Sept. 8, 2005
TAMPA, Fla. - Indiana alumnus Josh Rife was named United Soccer League Second Division Defender of the Year on August 26. Rife helped his Charlotte Eagles club to the USL Second Division Championship the following evening. The Eagles defeated the Western Mass Pioneers, 5-4, in penalty kicks after the two clubs played to a 2-2 stalemate in 120 minutes of action.
Rife led the Eagles in appearances, starting all 23 matches in the back. He was a first team all-league selection after being named to the USL Second Division Team of the Week on three occasions this season. Rife helped the Eagles allow the fewest goals in the Second Division, giving up only 20 on the year.
After falling to the Utah Blitzz in penalty kicks in last season's title game, the Eagles claimed their second title in their 13-year history, thanks to some timely scoring from Ben Meek. Meek scored the tying goal in the 90th minute of action to send the game to overtime and then notched the penalty kick in the sudden death portion of the shootout to give Charlotte the title.
Along with Rife earning the Defender of the Year, the Eagles took home two other major honors. Jacob Coggins, who led the Second Division in scoring with 32 points on 14 goals and four assists, was named the league's Most Valuable Player and Chris McClellan was named the Second Division's Goalkeeper of the Year.
Rife transferred to IU in 2000 after spending his first two collegiate seasons with Texas Christian University. In his two years as a Hoosier, Rife started all 46 matches at the back position and was a first team All-Big Ten selection in 2000 and 2001. IU advanced to a pair of College Cups during those seasons, including a national runner-up performance in 2001. IU won the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles in 2001 as well as the 2000 regular season championship.
The Denton, Texas, native was a first team NSCAA All-Region selection as a senior in 2001. The Hoosiers turned in the fifth-best single season goals against average in NCAA history during 2001, allowing just nine goals in 23 matches for a GAA of 0.37. Indiana also shutout 16 foes in 2001. During his two-year tenure with the Hoosiers, IU had a goals against average of 0.65 with 26 clean sheets.