Rochester New York FC Tryouts & Club Guide: History, Stadium, Players, and More!
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Rochester New York FC is a professional soccer team based in Rochester, New York that competes in the MLS Next Pro league, the third division of American soccer. RNYFC is the first independent club in the new MLS Next Pro league.
Rochester New York FC Youth Development System
RNY FC, who recently announced their intent to begin competing in 2022, have also announced their affiliation with the prestigious Empire United Youth Academy located in Rochester, New York.
The Empire United Youth Soccer Academy provides player development opportunities for all players in the U7-U19 age groups. Empire United and the Junior Rhinos recently merged their youth clubs and will now act as the pathway for local and regional youth soccer players to feed the RNY FC pro team. Through this affiliation, our youth players will train alongside and with the pro team, similar to the models used for MLS and International clubs throughout the world.
“Aligning the Rochester Rhinos with the Empire United/Junior Rhinos’ youth programs is a key building block to the success of building our pro team. Developing and using homegrown, local talent is the best way to develop a strong community based football club.” says Dr. Lee Tucker, Sporting Director for RNY FC.
The Empire Training Facility is located at 1520 John Street in West Henrietta and features a 100×50 yard indoor turf field house and a 120×75 yard outdoor, lighted synthetic turf field for training and competition. The facility will be undergoing significant facility renovations to accommodate the affiliation with the pro team.
Rochester New York FC Recruitment Trials
At the time of this writing, there is no official academy/trial information for Rochester New York FC. Please come back at a later date while we monitor this club or click here to visit their official news section for more information.
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Rochester New York FC History
The now-defunct original A-League was united with the USISL for the 1997 season, which resulted in the formation of the current A-League. The Rochester Raging Rhinos were established in 1996 and played in the former A-League at that time. After losing in the championship game in 1996, they finally prevailed in 1998 and earned their first league championship.
After defeating an MLS club in the final of the U.S. Open Cup in 1999, the club became the first team from a league other than MLS to win the national cup since the league’s inception. They did this by defeating the Colorado Rapids by a score of 2-0. After this victory, the team went on to win the A-League championship again in both 2000 and 2001.
The Rhinos moved into the freshly finished PAETEC Park, a 13,768-seat soccer-specific stadium that is now known as Marina Auto Stadium, and again made it to the championship game a year after the A-League was renamed to the USL First Division in 2005. When PAETEC Park was still in the development phases, the Rhinos were one of the teams that were being considered for an expansion spot in Major League Soccer.
PAETEC Park was taken over by the city of Rochester when the club defaulted on the agreement that they had with the stadium in 2008, which led to the team being declared bankrupt. Rob Clark, a businessman from Utica, purchased the squad in March 2008 after a brief period during which the club was looking for a new owner and investor who would be able to improve the team’s financial situation.
Clark gave the team a new identity, rebranding them as the Rochester Rhinos and assuring them that their financial status was sound and that they would be able to compete the next season. Following Clark’s leadership for two seasons, the team moved up to the new NASL for the 2010 season. The North American Soccer League’s bid for licensing was rejected by the United States Soccer Federation, which instead ran its own provisional second-division league for the 2010 season.
The Rhinos participated in the USSF Division 2 Professional League during its brief existence. The Rhinos moved leagues once more prior to the 2011 season, this time to the third division of the USL Pro league, which at the time regarded itself to be on par with the NASL in terms of its level of competition. After the regular season of 2011, the Rhinos finished the year in first place in their division. This was followed by a playoff season that consisted of two games.
The Rhinos won the first round of the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds with a score of 4–0, but they were eliminated from the competition by the Harrisburg City Islanders with a score of 2–1 at home. Jesse Myers, who had most recently served as an assistant coach for the Richmond Kickers, took over for Bob Lilley as head coach after the conclusion of the regular season. The Rhinos were officially recognized by the New England Revolution as their USL Pro affiliate in the month of January 2013.
Pat Ercoli was hired head coach on May 19, 2013, replacing Myers, who was fired after the team’s 2013 season got off to a 1–6–1 start. They finished with a record of 6–10–10, which resulted in them missing out on the playoffs for the first first time.
In January of 2016, the league stripped the Clark family of their ownership of the club, citing the fact that the City of Rochester had terminated their lease on Rochester Rhinos Stadium. The league assumed control of the club’s activities until a new ownership group could be found to purchase the franchise. In the later part of the month, David and Wendy Dworkin, who are already minority owners of the Sacramento Kings basketball club, were revealed to be the new owners of the Rhinos.
On March 10, 2016, it was formally announced that the Dworkins would be taking over ownership of the business. The Rhinos made the announcement that they would be going on sabbatical on November 30th, 2017. The team finally broke its radio silence after almost a year to reveal that it intended to relocate to the new third-division league known as USL League One and begin playing again in the year 2020. In addition, the team declared that it had struck an agreement with the city to leave Marina Auto Stadium and stated that it would be seeking for a site to build a new stadium.
Moreover, the team stated that it would be exploring for a location to build a new stadium. Pat Ercoli, the President of the Rhinos, made an announcement on Uncle Sam’s Soccer Podcast toward the end of the first season of USL League One that, as a result of the delays and pacing of the development of the Rhinos’ new stadium, it was likely that the team would skip the 2020 season and relaunch in 2021.
The announcement was made toward the end of the first USL League One season. The 30th of November, 2017, saw the team make the announcement that they will not compete in 2018 while they searched for extra finance. The club made the announcement on the 22nd of August, 2018, that they will search for a new stadium location and make an application to join USL League One. It was revealed that Jamie Vardy would be a co-owner of the franchise on June 15, 2021, and he has the intention of fielding a side for the 2022 season. Lee Tucker, who was the project leader at Vardy’s successful V9 Academy – which provided opportunities to non-league players in England who were hoping to break into the professional game – will be promoted to the position of Sporting Director.
It was announced on September 1, 2021 that the club had undergone a significant makeover as part of the club’s revival. As part of this process, the Rhinos underwent a complete rebranding to Rochester New York FC or RNYFC for short, and a new logo was presented. The High Falls waterfall in Rochester has been rendered in a stylized manner and included on the new club badge. The team has stated that it will resume playing at the professional level in 2022, and it will be the first independent club to participate in the MLS Next Pro division.
Rochester New York FC Stadium
The squad moved its home games to the soccer-specific Marina Auto Stadium in 2006, which had been built specifically for their needs. When the Rhinos decided to go on hiatus at the conclusion of 2017, they had planned on staying in the stadium. In order to fulfill the requirements of their lease, they scheduled USL matches at neutral locations throughout the 2018 season. On the other hand, the team revealed in August 2018 that they will be looking for a new location.
The team indicated that they will play at the Empire United Soccer Complex in Henrietta, New York, in June 2021, when they announced a new co-owner in advance of a projected return to play in 2022. The return to play was scheduled to occur in 2022. However, in order to host professional soccer games, Empire United’s field would have needed to be upgraded because it did not have any stands, concessions, or other amenities. In order for the team to be prepared for a March 2022 kickoff in MLS Next Pro, it was announced in December 2021 that they would instead play at John L. DiMarco Field, a soccer and lacrosse venue located on the campus of Monroe Community College in Brighton, New York. John L. DiMarco Field has a capacity of 1,500.