MLS Next Pro team Rochester New York FC has ceased operations.
Rochester made the announcement on March 10, citing insufficient funds “coupled with other challenges resulted in no path to sustainability.”
The team had a longstanding history under its previous iteration, the Rochester Rhinos, before it took a hiatus in 2017 and returned as Rochester New York FC in 2021 under new ownership.
A new ownership group took over, including Leicester striker Jamie Vardy. At that time, Vardy expressed excitement over an opportunity to invest in American football: “I’ve been looking at opportunities in the United States for a while, but there was something about Rochester and the Rhinos that just felt right.”
Following the rebrand, the club began play in MLS Next Pro in 2022 as the only team in the third-tier league not to be affiliated with a MLS franchise.
It only lasted one year.
“While our first year was fraught with challenges, we nonetheless persevered and qualified for the playoffs,” the club said in a statement. “As we began the offseason it became apparent that to stay competitive, we would need a significantly greater investment in many aspects of the club.
“Despite increased attendance, including the addition of nearly 600 temporary seats at our last match, the unfortunate reality is the current infrastructure coupled with other challenges resulted in no path to sustainability.
“We were in advanced discussions with an ownership group to acquire a majority interest in RNYFC. However, the purchasing group decided not to proceed earlier this week as we were moving to close. This left us with no time and no choice but to decline fielding a team in 2023.”
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