The Rochester Rhinos made it official today, ending speculation that they’ll leave the United Soccer Leagues (USL) for a new league with an old name. Owner Rob Clark announced that the team will join the North American Soccer League, a circuit formed over the past several months with a couple of former USL owners leading the way after saying they didn’t like the way the USL has been run for years. More on this developing story … along with my take on why this is the wrong decision RIGHT NOW (the NASL does not even have the approval to BE a league by the United States Soccer Federation). Key words, folks: RIGHT NOW.
The Rhinos have played in the USL, formerly called the A-League, since their 1996 inception. Here’s the quote from Clark on this. I have calls out to new Rhinos general manager Pat Ercoli and coach, Bob Lilley:=
“We evaluated the situation very carefully and decided that the best decision for the future of the Rhinos and soccer in Rochester was for us to join the new NASL,” Clark was quoted as saying in a statement released by the club. “Soccer is maturing before our very eyes. We are joining a family of team owners who are committed to investing in our league and their teams to further the development of players and support the future growth of the sport in North America. The NASL is a new beginning for soccer in Rochester.”
Here’s your 10-team NASL for 2010* (if the league gets approved): Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, Crystal Palace Baltimore, Miami FC Blues, Minnesota Thunder, Montreal Impact, RHINOS. St. Louis United, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Vancouver Whitecaps.