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Gateway to MLS? Players who land in USL Pro aiming to climb the ladder

Rochester Rhinos

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Rochester Rhinos

Recently signed Rochester Rhinos midfielder Mike Reidy has not started his professional career quite the way he planned.

Yes, he was selected in the 2013 Supplemental Draft by Sporting Kansas City. But that was about the extent of his MLS experience, as Peter Vermes informed the speedy winger that he wouldn’t be in the team’s plans for the upcoming season and encouraged him as best he could. So barely a month after having his name called, Reidy had a choice to make: Focus on ventures outside of soccer or make plans to continue his career.

He decided upon both.

WATCH: Reidy's college highlights

 

A standout college career with Colgate University in upstate New York gave the Rochester native the opportunity to pursue his pro career, and the fact that his hometown club came calling after Sporting passed meant he could continue toward his degree. It’s a “best of both worlds” arrangement – except, perhaps, for the hours, which can be exhausting.

“It’s not an ideal situation obviously, but finishing up school is extremely important to me,” Reidy told MLSsoccer.com. “[Head coach Jesse Myers] works with me on it and I consider myself extremely lucky.”

Reidy spends four days a week at Colgate finishing a political science degree before he hops in the car for several hours to spend Friday through Sunday training and playing with the Rhinos. When at school his life is class, food and five hour sessions of study per day in the library. In between all that, he trains with the Colgate team or hits the gym to stay in shape so as not to jeopardize his newly inked deal.

While the deal may be new, however, Reidy’s ties to the Rhinos go way back. He was exposed to professional soccer early and often, and found himself on the roster of the Rochester Junior Rhinos, the youth affiliate for the storied pro team.

It was there that Reidy’s love for the game solidified, and his ambition to play grew beyond simple enjoyment.

But what of his previous MLS ambitions? The deal between the Rochester Rhinos of USL Pro and New England Revolution illustrates the path to the top tier.

“It’s definitely a gateway,” Reidy said. “It’s definitely a good idea this USL-MLS deal they’ve got going on between the four teams. It’s not just for them to send us players, it opens up a gateway for them to call us up for training.”

The Rhinos open their season on April 13 at expansion side VSI Tampa Bay.

Week 1 Result:

LA Blues 2, Phoenix FC 0