Historic Rochester NY FC Join UPSL 

January 5th, 2023

The United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) is proud to announce that Rochester New York FC has joined the league. Based in Rochester, New York, the professional team is one of the oldest pro soccer clubs in the US and will now have a U23 team take part in the UPSL’s Western New York – Premier Division. 

Rochester NY FC, formerly known as the Rochester Rhinos, are the only non-MLS team to have won the US Open Cup since the competition’s inception. After spending most of their history competing in the USL, the team currently competes in MLS NEXT Pro and are famously co-owned by former England International and Premier League champion Jamie Vardy.  

In August of 2020, Rhinos Ownership entered a strategic partnership with Empire United SA, western New York’s most successful youth soccer club. Starting this past fall, Empire United rebranded to RNY FC – Youth, further aligning themselves as the youth partner and academy for Rochester NY FC. Rochester’s MLS Next Academy Director Rory Charcholla explained the role the UPSL plays in the club’s pro development plan. 

“Joining the UPSL is an exciting step forward for Rochester NY FC,” explains MLS Next Academy Director Rory Charcholla. “Our addition to the league completes our player pathway from our MLS Next Boys Academy teams all the way up to our first team in MLS NEXT Pro.” 

“As a development club, joining the largest pro-development league in the country was a natural next step for us. Joining the UPSL provides an exciting new platform for our already established U23 program. Equally, the UPSL will also offer opportunities to challenge our top prospects in the U17 and U19 Academy teams. 

UPSL Commissioner Yan Skwara said “We are excited to welcome Rochester NY FC to the UPSL. This is a historic club with a lot history, and we are happy to welcome them to the league.  Rochester NY FC are putting together an extraordinary academy program and are joining a very competitive, ever-growing Western New York conference. We look forward to seeing what they can do in the UPSL and helping them achieve their goal of developing top talent for the professional game.” 

Rochester NY FC was founded in 1996 as the Rochester Rhinos, and in 1999 became the first club to win the US Open Cup after defeating the Colorado Rapids in the Finals. Rochester was also crowned USL Championship winners in 2015 and also finished that year as regular season champions. The club has a history of developing talent for MLS and now have their sights set on creating a nationally-recognized academy in the Rochester-area. Rochester NY FC will make their UPSL regular season debut this Spring, being run by the RNY FC – Youth Academy.

About United Premier Soccer League  

The UPSL was formed in 2011 and occupies the unofficial fourth tier of US Soccer. Across its Premier, Division 1 and Womens leagues there are more than 400 teams competing nationwide. The UPSL is now the largest Pro Development League in North America and is a National Affiliate member of the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF). Each UPSL team is individually owned and operated. UPSL teams are eligible to participate in the U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Rounds through the league’s affiliation with USSF. 

More information about UPSL can be found at www.upsl.com or by following the league on Facebook (facebook.com/upslsoccer), Instagram (@upslsoccer) and Twitter (@upslsoccer). 

Contact UPSL: [email protected] / Media: [email protected]