ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Professional soccer is back for Rochester

Officials from the Rochester New York Football Club (RNY FC), formerly known as the Rochester Rhinos, announced this year’s home game soccer schedule and information regarding season ticket presale availability.

Team owners David and Wendy Dworkin, along with English Premier League star and co-owner Jamie Vardy, announced back in December that it would be joining the MLS NEXT Pro league this year, bringing the franchise back to action after a four-year hiatus. The team announced the franchise rebrand to RNY FC in September.

“We are so pleased to bring professional soccer back to Rochester for our longtime supporters as well as new fans,” David and Wendy Dworkin said in a statement. “It is an honor for Rochester NY FC to enter MLS NEXT Pro as the league’s first independent club. This new era of action promises to showcase the amazing talent of the next generation of pro soccer players and put a national and international spotlight on Rochester. We invite the entire community to come support RNY FC and join in sharing our team motto: Believe Impossible.”

MLS NEXT Pro is described as a “new professional league for the next generation of soccer stars in North America.” RNY FC will help kick off the inaugural season on the road against St. Louis on March 25 and the first home game will be played at MCC on April 23 against New York City FC II.

Team officials say former Rochester Rhinos season ticket holders and current RNY FC newsletter subscribers will be the first to receive information on the season ticket presale process later this week. Folks interested in signing up for the newsletter can do so online.

According to a RNY FC press release, season ticket packages will include a tiered pricing plan and special benefits including concession discounts. The club has reserved 1,000 of the 1,500 seats at MCC’s John DiMarco Field for season ticket holders and more information on pricing, and individual game tickets, will be available in the coming weeks.

“Our stadium may be intimate, but we expect our fans to create an atmosphere to drive the team on the pitch and be our 12th man from the stands,” Vardy said. “We will be playing an attacking brand of football with a tempo and intensity to our play. While we respect our opponents, we want to be feared both on and off pitch. We don’t want teams to think it’s going to be easy coming to Rochester because it’s not. Finally, the long-awaited return is here, and I look forward to hearing the noise from our supporters in the stands on my TV in Leicester.”

RNY FC season ticket holders will also be eligible to purchase U.S. Open Cup home game tickets at a discounted price.

2022 RNY FC home games include (Dates are subject to change):

  • April 23 v. NYCFC II
  • April 29 v. Orlando City B
  • May 14 v. Inter Miami II
  • May 21 v. Philadelphia Union II
  • June 2 v. Toronto FC II
  • June 24 v. Columbus Crew 2 
  • July 7 v. Philadelphia Union II
  • July 23 v. FC Cincinnati 2
  • July 30 v. Chicago Fire FC II
  • August 12 v. Toronto FC II
  • August 27 v. New England Revolution II
  • September 18 v. NYCFC II

RNY FC is currently the only independent club in the new league as the following MLS affiliates will compete in MLS NEXT Pro’s 2022 season: 

  • Chicago
  • Colorado
  • Columbus
  • Cincinnati
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Kansas City
  • Miami
  • Minnesota
  • New England
  • NYCFC
  • Orlando
  • Philadelphia
  • Portland
  • Salt Lake
  • San Jose
  • Seattle
  • St. Louis
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver

According to MLS, eight additional MLS-affiliated teams will join MLS NEXT Pro in 2023, including: Atlanta United, Austin FC, Charlotte FC, D.C. United, LA Galaxy, LAFC, Nashville SC, and New York Red Bulls. In addition to Rochester NY FC, MLS NEXT Pro will introduce additional independent clubs to the league in 2023 and beyond.

Rochester NY FC co-owner Jamie Vardy, a Premier League Champion, FA Cup winner, and Golden Boot holder currently playing for the Leicester City FC, bought a minority stake in RNY FC earlier this year with plans to soon bring the club out of a four-year hiatus from play.

Vardy is teaming up with Love Productions USA on a new documentary series “Rhino Reboot,” according to Variety. The series will show Vardy’s attempt to “rebuild underdog soccer team, the Rochester Rhinos.”

“The series will offer exclusive access to the team’s management, coaching team, owners, players and staff as Vardy and his colleagues re-boot the Rhinos’ image and, hopefully, their performance as they make a bid for glory in 2022,” K.J. Yossman wrote for Variety.

Love Productions USA has sports storytelling experience, as the team behind the Netflix original Last Chance U, among other notable shows.