Rochester, New York
|Head Coach||Bob Lilley|
|2014||Regular Season: 6th
|Website||Club home page|
The Rochester Rhinos are an American professional soccer team based in Rochester, New York, United States. Founded in 1996, the team plays in the United Soccer League, the third tier of the American Soccer Pyramid, having self-relegated from the USSF D2 Pro League at the end of the 2010 season.
The team plays its home games at Sahlen's Stadium, formerly known as PAETEC Park, where they have played since 2006. The team's colors are black, white and green. The team is coached by veteran head coach Bob Lilley.
The club has been known at times as the Rochester Raging Rhinos.
The team was founded in 1996 and played in the now-defunct original A-League until it merged with the USISL for the 1997 season, creating the new A-League. The A-League was renamed the USL First Division in 2005. In 2006 the Rhinos moved into the newly completed PAETEC Park, a 13,768-seat soccer-specific stadium. Construction at the stadium is ongoing and will, once completed, boost the capacity to approximately 20,000 seats.
The Rhinos have prided themselves on upholding a high level of play over their 18 year history. The team made the playoffs every season until 2013. They reached the championship game six times (1996, 1998–2001, 2006). The Rhinos have been league champions three times (1998, 2000, 2001). They also won the 1999 U.S. Open Cup, becoming the only non-Major League Soccer team to win the cup since MLS began play in 1996. The Rhinos hold a record of 10-15 versus MLS teams in the U.S Open Cup.
The team was declared insolvent in 2008 after defaulting on their stadium agreement, and PAETEC Park was seized by the city of Rochester. After a brief search for a new owner and investor who could improve the team's financial outlook, in March, 2008, the Rhinos official website announced that the Rhinos had found both in Utica businessman Rob Clark. The new owner then announced that the team will now be known as the "Rochester Rhinos," and that the financial situation of the team no longer put them in any danger of not being able to afford the upcoming season.
After two seasons under owner Rob Clark, on November 30, 2009, the club announced they would be joining the new NASL for its 2010 season. The United States Soccer Federation refused the NASL's application for sanctioning, and instead operated its own temporary second-division league for 2010. The Rhinos were part of that temporary USSF Second Division league. The Rhinos switched leagues again before the 2011 season to the third-division USL Pro league, who consider themselves equally competitive with the second-division NASL.
The 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons saw many players come and go from the Rhinos roster, which is a change from their earlier history during the 1990s and early 2000s when players such as Lenin Steenkamp (9 years) and Doug Miller (8 years) stayed for many years. Nathaniel Short, Ryan Heins, and Isaac Kissi were with the team in 2009 and 2010, but of the three only Isaac Kissi was back in 2011.
The 2011 season ended with the Rhinos first in their division followed by a playoff season that lasted 2 games. The Rhinos saw off the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 4–0 in first round of the playoffs and then lost 2–1 at home to the Harrisburg City Islanders to finish the season.
On September 15, 2011, the official Rhinos website announced that head coach Bob Lilley would not be returning for the 2012 season. On October 12 Jesse Myers, most recently an assistant coach of the Richmond Kickers, was named as the new head coach of the Rhinos.
On January 28, 2013, it was announced that the Rhinos would serve as the official USL Pro affiliate of the New England Revolution. Following a 1-6-1 start to the season, on May 19 Myers was dismissed and Pat Ercoli named Head Coach for the remainder of the 2013 season. They missed the playoffs for the first time ever, finishing with a 6-10-10 record.
- Fauver Stadium at the University of Rochester; Rochester, New York (1996)
- Frontier Field; Rochester, New York (1996–2005)
- PAETEC Park/Rochester Rhinos Stadium/Marina Auto Stadium/Sahlen's Stadium; Rochester, New York (2006–present)
The Rhinos have been covered in the Rochester-based Democrat and Chronicle newspaper since their founding by reporter Jeff Diveronica.
The Oak Street Brigade is the official supporters group of the Rhinos. Occupying section 101 at Sahlen's Stadium, the brigade stands and sings for 90 minutes every game. Best known for their "1 ton bass drum" and a flurry of streamers following every Rhinos goal, the brigade is a diverse group and their slogan is "Join or Die." The name Oak Street Brigade refers to the address of Sahlen's Stadium.
Players and staff
as of March 24, 2015
- Pat Ercoli – President & COO
- Bob Lilley – Head Coach
- Georgios Kyriazis – Assistant Coach
- Gavin McInerny – Goalkeeping Coach
- Doug Graham – Head Athletic Trainer
Notable former players
- See also All-time Rochester Rhinos roster
Rochester Rhinos Hall of Fame
- 19 – Doug Miller
- Pat Ercoli (1996–2004)
- Laurie Calloway (2005–2007)
- Darren Tilley (2008–2009)
- Bob Lilley (2010–2011)
- Jesse Myers (2012–2013)
- Pat Ercoli (interim, 2013)
- Bob Lilley (2014–)
- USSF Division 2 Professional League 
- Regular Season Champions (1): 2010
- Champions, USL Conference (1): 2010
- USL A-League
- Winners (3): 1998, 2000, 2001
- Northeast Division Champions (3): 1998, 1999, 2002
- U.S. Open Cup
- Winners (1): 1999
|Year||Division||League||Regular Season||Playoffs||Open Cup||Avg. Attendance|
|1997||2||USISL A-League||2nd, Northeast||Division Semifinals||Round of 16||10,677|
|1998||2||USISL A-League||1st, Northeast||Champion||3rd Round||11,499|
|1999||2||USL A-League||1st, Northeast||Final||Champion||11,551|
|2000||2||USL A-League||2nd, Northeast||Champion||3rd Round||11,628|
|2001||2||USL A-League||2nd, Northern||Champion||2nd Round||10,789|
|2002||2||USL A-League||1st, Northeast||Conference Finals||3rd Round||10,008|
|2003||2||USL A-League||2nd, Northeast||Conference Finals||4th Round||10,169|
|2004||2||USL A-League||4th, Eastern||Quarterfinals||Quarterfinals||10,200|
|2005||2||USL First Division||2nd||Semifinals||Quarterfinals||9,791|
|2006||2||USL First Division||2nd||Final||4th Round||10,110|
|2007||2||USL First Division||5th||Quarterfinals||3rd Round||9,705|
|2008||2||USL First Division||4th||Semifinals||3rd Round||8,243|
|2009||2||USL First Division||6th||Quarterfinals||Semifinals||6,888|
|2010||2||USSF Division 2 Professional League||1st, USL (1st)||Quarterfinals||3rd Round||6,464|
|2011||3||USL Pro||1st, National||Division Finals||3rd Round||5,339|
|2012||3||USL Pro||2nd||Semifinals||3rd Round||6,233|
|2013||3||USL Pro||11th||Did not qualify||3rd Round||5,876|
|2014||3||USL Pro||6th||Quarterfinals||5th Round||5,972|
- The legend of the Rochester Raging Rhinos, the last underdog to win the US Open Cup
- . Sports Illustrated.
- City Says It Will Seize PAETEC Park, Citing Default. WYSL.
- Utica businessman buys Rhinos; 2008 season a go. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
- ROCHESTER RHINOS JOIN NEW NASL
- "Club Listing". USSF Division-2 Pro League.
- "Lilley Decides not to Return". Rhinossoccer.com.
- "Rhinos Name Myers Head Coach". Rhinossoccer.com.
- "Rhinos, Revolution Form Partnership". Rochester Rhinos. January 28, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- "Ercoli Returns to Coach Rochester Rhinos". Rhinossoccer.com. May 19, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
- Sources: Rhinos will name Tilley head coach
- "Division-2 Schedule and Results". USSF Division-2 Pro League.