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Rochester New York FC soccer team to join new league in 2022

Monroe Community College President, DeAnna Burt-Nanna, announced a partnership with the Rochester NY FC that will foster a relationship between the athletes and students.

A local Rochester soccer team is joining a new league. And that team, now called Rochester New York FC, will be playing at the Brighton campus of Monroe Community College.

The local team, formerly known as the Rochester Rhinos, and now also known as Rochester NY FC , is joining a new developmental soccer league called MLS NEXT Pro.

Rochester is the league’s inaugural independent club, and will be among 21 teams to compete starting next March. The other teams will be associated with Major League soccer franchises from cities that include Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Seattle.

The local team is co-owned by David and Wendy Dworkin, and British soccer star Jamie Vardy. It was announced on Monday that when the team starts their season next year, they will be playing on the Brighton campus of MCC.

The president of that college, DeAnna Burt-Nanna, said that it’s a natural fit for MCC, where they also have soccer teams, and students who come from all over the world.

“Our partnership with Rochester New York FC also opens opportunities for MCC students and others to pursue internships and gain experience and have access to a professional sports experience,” said Burt-Nanna.

Wendy Dworkin said they are thrilled to be playing again next year and to be part of this new league.

“Our motto is 'believe impossible,' because when the Rhinos stopped playing there were a lot of people thinking this day would never come, when Rochester would have professional soccer once again. We strive to be number one, so to be the first independent club invited in this new league brings immense satisfaction,” said Dworkin.

Vardy said on Monday that he’s happy his team will be in a location where they can perform well and also be supported by the community.

“We wanted to make sure that we were in a place where we can thrive both on and off the pitch. It’s not just the players that are important, it’s everyone at the club.,” said Vardy. “We want to get the full team, club community. Everyone behind us is working hard and making sure that we can do that.”

The MLS NEXT Pro will kick off its inaugural season in March 2022, and see its season culminate in postseason action in September. The full 2022 match schedule will be announced at a later date.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.