals and seven assists in 60 career games and ranking sixth all-time in UK history with six game-winning goals. A superbly athletic defender, Rice is so good in the air that a new stat was charted during the 2008 season, the percentage of headers won vs. headers lost by Rice. During 2008, Rice won 189-of-218 contested header attempts on the year, a staggering 87-percent clip. A physical and vocal leader, Rice’s best game came in a 0-0 draw in the regular-season finale against Memphis, when he won 32-of-36 contested header attempts.
In 2007, Rice had to carry the load for an injury-depleted UK team that needed some offensive firepower. Rice finished 2007 with a team-high seven goals and one assist, notching six of his seven goals in the form of headers off set pieces, with three coming as game-winning goals.
Kentucky, which finished the 2008 season ranked No. 21, totaled an impressive 0.80 goals against average, scoring 41 total goals and ranking 22nd in the NCAA in scoring offense. UK finished second in the C-USA regular-season and tournament championships, falling in the C-USA Championship on penalty kicks. UK returns its trio of captains from 2008, including Rice, senior midfielder Jason Griffiths and senior goalkeeper Dan Williams. UK finished the season riding a school record 10-match unbeaten streak.
UK opens its 2009 season with a pair of exhibitions in August against Dayton and Marquette. UK opens its regular season with the annual University of Kentucky Invitational, hosting IUPUI in the season-opener, on Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m.