Rochester Rhinos News Release -- www.rhinossoccer.com
Monday, October 25, 2010
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Rochester Rhinos, 2010 USSF Division 2 regular season champions and one of the most successful franchises in United Soccer Leagues history, are proud to announce today that they will join USL PRO starting with the 2011 season.
Designed to help ensure the long-term stability of professional soccer in North America, USL PRO will feature 18-20 teams playing in four main regions throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. In USL PRO the Rhinos will renew rivalries with such storied teams as the Charleston Battery, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, and Richmond Kickers. The league will have a national broadcast package, with USL expected to continue its nine-year partnership with Fox Soccer Channel for the coverage of its top professional league.
"The new USL PRO is a tremendous opportunity to really market to and captivate our respective fan bases in all of our respective markets," Rhinos CEO Robert Clark said. "I look forward to doing our part in Rochester to help further strengthen the marketing initiatives USL PRO will have in 2011 and beyond."
Focused on franchise stability and longevity, USL PRO will feature an unprecedented five teams with more than 10 years of on-going operational experience, and more than 90 years of overall operational experience combined. Additional franchises participating in USL PRO for the 2011 season will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
USL PRO will be led by a Board of Governors responsible for making all major decisions for the league including expansion, competition format and commercial strategy. The U.S. Soccer Federation-affiliated league will benefit from the leadership of the dedicated and experienced professional staff at USL’s Tampa headquarters as well as the developmental support of USL’s proven and integrated system of leagues.
“The Rochester Rhinos are one of the top soccer success stories in North America, and it’s only fitting that they continue to add to their accomplishments as a member of USL PRO,” USL President Tim Holt said. “The tradition between the Rhinos and USL dates back 15 years, and no other team has enjoyed the level of success Rochester has achieved during that time. This is a great addition for USL PRO.”
To compliment the league’s national television coverage, live web streaming of USL PRO matches via USL LIVE will allow fans to stay connected with their team throughout the season. The Rhinos are led by 2010 USSF D2 Coach of the Year Bob Lilley, who will return in 2011 with his eyes focused on capturing the USL PRO title.
The 2010 Rhinos also featured Best XI members Aaron Pitchkolan and Troy Roberts, and the Rhinos hold contract options on the majority of the current team. The Rhinos have never missed the playoffs in their history, qualifying a record-setting 15 consecutive seasons.