The Rochester Rhinos are no more.
The team announced Wednesday it will be called Rochester New York FC.
“The legacy and spirit of the Rochester Rhinos is ingrained in us and it will stay this way forever,” the team said on Twitter. “However, after a break from the game and a fresh start with our new co-owner, we have the opportunity to re-launch and reposition ourselves as a global brand in football #RNYFC
The Rhinos, the last non-MLS team to win the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (1999), has been dormant since 2017.
The rebrand comes with guidance from the team’s new co-owner, professional European soccer star Jamie Vardy.
Vardy, an English Premier League champion, FA Cup winner and Golden Boot holder who plays for the Leicester City FC, bought a minority stake in RNY FC earlier this year with plans to soon bring the club out of a four-year hiatus from play.
“I’ve been written off so many times in my career, nearly as many times as the Rochester Rhinos!” Vardy said in a press release. “The rebrand and slogan ‘Believe Impossible’ is what we are all about. We believe we can win trophies again and prove people wrong. This is what inspires me on and off the pitch. When we get knockbacks, we come back stronger. We will never forget the legacy of the Rhinos and the great things the team did, but now it’s time to build on that and look forward as Rochester New York FC.”
Added co-owner David Dworkin: “We needed to evolve and become a modern-day football club with global appeal. With Jamie coming on board as a co-owner, now is the best time to do that. The Rhinos will always be part of our DNA and we will always celebrate the club’s successes. This is a new beginning and a journey that we are excited to embark upon.”
Team officials say the RNY FC rebrand and slogan “Believe Impossible” recognizes the legacy and spirit of the Rochester Rhinos, including the club’s Open Cup championship, while looking forward to an exciting new era of professional soccer in Rochester. The four-year break and Vardy’s involvement now give RNY FC an opportunity to raise its game and position itself as a modern and stylish global brand in soccer.
“The visual identity of RNY FC is centered around a new club crest, taking inspiration from the High Falls waterfall in the heart of Rochester,” the press release said. “The High Falls area was the site of Rochester’s early industrial development, where industry was powered by the flowing water of the Genesee River. The new crest pays homage to the power that continues to flow through the city. Green is the primary brand color as it has been a constant throughout the club’s history. It is now updated with an energetic, modern hue complemented by grey, applied in a way unique in the soccer world.”