Rochester Rhinos

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Rochester Rhinos
Rochester Rhinos 2011.svg
Founded 1996 (1996)
Stadium Sahlen's Stadium
Rochester, New York
Ground Capacity 13,768
Owner Rob Clark
Head Coach Bob Lilley
League USL Pro
2014 Regular Season: 6th
Playoffs: Quarterfinals
Website Club home page
Current season
The team's logo used from 1996–2007

The Rochester Rhinos are an American professional soccer team based in Rochester, New York, United States. Founded in 1996, the team plays in the USL Professional Division, 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.

History[edit]

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 twelve plus 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.[1] The Rhinos hold a record of 10-15 versus MLS teams in the U.S Open Cup.[2]

The Rhinos were considered a candidate to be an expansion team at the MLS level when PAETEC Park was in the planning stages.[3]

The team was declared insolvent in 2008 after defaulting on their stadium agreement, and PAETEC Park was seized by the city of Rochester.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7] 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 & 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.[8] On October 12 Jesse Myers, most recently an assistant coach of the Richmond Kickers, was named as the new head coach of the Rhinos.[9]

On January 28, 2013, it was announced that the Rhinos would serve as the official USL Pro affiliate of the New England Revolution.[10] 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.[11]

Stadium[edit]

Club culture[edit]

Media[edit]

The Rhinos have been covered in the Rochester based Democrat and Chronicle newspaper since their founding by reporter Jeff Diveronica.

Supporters[edit]

For most of the Rhinos existence the supporters group were the Stampede, however today the Oak Street Brigade are the supporters for the Rhinos following the dissolution of the Stampede. The name Oak Street Brigade refers to the address of Sahlen's Stadium.

Broadcasting[edit]

All home matches and some away matches are broadcast on http://www.usllive.com w/ the voice of the Rhinos: Joe Giuliano

Players and staff[edit]

Current roster[edit]

as of 28 January 2014[12]

No. Position Player Nation
3 Forward Dixon, AlexAlex Dixon      United States
5 Defender Diallo, BabacarBabacar Diallo      Senegal
7 Midfielder Obasi, Onua ThomasOnua Thomas Obasi      England
13 Midfielder Garzi, MikeMike Garzi      United States
15 Defender McMahon, PatPat McMahon      United States
20 Defender Walls, TonyTony Walls      United States
22 Forward Rolfe, ColinColin Rolfe      United States
23 Midfielder Mendoza, JonathanJonathan Mendoza      Colombia
33 Goalkeeper Miller, BrandonBrandon Miller      United States
77 Goalkeeper McCarthy, JohnJohn McCarthy      United States

Staff[edit]

Notable former players[edit]

Rochester Rhinos Hall of Fame[edit]

Retired numbers[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

Achievements[edit]

  • USL A-League
    • Winners (3): 1998, 2000, 2001
    • Northeast Division Champions (3): 1998, 1999, 2002

Record[edit]

Year-by-year[edit]

The Rhinos (black/white/yellow) vs. the Carolina Railhawks (orange) on July 6, 2007.
Year Division League Regular Season Playoffs Open Cup Avg. Attendance
1996 2 A-League 4th Final Final 9,991
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 5,886

References[edit]

External links[edit]