Rochester Rhinos Announce Move to USL PRO
In conjunction with the Austin Aztex move to Orlando, Florida, the Rochester Rhinos announced they will join USL PRO for the 2011 season.
“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.”
The Rhinos would fit into the east coast footprint of the current Division 3 USL PRO. However, supporters in Rochester have had mixed opinions on the move to a lower division. While Clark has stated he doesn’t believe the quality of play will be any different than in the past, some fans are concerned with the Rhinos stepping down a division after a long history of playing in Division 2.
In the 2009 season Clark was affiliated with the United Soccer Leagues but pulled his team out of the organization at the USL Annual General Meeting. He then joined the North American Soccer League, who were trying to wrestle control of D2 away from the USL. In return, the United Soccer Leagues sued Clark in a Florida district court in December of 2009. The case was dropped in January 2010 as part of the agreement that US Soccer made with both the NASL and USL to run the league themselves in 2010. According to a source who did not want to go on record, the NASL had Clark sign a multi-year agreement with their organization and litigation could again be in the works.