|460 Oak Street, Rochester NY, 14608|
|585 454 5425 (KICK)|
|<info AT rhinossoccer DOT com>|
|Staff Contact Page|
|Rhino's Stadium Page|
The Rochester Rhinos (aka Rochester Raging Rhinos) soccer club was founded in 1996. Home games were played at Fauver Stadium on the University of Rochester campus before the opening of Frontier Field in downtown Rochester. In 2006, the Rhinos moved to their new purpose-built stadium, variously known as PAETEC Park, Marina Auto Stadium, Rochester Rhinos Stadium, Sahlen's Stadium, Capelli Sport Stadium, and most recently Marina Auto Stadium again.
In 2008 the Adirondack Sports Club, LLC (owner Rob Clark) acquired the team when the former owners defaulted on bank loans for the stadium and the club was taken over by the City of Rochester. "Raging" was dropped from the team name at this time.
This Rochester Rhinos have enjoyed a high level of success in their short history. A-League Championships were earned in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001. The Rhinos also won a U.S. Open Cup Championship in 1999, en route to which they defeated several MLS teams. This much success has made the Rhinos the premier franchise in the A-League (now the USL) and feared by their opponents.
Also adding to the Rochester advantage has been the large amount of fan support locally for the Rhinos. In its first decade the team typically drew nine or ten thousand fans per match, a statistic which pushed the effort to construct their own stadium. (During the 2000 season, the Rhinos drew on average 11,628 fans for 15 games.) Attendance now runs less than half that, however, despite generally competitive teams.
In 2012 the Rhinos played in the 11-team USL PRO division (two steps below Major League Soccer). Their home opener was Saturday, May 5 against the Charlotte Eagles. They finished the regular season with a 12-7-5 record, earning second seed in the league playoffs, but lost the semifinal match on penalty kicks.
In 2013 USL PRO expanded to 13 teams. The Rhinos lost their May 4 home opener 0-1 to the Harrisburg City Islanders. On May 19, with a record of 1-6-1, the club dismissed head coach Jesse Myers, replacing him with Pat Ercoli. Despite improved play they finished their season in 11th place with a 6-10-10 record, breaking a 17-year streak by failing to make the playoffs for the first time in team history.
Following the return of Bob Lilley as head coach, on October 16, 2015, the Rhinos won the USL championship. In January of 2016, however, the USL revoked Clark's ownership when the city revoked the team's lease on the stadium. New ownership was quickly found in David and Wendy Dworkin, minority owners of the Sacramento Kings basketball club. The Rhinos made the USL playoffs in 2016 and 2017, but attendance (which may have been overstated during the Clark period) continued to decline. On November 30, 2017 the Dworkins announced that an appeal to raise $1.3 million had not succeeded and that the Rhinos would not play in 2018 while additional sources of funding were sought.
The affiliated Rochester Junior Rhinos youth soccer program is expected to continue in 2018.
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