The Rochester Rhinos made an official announcement today in regards to their future: they will be the tenth member of the North American Soccer League (NASL).
Here is the official press release from www.rhinosoccer.com
(Rochester, NY)… The Rochester Rhinos today announced they have officially joined the North American Soccer League (NASL).
“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,” said Rhinos CEO Rob Clark. “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.”
The addition of Rochester brings the NASL to ten teams, including the Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, Crystal Palace Baltimore, Miami FC Blues, Minnesota Thunder, Montreal Impact, St. Louis United, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Vancouver Whitecaps.
“I’m looking forward to working with my fellow owners in the coming weeks to hire a Commissioner, create a 2010 schedule and finalize league marketing initiatives,” concluded Clark.
The NASL has applied for USSF Division II status and expects to start its first season as a Division II professional soccer league in April 2010.
Speculation is now that the Puerto Rico Islanders could be the next club to jump ship from the USL-1 to the new NASL. That would leave just two of the 11 clubs from USL-1, Austin Aztex and Cleveland City Stars, returning from this season.
The Pasion Naranja soccer blog is reporting via Twitter that there could be another club from Puerto Rico, possibly Ponce River Plate, who may attempt to join the NASL. Ponce River Plate was the regular season champion of the nine-team Puerto Rico Soccer League this year.