ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Rhinos announced Tuesday Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy bought a small stake in the club.
The 34-year-old Premier League Player of the Season earned the title in 2015-2016, has made 308 appearances for LCFC, and scored 87 PL goals. He also played on the English national team from 2015-2018, adding seven goals through his tenure.
Vardy has long been interested in owning a small soccer club in North America. His agent contacted Rhinos owners Wendy and David Dworkin a couple years ago. The partnership grew despite all contact being limited to Zooms across the Atlantic.
I think in some ways as much as I would have liked to been in the same room as Jamie, I think having to do this distant has given us the time to focus and really go through things,” David Dworkin said.
“Through it all, we managed to muddle through and create a great friendship with mutual respect,” Wendy Dworkin added.
Vardy isn’t just hoping to drop some money and forget about his new team. He wants to be an instrumental part of re-igniting the Rhinos.
“From the conversations we’ve all had I’ve been very involved up to now. I’m not anyone who would shy away from that so I think how we get on it will be exactly the same. It was always where I actually wanted to go and wanting to bring the good times back and making it a success again.”
The Rhinos have been on a four-year hiatus, and expect to return to play in 2022, with hopes Vardy can help revive the soccer scene in Rochester.
Vardy is ready for the challenge.
It was always what I wanted to do, help bring the good times back and have success again,” he said. “That’s what we really want, people who need that second chance. We just want to make sure they got that hungriness to be playing together, but if we can get a full team of guys like that from Rochester and North Western New York, it’ll be brilliant.”
Rochester Rhinos owners David and Wendy Dworkin released a statement on the Rhinos’ Facebook page, saying:
“This is a huge coup for Rochester and the Rhinos, Jamie Vardy is known throughout the soccer world because of his success and his inspirational story, and we are delighted that he has chosen to join us as a co-owner.
“We have never wavered in our commitment to bringing professional soccer back to Rochester. Hopefully this fantastic news, which we’ve been desperate to tell people about for so long, will give everyone connected with the club the belief that there are good times ahead.”
This is a developing story, check back with News 8 for updates.