Team Information & History


 Position Name Contact
Captain Toshiki Niimi  
CaptainSteven Johnson
Vice PresidentWill
Treasurer Brian
SecretaryEugenio Mesta

Student leadership is one of the cornerstones of Rice Lads Soccer. All players and club members are encouraged and expected to actively seek leadership roles both inside and outside the field of play, regardless of whether they hold an Officer position or not. Officers are elected on an annual basis by the Club's members and coaching staff.

For more infomation on our Officers or the election process, please contact us.


2015 Regional Finalist
2014 National Championship Tournament 
2014 Region IV South Tournament Champions
2013 National Championship Tournament - Round of 16
2013 Region IV South Tournament Champions
2013 Lone Star South Conference Champions


September 16th, 2015
Lads look to reload in 2015
By Juan Saldana

After two consecutive berths to the Club Soccer National Tournament, the Rice Men’s Club soccer team, known as the Lads, has set a new bar for success. With the team’s recent achievements, making Nationals is no longer an unattainable goal, but rather an expectation.

Martin Torres, a Will Rice College junior and a starting right back, said the team now expects to make Nationals after two straight appearances.

“This year, we’re looking to go to nationals again and we’re looking to compete at nationals again,” Torres said. “We’re operating under the assumption that we’re going to make it.”

In the past few years, the Lads have risen in the club soccer ranks from the second division of Texas club soccer to the top division, where they have won their region for two consecutive years.

Two years ago, in 2013, the Lads gained a berth in the National Championship Tournament, and won their group to advance to the second round. However, the tournament was then canceled due to weather and the Lads were not able to continue their quest for the National title.

Last year, the Lads once again won their region and advanced to the National Championship Tournament in Memphis. This time they could not advance from the group stage and lost to the University of Florida and Michigan State University, the defending national champions.

The team’s biggest regret is not the losses themselves; rather, it is not playing to the best of their abilities last year. Torres said last year’s performance in the tournament now provides further motivation for the team.

“If we’re [going to] lose, I want to lose because we’re not as good as the other team,” Torres said. “Last year, we could have won those games. We didn’t play nearly as well as we could have played which was hugely disappointing.”

JB Makhani, a Duncan College senior and Lads co-captain, said the team is expecting to make Nationals once again this year and put on a dominating performance.

“We have been to Nationals the past two years, and that has been an awesome achieve

ment,” Makhani said. “However, now that we are in the top group in the region and playing against big schools such as Texas and Texas A&M, we not only want to go to Nationals, we want to win it. It starts from doing well in conference, and winning regionals.”

Many of the players on the team, including Torres and Makhani, had previously committed to other universities in order to play varsity soccer, but decided to attend Rice instead. Makhani said the Lads provide a high level of play as the only men’s soccer team on campus.

“There is no men’s varsity team at Rice because of Title IX,” Makhani said. “Many of the guys on the team decided against playing at schools across the country to attend Rice. Texas and Texas A&M are in the same situation, and as a result, the level of play is extremely high. We all want to win and we train for it.”

The team’s competitiveness is further exemplified by the difficulty of joining the Lads. This year, they held tryouts with approximately 30 applicants and only two new players were selected. Brown College sophomore Oliver Lucier and Will Rice freshman Eugenio Mesta are the only new members of this year’s Lads team.

Mesta said being the only freshman of the team can be intimidating but the presence of upperclassmen has helped him adjust to college club soccer.

“Although it might seem intimidating, the players are great and look forward to helping you out adapt to their playing style,” Mesta said. “What I like so far is that because we don’t have a coach we count on each other to push ourselves in practice and at the games.”

Torres said Rice students should attend Lads games to watch quality soccer and enjoy the game’s atmosphere and free refreshments.

“We are very successful, compete at a high level and we’re all really cute people,” Torres said. “The Lads are objectively the most attractive student organization on campus.”

The Lads were scheduled to begin their season against rival Texas A&M on Sunday but the game was postponed due to weather. That game has been rescheduled for Oct. 2. The Lads first home game will be on Oct. 27 at 3 p.m. against Southern Methodist University.

September 10th, 2014
Lads assemble new team
By Ronda Sutor

The Rice University men’s club soccer team, commonly known as the Lads, recently assembled their 2014-15 team. More than forty aspiring Lads tried out for the team last Monday through Wednesday, and returning upperclassmen chose eight to join the team.

The Lads are returning from a 2013-14 campaign, in which they defeated their rival Texas A&M University and qualified for the national tournament. Nationals were held in Phoenix, Ariz., which experienced a torrential downpour during the course of tournament, and the tournament was cancelled. However, before nationals ended prematurely, the Lads beat Pennsylvania State University and tied Virginia Tech University. The Lads garnered a spot in the Sweet Sixteen bracket and were scheduled to play Cincinnati State University when the tournament was cancelled.

The Lads have become a nationally-recognized club soccer program, and qualifying to play for the team has become a challenge in itself. According to Lads Captain Paul Greenfield, tryouts are becoming more selective every year.

“The guys that try out want to play soccer competitively,” Greenfield, a McMurtry College junior, said. “[They] know that it’s a competitive team, and they’re always there to win.”

McMurtry sophomore Nick Mallas, who just made the team last week, said the tryouts were competitive and intense.

“There were a lot of people trying out for hardly any spots,” Mallas said. “You weren’t going to make the team unless you showed something special.”

Because of the Lads’ competitiveness, rivalries have developed in recent years. According to Greenfield, an intense rivalry has developed in recent years between the Lads and Texas A&M University’s club team, especially due to the critical match that sent the Lads to nationals last year.

“We definitely have a good rivalry with A&M after the regionals last year,” Greenfield said. “I think if nationals [was not] canceled we would’ve played them at nationals too. If we would’ve kept winning, I think we would’ve played A&M again, which would’ve been fun. I think A&M is definitely our biggest rivalry.”

According to Lads Vice President Martin Torres, Rice students have reason to come out to the games and watch the Lads soccer team.

“There’s free beer at all of our games, and we play quality soccer,” Torres, a Will Rice College sophomore, said.

Midfielder Daniel Zdeblick also said more students should come to the home games.

“You’re rooting for your friends and classmates from your college and Rice,” Zdeblick, a McMurtry sophomore, said. “We’re a really good team and win a lot of games. It’s also fun to yell at the refs.”

The Lads’ next home game is Oct. 4 against the University of Texas, San Antonio.

Sports Editors Maddy Adams and Evan Neustater contributed to this article.

November 19th, 2013
Club soccer advances to nationals with 8-2 record
By Dan Elledge

After posting a dominant 6-1 record during the regular season and upsetting Texas A&M University in the Region IV Tournament championship game Nov. 3, the Rice University men’s club soccer team is going to nationals. The team is traveling to Phoenix this week, where the tournament will be held Nov. 21-23.

Duncan College sophomore JB Makhani said that after the final whistle went off and the team knew it had defeated Texas A&M, the team was jumping around in celebration. Makhani said the LADS, the men’s club soccer teem, seemed to play its best this season when the moment was right, and Makhani said this is one of the reasons the team is heading to nationals.

“We were so excited,” Makhani said. “We came in as an underdog getting there, and seeing A&M, [Louisiana State University] and Baylor [University], we knew going in that it was a long shot. It was a combination of hard work and everything just coming together at the right time.”

Team Captain Chris Hurd, a Duncan senior, said the team has improved this season due to the infusion of talent from exchange students Martel College senior Rick Totten from England, Martel senior Martin Honore from Denmark and Duncan senior Rodrigo Estima from Brazil. Hurd said the visiting players have contributed to the off-field culture as well by helping to create a sense of chemistry both on and off the pitch that has led to a successful season.

“Obviously, they are very talented, but [they also] bring different skills, so we continue to play with them and learn from them,” Hurd said. “It’s really changed the dynamic of the team.”

Honore said the off-field camaraderie among the players helps them play better on the pitch. He said trust and friendship have helped them get to this point.

“I think the reason we are doing so [well] is that everyone respects each other and everyone runs for each other,”Honore said. “No one feels like they are better than anyone else and we fight. I can still yell at one of the guys, and [he can] do the same to me, but after the game, we are friends again, and I think that is one of our strengths because we want it so badly.”

Hurd said that after its victory over A&M, the team has been preparing for the 24-team national tournament by practicing three times a week. Since the team has only traveled as far as Louisiana to play a game this season, the LADS are headed into unknown territory, possibly playing northern schools such as Pennsylvania State University, Ohio State University and Virginia Tech University.

Even though the team may play against some of the most populous programs in the nation, Hurd said he thinks Rice could win the whole thing.

“I’d like to win it, and everyone on our team thinks we can win it,” Hurd said. “That’s been one of the cool things about the team this year. We go into every single game believing that we can win.”

Honore said he is also confident in the team’s ability to win. He said that even though the LADS are coming from one of the smallest schools in the field, he does not doubt that this team can win it all. Honore said it has been the motto of the team all
year long.

“Of course, we are all very excited,” Honore said. “It’s going to be a great experience. I think by far we are the smallest school, so we believe that we have a chance to win it. It’s going to be difficult. We are going to meet some great teams, but we have the belief in ourselves that we can win the

September 14, 2001
Lads open season with promising split 
by John Turpin

Emerging strong and united from the first few weeks of practice, the men's club soccer team showed what it was capable of last weekend as the Lads split their first two regular-season matches.

Saturday's game against South Texas Community College turned out to be a disappointing season opener when two fouls called against the Lads turned into two successful penalty kicks for South Texas. Trying desperately to get back into the game, Rice allowed another late goal and fell by a final score of 4-1.

Sunday's game against the University of Texas at El Paso was a different story, however, as the Lads jumped all over the ball, scoring three goals in the first 20 minutes of the game. With the help of several saves by senior goalkeeper Wally Upp, Rice managed to hold UTEP to one goal in the rest of regulation to come away with its first win of the season.

A 1-1 weekend on the road against tough competition was a great start for the Lads, who hope to erase the memory of a disappointing 1-7-1 regular-season campaign last year. The team is loaded with older leadership, including four graduate students, and adds five new freshmen.

"The team is very solid this year," graduate student Mark Doughty said. "We've finally got a deep squad, which will help us overcome our typical problems with injuries."

Led by head coach Mike Henshaw and three captains, juniors Blake Borgeson and Carlos Marchani and senior Kevin Fisher, the Lads have continued to train very hard for the short regular season, which ends in October. The team supplements long afternoon practices with 6:15 a.m. running drills.

All the preparation will be needed when the Lads play the University of Texas and Southwest Texas State University this weekend.

Rice travels to Austin to face UT Saturday. Over the last six seasons the Lads have held a winning record over the Longhorns, and the teams fought to a 1-1 tie last year.

Rice is looking to finish in the top three this year in the Texas Collegiate Soccer League, which also includes Texas Tech University, Baylor University, Texas A&M University, the University of Texas, the University of Houston and the University of Texas at El Paso. A win over UT would start the Owls in the right direction.

Sunday's game against SWT is the Lads' home opener and will begin at 3 p.m. at the field adjacent to Alice Pratt Brown Hall.

Besides worrying about their record, all the players are looking forward to a great time playing a lot of soccer this fall.

"It's just a fun group of guys," junor midfielder/defender Moffett Stephen said. "That's the reason we do it."

October 30th, 1997
Lads defeat Sam Houston and UT

Two recent wins put the men's soccer club in a tie for first in the Southeast bracket of the Texas Collegiate Soccer League. Its 4-4-2 record qualified the team for the TCSL Championship Tournament this weekend in Austin.

"A&M, Baylor, UT, Tech--they ain't got no game," senior goal keeper Mike Tuckman said. "After spanking UT last weekend, we rediscovered our passion for the game--there's not a team out there that we can't take."

The Lads will play their first game of the single-elimination tournament Friday night against Abilene Christian University. The first-place team at the TCSL tournament qualifies for the National Championship Tournament.

Friday in Austin, the Lads defeated the defending national champions, the University of Texas. The 2-1 victory was important for qualifying for this weekend's tournament. Senior mid-fielder Vimy Ha and senior sweeper Jeremy Gibson scored for Rice.

Senior defender Roger Borchers emphasized the team's success in the UT game. "Our aggressive play took them by surprise, and they were never really able to step up their game to the level we were playing."

Saturday the Lads played Sam Houston State. Gibson secured the 1-0 victory by scoring the game's lone goal.
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