ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — After over four years without outdoor professional soccer in Rochester, the Flower City will be able to cheer on Flower City Union in their home opener on Saturday afternoon.
The club plays in the NISA, a third tier league in American soccer which is also in its first season. Flower City Union will take on AC Syracuse Pulse Saturday, March 26th at 3:00. The team will play its home games at the downtown soccer stadium, the Rochester Community Sports Complex.
The club hopes to capture the enthusiasm that once made Rochester one of the best soccer cities in the country.
“We have a really cool mix of a lot of local talent plus guys coming from all over the country and they all feel like this is their home now,” said head coach Zach Agliata. “So it’s really nice to see, they’ve all pitched in doing different stuff around the community. When they come to training it’s high intensity all the time so it’s perfect.”
“As a young kid growing up watching the Rhinos back in the day, going to almost every single game, to get that chance to play professionally in my hometown is just an exciting feeling,” said Flower City Union forward and Churchville-Chili grad Lukas Fernandes. “I think all the guys, even the guys from not from the area are really excited, too. Because they’ve known about Rochester and the history. Everyone’s really excited about the opportunity.”
The team is full of young, talented players who are looking to make a name for themselves and bring the team success in its inaugural season.
“We’ve been here for six weeks now, practicing our formations, practicing the camaraderie around the team and gaining chemistry,” said forward Andre Deas Jr. “I think this is what everything we’ve been waiting for and now it’s time to put everything on the line and try and go bring Rochester back.”
“This group is full of young guys who got a little bit of a chip on their shoulder, they’ve got something to prove. So it should be fun,” said Fernandes. “Hopefully we play a fun style of soccer that the fans get to enjoy and really excited about it.”
Flower City Union is one of two professional soccer teams beginning this season, with Rochester NY FC opening its campaign on the road Friday night against St. Louis.