ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Professional outdoor soccer is coming back to Rochester.
Rochester Pro Soccer Club LLC. has applied to join the National Independent Soccer Association with the hopes of beginning play in the spring of 2022.
“It’s an opportunity for us to fill a void that’s currently here in the market that’s been absent pretty much since 2017 as it relates to outdoor professional soccer,” said Mark Washo, the Managing Director and Chief Commerical Officer. “We just want to reinvigorate and reignite the soccer community in a similar capacity to what’s going on across America right now at all tiers and all divisions of professional soccer throughout the U.S.”
The NISA was founded in 2017. Rochester will be the league’s fourth new club in the last six months.
The club will be partnered with St. John Fisher’s Sport Management Department to provide opportunities for their students to gain hands-on experience working with the club.
“We’re always looking for opportunities for students to gain different experiences across sports and across positions in the sports industry whether if they’re interested in sales, marketing, social media, or operations,” said Todd Harrison, Associate Professor and Chair of the Sports Management Department. “We’re always seeking out opportunities for students to develop themselves and their network in addition to their skill set.”
“From a staffing and resources perspective, that’s a resource we had not had access to in the past and that is an element that’s extremely exciting,” said Washo.
Washo was the Chief Business Officer of the Rochester Rhinos from 2016 to 2017 and says that he felt momentum building in the community which they are hoping to recapture.
“There was a big lift from 2016 to 2017,” said Washo. “We saw younger soccer fans coming out, millennials coming out more, Rochester young professionals attending more games… we were very friendly to youth soccer and high school soccer. We had all that momentum going and things just didn’t manifest.”
“The initial reaction to our approach has been very positive and we’re getting a lot of great support, proactively from the community just stepping out and the soccer community and the business community,” added Washo. “We feel our approach is going to be refreshing and exciting. It’s really about what can we give back first and hopefully it gets reciprocated as we do things in the right way.”
The club is trying to become a fresh entity in the community that can lift up youth, high school, and other organizations trying to promote soccer in the city.
“The goal here is to create a mechanism, a club that is so receptive and engaged in the community and is responsive to the things that the people want,” said Harrison. “Just to be a club that is deserving of the fans; past, present, future of Rochester soccer.”
To learn more about the club, you can visit their website or their social media pages.