Barry Rice, D.C. United Top AC Milan and Ronaldinho
WASHINGTON -- Just six months removed from completing a standout career at the University of Kentucky, former men’s soccer All-American defender Barry Rice competed in a friendly for Major League Soccer’s D.C. United, with United posting a 3-2 win over world power A.C. Milan, in front of 30,367 fans at RFK Stadium.
A native of Parma, Ohio, Rice had the opportunity of a lifetime to face off with A.C. Milan and star Ronaldinho, considered the top soccer player in the world. Rice’s club bested the club of Ronaldinho, the former FIFA World Player of the Year, using goals Luciano Emilio, Chris Pontius and Danny Allsopp. The game featured some of the best players in the world in addition to Ronaldinho, including forward Alexandre Pato (Pato Branco, Brazil), Filippo Inzaghi (Piacenza, Italy), and Clarence Seedorf (Paramaribo, Suriname), with Rice playing the second half of the contest.
During his storied UK career, Rice was a standout performer in all four seasons, starting all 21 games for UK 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 season, 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. In 2008 and 2009, Rice earned All-America accolades, the first player in program annals to earn two consecutive All-America honors.
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 his final two years at UK, Rice’s athleticism, skills and instincts on the backline created the need for a new statistic to be kept by the UK soccer stats crew 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 Goal.com. 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.