Soccer Names Griffiths, Rice, Williams Captains
Aug. 27, 2008
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky junior defender Barry Rice, junior midfielder Jason Griffiths and junior goalkeeper Dan Williams have been named the captains of the 2008 UK men's soccer team, head coach Ian Collins announced.
"Barry, Jason and Dan possess the qualities necessary to being a successful captain," Collin said. "In these three, we have people who understand the culture and tradition of UK soccer and want to build and establish a new standard of success. They are important to the team with their performances and their strong personalities and attitude towards being successful make them natural leaders off the field."
The trio have been fixtures in the UK lineup since their arrival on campus as freshman. Rice, the reigning 2007 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, had a career year in 2007 while leading an injury depleted Wildcat team in nearly every category. The native of Parma, Ohio, led UK with seven goals in 2007, with six coming off headers. Rice's 15 points led the Wildcats, and his three game-winners ranked tops in the conference. A coaches preseason All-C-USA selection, Rice was tabbed the preseason C-USA Defensive Player of the Year.
"Barry leads by example and from the front," Collins said. "His drive, enthusiasm and passion are contagious and obviously his level of performance sets the standard very high for everyone. He is a modest, honest person who I have no doubt will have a long, successful career as a high level professional player."
Griffiths, a native of Bracknell, England, returns to full health for the 2008 campaign after battling injuries in 2007. The steady midfielder played in 11 of 19 games last year, totaling one goal on a penalty kick. Griffiths' best game of the year came during UK's upset over No. 1-ranked SMU in November of 2007, controlling the midfield while leading the Wildcats to its first win over a top-ranked foe in program history. During UK's 14-win 2006 season, Griffiths, totaled 14 points, third on the team, adding four goals and six assists. In 2006, Griffiths' fired 40 shots - 17 on goal - and his two game-winning goals ranked second on the team.
"Jason bring experience, reliability and has a great work ethic," Collins detailed. "He refuses to accept anything except the best from himself or any of his teammates and he is determined to make special things happen for Kentucky Soccer. He has earned the respect of everyone he deals with and is a major driving force behind everything."
Williams, a native of Fairfax Station, Va., has served as UK's steady hand in goal since 2006, when then 6-foot-2 keeper started 14 games and posted a 0.84 goals against average, third-best in the league. A 2006 C-USA All-Freshman selection, Williams started all 19 games for UK in 2007, working 1769 minutes and saving 71 shots. Williams also performed his best when the Wildcats were facing No. 1 SMU, earning Soccer America National Team of the Week honors after saving five shots, facing 17 vs. the high-octane Mustangs.
"Dan has made a major impact since the first day he stepped on campus," Collins said. "He is fearless, dependable and brings his best every day to training and games. He has a real presence that sets him apart from others. His competitive level and the way he approaches competing against the best is second to none and sets a great example for our team."
Kentucky opens the 2008 season with the annual UK Invitational, beginning on Friday at the UK Soccer Complex. Detroit and Evansville face off in the opener, at 5:30 p.m. ET, before UK faces Central Arkansas at 7:30 p.m. ET.