KANSAS City, Mo. – On the eve of the NCAA Women’s College Cup to crown the Division I soccer national champion Rice’s Samantha Chaiken has been named an All-America honoree by United Soccer Coaches, the organization announced Thursday (Nov. 30).
Chaiken, a senior midfielder and three-time team captain, was named to the 2017 NCAA Division I All-America Third Team. She is the first Rice player since the start of the soccer program in 2001 to earn All-America recognition.
Earlier this week Chaiken was named a First Team All-Region honoree by United Soccer Coaches for the second-straight season. In 2017 the Dallas native was selected as the Conference USA Midfielder of the Year for the second time in as many years. She shared the Rice lead in goals (8) and game-winning goals (2), and led the Owls in shots (58) and shots-on-goal (25) for a steady .431 shots-on-goal percentage. Chaiken was also among the team leaders with 1,535 minutes and rarely came off the field, playing in 92. 5 percent of the team’s total time this season. She led Rice to a 12-4-2 overall record, the C-USA regular season title and an at-large bid to the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
“I am so grateful to have earned this honor,” Chaiken said. “First and foremost I want to give credit to my coaches and teammates. My first priority has always been team success and when the team succeeds, individual awards follow. To be recognized demonstrates to me that all of the hours playing, practicing, training and lifting have paid off.
“To end my career with this honor is a wonderful way to close out my Rice Soccer career,” Chaiken added. “I have enjoyed every second playing at Rice and could not have had the career I have had without the help of my amazing coaching staff and the support of truly phenomenal teammates both on and off the field. Coach Nicky Adams cares so much about Rice Soccer. It is evident in everything she does. She is one of a kind and I couldn’t have earned this honor without her coaching and support! Rice Fight, Never Die!”
In her four-year collegiate career Chaiken started each of the 69 games in which she played. She ranks among the Owls’ all-time leaders in goals (15) and game-winning goals (6). The former Ursuline Academy and Dallas Texans Soccer Club standout was recruited and trained by coach Adams. A former collegiate All-America and professional player, Adams said Chaiken’s dedication to improve has been exemplary.
“I am just so proud of Samantha to receive this honor,” coach Adams said. “Being put on an All-American Team is one of the highest and toughest honors someone can receive in collegiate soccer. Since day one of having Samantha part of this program we knew that she was going to be a special player. Her professionalism, maturity and leadership elevated her to the next level. We are so proud of her and the way she has represented Rice over her career!”