FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution (Major League Soccer) and the Rochester Rhinos (USL PRO) have renewed their partnership that makes the Rhinos the official USL PRO affiliate of the Revolution.
This is the second year of the teams’ affiliation and is one of the founding partnerships of the MLS and USL PRO relationship that launched in 2013 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. Rochester head coach Bob Lilley joined the Revolution in Bradenton, Fla., for a part of its 12-day 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 believe our partnership with the Rhinos was mutually-beneficial in 2013 and we’re looking forward to the continued relationship in 2014,” Revolution general manager Michael Burns said. “Having the ability to get players consistent and meaningful playing time is important to their development, and we saw the benefits of it last year with a few of our players when we needed to recall them for first-team games.”
“We are happy to be back working with the New England Revolution this season.” Rochester Rhinos President and Chief Operating Officer Pat Ercoli said. “USL PRO's affiliation with Major League Soccer has raised the profile of our league and level of play on the field. Our partnership with New England puts our franchise on par with the best minor league organizations in Rochester. We are looking forward to another great year working with the Revs.”
Per an announcement made on Jan. 23, 2013 by the two leagues, MLS teams can partner with, or form their own, 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.
In 2014, 11 MLS teams will be involved with USL PRO teams, either through affiliation or by having their own team in the league. In 2013, four MLS teams had USL PRO affiliates: New England, D.C., Philadelphia and Kansas City. MLS teams without representation in USL PRO will compete in the MLS Reserve League in 2014.
The 2014 Rochester Rhinos schedule can be found here: http://www.rhinossoccer.com/schedule/