Aquinas Institute was the Lancers’ home venue in 2017. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
The Rochester Lancers are planning to ahead back to Aquinas Institute for 2019.
With Rochester Rhinos owners Wendy and David Dworkin deciding to pull out of operating Marina Auto Stadium by the end of this year, Lancers owner Soccer Sam Fantauzzo said he was not interested in running the 12-year facility.
The Lancers and Lady Lancers played their inaugural seasons in the National Premier Soccer League and United Women’s Soccer in 2017 at Aquinas before moving to the downtown venue to help out the Dworkins.
“Somebody asked me today about playing at the stadium,” Fantauzzo said Wednesday night. “I don’t think the city is going to give us any different deal than the Rhinos. And I have no desire to pay $600,000 a year to play at that facility.”
The Rhinos, who will drop down from the United Soccer League to USL D-III for the 2020 season, paid $600,000 to operatue Marina Auto Stadium. The owners are looking for another place to call home.
“So, we’re going to back to Aquinas,” Fantauzzo said, adding that he had already spoken to the high school’s officials about returning.
The Lancers will offer to invest in some stadium improvements at the stadium, which was named the Charles A. Schiano Field by Fantauzzo after one of the principal owners of the original Lancers last year.
The only drawback at Aquinas has been the Lancers can’t sell alcohol.
“But we didn’t really sell that much beer and wine at the Rhinos’ stadium, so I don’t think its a deal breaker anymore,” Fantauzzo said. “Before I thought it might.”
In fact, Fantauzzo liked the idea of an intimate stadium rather than one that had a capacity of nearly 14,000.
“If we’re going to draw a 1,000 people no matter where we play, we’d honestly rather play at a smaller venue,” he said. “It’s more intimate. Working with the Rhinos was fantastic, but it’s tough to play in a building with only a 1,000 people there.”