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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State soccer player tackles season with a goal

Aaron Draper
Miles Rice attacking the goal against Western Washington

Alongside his team, junior forward, Miles Rice has racked up multiple accomplishments in his third year of being a Chico State athlete.

Heading into their 12th game, the Chico State Men’s Soccer team are looking bright as they remain undefeated this season. 

Rice is one of many players who has stood out and led the team to its latest success. Recently being named California Collegiate Athletic Association offensive player of the week, netting the 25th hat-trick in Chico State Men’s soccer history in 2022 and being the leading scorer so far this season are only a few accomplishments to mention.

This has left him with a sense of fulfillment on the field. “When you get these minor achievements, it kind of just lets you take a deep breath,” Rice said.“But also still staying determined to, like, kind of chase after it again and again. It’s kind of addicting.” 

Despite his dedication, challenging games are a part of the sport. Rice said taking it weekend-by-weekend and being his own role model is key. 

“How I grow as a person and as an athlete is through my own experiences,” Rice said.

Because the student-athlete life comes with many challenges, practicing box-breathing techniques helps when he’s felt overwhelmed. He even revealed, through chuckles, that meditation and listening to “No Church in the Wild” by Kanye West are a part of his pregame routine. 

Miles Rice heads the ball (Aaron Draper)

With his senior year right around the corner, Rice looked back at how much he has improved on and off the field. 

Not only does he feel more athletically mature, but his mental growth allowed him to step into a leadership position toward the incoming soccer players.

When comparing himself to his freshman self, Rice said growing into this position took time.

“That, for me, has been the biggest learning curve each and every year. Because I feel like my mental state this year compared to last year is completely different, compared to the first year is completely different,” said Rice. 

When deciding to attend Chico State, Assistant Coach Austin Swartz played a role in Rice’s decision. 

Both hailing from Cameron Park, Rice was coached by Swartz as a kid and felt confident in his guidance.

“He holds himself to a very high standard,” said Swartz. “Emotionally, the team needs his intensity and competitive spirit.”

Rice’s high standards are apparent as he looks to be the leading scorer for the second year in a row, and has set some high expectations for himself.

“I told myself at the beginning of the year that I need a minimum of ten goals,” said Rice, who has already scored seven with eight more games to go. 

However, his driven personality goes beyond the soccer field. Besides soccer, Rice aspires to become a firefighter. This aspiration unfolded after being involved in a car accident during his senior year of high school.

His reaction after the collision made him believe he was cut out for the job. “When it happened, I went to help the other people before helping myself,” Rice said.

Miles Rice attacking the ball against a defender
Miles Rice (right) attacking the ball against Western Washington (Aaron Draper)

Looking to be a positive role model to the team, these past years provided Rice a chance to create a special bond with his teammates.

Whether it’s barbecuing on a weekend or taking a trip to Alaska, his team has been the most important part of his college experience yet. “I believe in not the place that makes the experience but the people you are surrounded by,” said Rice. 

This bond has gifted Rice with friends who respect and admire him. Defender Dawson White said Rice is a fearless and driven person who is willing to take on any challenge at full force.

“Miles and I have a great teammate dynamic because we are very close off the field as well, so when we are in combat together on the field it pushes both of us to go even harder,” White said.

This season has also gifted Rice with many “firsts.” The team had the opportunity to play in Burnaby, Canada, where he experienced playing outside of the country for the first time.

Being far from home came with difficulty, but the team had a job to get done and pushed through. 

“It took a lot of mental kind of stability and strength within each other to be like alright let’s just relax, like we got this, we know what we’re doing,” said Rice.

Under Rice’s seniority, the Wildcats have shared current success. Starting as a young team during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rice felt the team paved the way for themselves as they didn’t have an older group to look up to.

Their work has paid off though, as the team is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation. Rice said he is most looking forward to playing No. 19 Cal State Los Angeles, who the Wildcats have not beaten since Rice’s arrival. 

Rice ensured they are coming into the game and the season with a chip on their shoulder, and considers this their vengeance season.


Milca Elvira Chacon and Nathan Chiochios can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Nathan Chiochios
Nathan Chiochios, Sports Editor
Nathan Chiochios is in his third year at Chico State as a journalism (news) major. He is from Mountain View, a town in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is his second semester on The Orion, and his first semester as sports editor, and he looks forward to growing his journalism and writing skills. In his free time, he spends most of his time skateboarding and hanging out with friends and family.
Milca Elvira Chacon
Milca Elvira Chacon is a journalism major with a minor in Broadcasting. She was a contributor for The Orion last semester, but is now officially working for the student-led newspaper. She hopes to strengthen her writing skills and contribute to stories that will positively impact the community. Outside of journalism, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and working out.

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