Posted at: 01/23/2013 5:26 PM
Updated at: 01/23/2013 5:43 PM
By: Robin De Wind
Big news for the Rochester Rhinos, Major League Soccer and the USL Pro League(the league the Rhinos play in) have announced a major multi-year partnership. It's a story News10NBC broke Tuesday night on News10NBC at 11.
The Rhinos will now be affiliated with the New England Revolution MLS. The Rochester Rhinos will now be a farm team for the New England Revolution of the MLS. Players can develop, rehab and gain needed experience in Rochester.
For local fans, that means a higher level of play on the field at Sahlen's Stadium.
It has been in the works for months and on Wednesday, the MLS made it official. Four MLS teams will partner with four USL Pro League teams. While no formal agreement has been signed the Rochester Rhinos have a verbal agreement with the New England Revolution. Team president Pat Ercoli calls the news exciting and necessary for both leagues to grow.
Pat Ercoli, President, Rochester Rhinos, said, “The ability to have some of those higher caliber players being signed that they don't get time to develop, we'll have them in our ranks.”
Fans should think of it like the National Hockey Leagues affiliations with the American Hockey Hockey, the Sabres and the Amerks.
The result, fans will get a better product on the field. The Rhinos will get four players at a time from the Revolution. The affiliation could also help the Rhinos payroll.
Rhinos' head coach Jesse Myers says the move was necessary to stay competitive.
Jesse Myers, Rhinos Head Coach, said, “It's gonna give me a few more players I'm familiar with their team and staff. It's not one organization dictating another, but a working agreement getting guys to the next level.”
The upgraded Rhinos and the Western New York Flash led by Pittsford's Abby Wambach gives new meaning to the title, Soccer Town USA.
Ercoli said, “We'll have MLS and Abby and the Flash and national team players as part of our organization. It just a quality product, no question.”
The Rhinos schedule is expected to be released this week and the official agreement with the Revolution also expected to be signed this week.
Although no official announcement was made, the other three affiliations between MLS-USL clubs are D.C. United-Richmond, Philadelphia-Harrisburg and Sporting K.C.-Orlando. There is also talk of inter-league games. The Rhinos possibly hosting Montreal at Sahlen's Stadium.