FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution (Major League Soccer) and the Rochester Rhinos (USL PRO) have entered into a partnership that makes the Rhinos the official USL PRO affiliate of the Revolution. The teams’ agreement is part of the landmark announcement made by MLS and USL PRO last week to help further the development of professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada.
The agreement calls for the Revolution to loan a minimum of four players to the Rhinos for the season. While the Revs players will remain with New England for the entirety of the Revs’ preseason training, members of the Rochester coaching staff will travel to Tucson and meet the Revs for the next stage of the team’s training camp to observe players and collaborate with the Revolution coaches. The Revs players loaned to Rochester will be announced closer to the start of the season once that determination has been made.
“We are pleased to formalize what we believe will be a beneficial partnership for both the Revolution and Rochester,” Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said. “This affiliate agreement will allow a number of our players to gain increased and meaningful playing time in the Rhino’s USL PRO schedule while we can monitor their development in conjunction with Rochester’s staff.
“We believe forming an affiliation with Rochester gives us the ability to get our players more competitive games on a regular basis. This option allows those players who would normally see most of their action in the Reserve League to get more consistent playing time, which we believe will benefit our first team in the long run,” Burns said.
“We’re pleased to be entering this groundbreaking affiliation with the New England Revolution,” Rochester Rhinos President and Chief Operating Officer Pat Ercoli said. “The partnership announced last week secured the USL’s position directly underneath Major League Soccer, and our affiliation with New England will allow us to maximize this relationship. This partnership allows us to put the best possible product on the field this season.
“We are returning our nucleus from last season and adding a minimum of four MLS players to the group. On the soccer side this also allows us to continue our focus on player development and builds a pipeline for our professional players to Major League Soccer,” Ercoli continued.
Per an announcement made on Jan. 23 by the two leagues, MLS teams now have the opportunity to formally partner with USL PRO clubs to further player development. As the Revolution’s official affiliate, Rochester will retain a minimum of four Revolution players for development for the entire USL PRO regular season. Those players would then get regular playing time, and have the opportunity to be called back up by the Revs if needed.
MLS sides without formal USL PRO affiliates will send their Reserve teams to participate in interleague competition with USL PRO squads. Matches between these MLS Reserve teams and USL PRO sides will count in both the official USL PRO and MLS Reserve League standings. The partnership between the two leagues aims to strengthen competition and establish a solid foundation for future collaboration, with the goal of enhancing the development of professional soccer players in North America.
About Rochester Rhinos:
The Rochester Rhinos were founded in 1996 and currently play in the USL Pro Division, the top tier of the United Soccer Leagues. All home matches are played Western New York’s Premier Outdoor Sports Facility, Sahlen’s Stadium, located in downtown Rochester. The Rhinos won the 1999 US Open Cup and three A-League Championships (1998, 2000 & 2001).