Rochester Rhinos

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Rochester Rhinos
2016 logo of the Rochester Rhinos.png
Nickname(s) Raging Rhinos
Founded 1996 (20 years ago) (1996 (20 years ago))
Stadium Capelli Sport Stadium
Rochester, New York
Ground Capacity 13,768
Owner David and Wendy Dworkin[1]
Head Coach Bob Lilley
League USL
2016 4th, Eastern Conference
Playoffs: Conference Semifinals
Website Club home page
Current season
The team's logo used from 1996–2007
The team's logo used from 2008–2015

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 in the second tier of the United States soccer league system.

The team plays its home games at Capelli Sport 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.

The Rhinos have prided themselves on upholding a high level of play over their 20-year history. The team made the playoffs every season until 2013. They reached the championship game seven times (1996, 1998–2001, 2006, 2015). The Rhinos have been league champions four times (1998, 2000, 2001, 2015). 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.[2] The Rhinos hold a record of 10–15 versus MLS teams in the U.S Open Cup.[3]

The Rhinos were considered a candidate to be an expansion team at the MLS level when PAETEC Park was in the planning stages.[4]

The team was declared insolvent in 2008 after defaulting on their stadium agreement, and PAETEC Park was seized by the city of Rochester.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] 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 Division 2 Professional League league.[8] The Rhinos switched leagues again before the 2011 season to the then third-division USL Pro league, who considered 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.[9] On October 12 Jesse Myers, most recently an assistant coach of the Richmond Kickers, was named as the new head coach of the Rhinos.[10]

On January 28, 2013, it was announced that the Rhinos would serve as the official USL Pro affiliate of the New England Revolution.[11] 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.[12]

On January 5, 2016, the league announced that it had revoked the Clark family's ownership of the club, citing the revocation of the lease on Rochester Rhinos Stadium by the City of Rochester. The league took over operations of the club until it could be sold to a new ownership group.[13] David and Wendy Dworkin, minority owners of the Sacramento Kings basketball club, were identified as the Rhinos' new owners on January 16.[14] The Dworkins were officially announced as the new owners on March 10, 2016.[15]


Club culture[edit]


2017 Rhinos home and away games can be seen "Live" on WBGT Ch.18 TV in Rochester, NY and on-demand on

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 Capelli Sport Stadium, the Brigade stands and sings for 90 minutes every game and usually 30 minutes before and after. Best known for their "1 ton bass drum" and a flurry of streamers and smoke bombs following every Rhinos goal. Their biggest rivals are the Montreal Ultras and Pittsburgh. The name Oak Street Brigade refers to the address of Capelli Sport Stadium.[16][17]

Players and staff[edit]

Current roster[edit]

as of March 24, 2015[18]

No. Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Morton, KyleKyle Morton  United States
2 Defender Lee, RaymondRaymond Lee  United States
3 Defender Felix, RyanRyan Felix  United States
4 Defender Kamdem, BradleyBradley Kamdem  France
5 Midfielder Dover, JordanJordan Dover  Canada
6 Forward François, ChristianoChristiano François  Haiti
7 Midfielder James, RyanRyan James  Canada
8 Midfielder Beresford, BrandonBrandon Beresford  Guyana
9 Midfielder Defregger, StefanStefan Defregger  United States
10 Midfielder Tergou, SofianeSofiane Tergou  France
11 Midfielder Forbes, KenardoKenardo Forbes  Jamaica
12 Forward Graf, JochenJochen Graf  United States
13 Midfielder Garzi, MikeMike Garzi  United States
15 Defender Farrell, JoeJoe Farrell  United States
17 Defender Fall, WalWal Fall  Germany
18 Forward Correia, AntonioAntonio Correia  Cape Verde
20 Defender Pratzner, ToddTodd Pratzner  United States
21 Forward Madison, DariusDarius Madison  United States
22 Forward Brown, JalenJalen Brown  United States
23 Goalkeeper Gomez, TomasTomas Gomez  United States
24 Forward Boukemia, RayaneRayane Boukemia  France
25 Defender Campbell, SergioSergio Campbell  Jamaica
29 Midfielder Edoung-Biyo, SamuelSamuel Edoung-Biyo  Cameroon
33 Goalkeeper Lynd, DanielDaniel Lynd  United States


Notable former players[edit]

Rochester Rhinos Hall of Fame[edit]

Retired numbers[edit]

Head coaches[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 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
2015 3 USL 1st, Eastern Champion 4th Round 5,599
2016 3 USL 4th, Eastern Conference Semifinals 4th Round 3,655


  1. ^ DiVeronica, Jeff (15 January 2016). "New Rhinos owners are part owners of Sacramento Kings". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  2. ^ Zeitlin, Dave (14 June 2016). "The legend of the Rochester Raging Rhinos, last underdog to win US Open Cup". MLS. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  3. ^ DiVeronica, Jeff (18 June 2014). "Rhinos upset D.C. United, advance in Open Cup". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "Raging into MLS?". 8 November 2003. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  5. ^ City Says It Will Seize PAETEC Park, Citing Default. WYSL.
  6. ^ Utica businessman buys Rhinos; 2008 season a go. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
  8. ^ "Club Listing". USSF Division-2 Pro League. 
  9. ^ "Lilley Decides not to Return". 
  10. ^ "Rhinos Name Myers Head Coach". 
  11. ^ "Rhinos, Revolution Form Partnership". Rochester Rhinos. January 28, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Ercoli Returns to Coach Rochester Rhinos". May 19, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  13. ^ DiVeronica, Jeff (January 6, 2016). "Clark out as Rhinos owner; USL takes control of team". Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. Retrieved January 9, 2016. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "New Ownership Announced for Rochester Rhinos". United Soccer League (USL). March 10, 2016. Retrieved March 10, 2016. 
  16. ^ "USL Preview | Meet the Rochester Rhinos". Ottawa Fury/SportsEngine. 15 November 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  17. ^ Ence, Jason (21 March 2016). "Eastern Conference Preview: Rochester Rhinos". Louisville Coopers. Archived from the original on 21 March 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Sources: Rhinos will name Tilley head coach
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Division-2 Schedule and Results". USSF Division-2 Pro League. 

External links[edit]