By Michael Lewis
The Rochester Rhinos announced Monday that they will hold a press conference to about “the future of professional soccer in Rochester” Wednesday afternoon.
The conference will be held in the Rhinos locker room at Capelli Sport Stadium in Rochester, N.Y. at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Rhinos owners David and Wendy Dworkin Chief Soccer Officer Pat Ercoli, Chief Business Officer Mark Washo and community and business leaders are scheduled to attend the session.
There has been much speculation concerning the future of the United Soccer League team, including the possibility of the team either moving to another city or being sold.
However, the fact that community and business leaders are set to attend the press conference probably would mean that the team intends to remain in Rochester.
There were other clues the team may be back. The weekly Monday radio show in Rochester , “Soccer is a kick in the grass,” ran an advertisement about Rhinos season tickets for the 2018 season, though that ad had been booked before to the Rhinos’ Wednesday press conference was announced.
Though the team has never missed out on the playoffs only once (2013), the Rhinos have been plagued by plunging attendance in recent years at Capelli.
The Rhinos have been one of the most successful Division Two teams since their inception as the Raging Rhinos in the A-League in 1996.
They won 3 A-League championships (1998, 2000 and 2001), the USL regular-season and USL Cup titles (2015). Rochester also is the last non-Major League Soccer team to secure the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup crown, winning in 1999.
Another pro soccer team leaving Rochester would be devastating for area soccer fans. The Western New York Flash, which was based in Buffalo, but played its games at Capelli, moved to Cary, N.C. for the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League season after winning the 2016 league championship.