Barry Rice Officially Signed by D.C. United

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After performing well in preseason training camp, former Kentucky men’s soccer All-America defender Barry Rice has been officially signed by Major League Soccer’s D.C. United, it was announced by the organization.

Rice, a native of Parma, Ohio, is the most decorated player in program history, earning All-America accolades in his junior and senior seasons, the first player in school annals to earn such honors. A 5-foot-11 defender, Rice was picked up by United after going undrafted in the first two rounds of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. After an impressive preseason training camp, Rice was announced as an official signee of United, along with MLS veteran defender Carey Talley.

“Barry has had a good preseason with United and he is deserving of this opportunity,” said D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper. “He is a solid, athletic defender who has a big upside and we are excited about his future.”

“Everyone in our program is happy for Barry,” UK head coach Ian Collins said. “He has successfully taken the first step and we will be great supporters of his as he carves out a career as a top-level professional player.”

During his UK career, Rice was a standout performer from the moment he stepped foot on campus in Lexington as a freshman in 2006, starting all 21 games for the Wildcats and totaling five assists and one goal, earning All-Conference USA Freshman honors. In 2007, Rice stepped up for an injury-ravaged offensive attack, leading the team with seven goals and one assist, despite playing on the backline for UK. As a junior, Rice helped lead UK to a school-record 10-match unbeaten streak to end the season, adding two goals and one assist and earning C-USA Defensive Player of the Year. Following the 2008 campaign, Rice earned his second consecutive C-USA Defensive Player of the Year honor, marking the only two-time recipient of the award in the history of the league. As one of three team captains for the second consecutive year in 2009, Rice again had an excellent season, totaling two goals, while helping UK post a conference-pacing 0.78 goals-against average.

Overall in his UK career, Rice owns 31 points (12 goals and seven assists), ranking sixth all-time with seven game-winning goals. His 78 career games checks in seventh-best in UK history.

Over the last two seasons, Rice’s athleticism and instincts on the backline created the necessity for a new statistic to be kept by the UK soccer staff, the percentage of contested headers won vs. contested headers lost. In 2008, Rice won 189-of-218 contested header attempts, an 87-percent clip, which was highlighted by a shutout of Memphis in the regular-season finale, where he won 32-of-36 contested header attempts. In 2009, Rice won 126-of-155 contested header attempts (stat tracked in 16 of 18 UK games), an 81-percent mark.

A three-time first-team All-Conference USA selection, Rice was named All-America in 2008 by College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer. In 2009, Rice finished his career earning All-America accolades from the NSCAA, College Soccer News and One of three all-time All-America honorees in school history, Rice’s accolades in back-to-back seasons marks a first in the history of the program.