USL: Rochester Rhinos set for new ownership, pending city council approval of stadium lease

Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester, New York

The Rochester Rhinos' ownership situation seems to be headed for a promising resolution.

The United Soccer League announced on Friday that local residents David and Wendy Dworkin are in the process of purchasing the defending 2015 USL champions, less than two weeks after the league terminated the Adirondack Sports Club’s ownership of the Rhinos for failing to meet USL standards.

The Dworkins are minority owners in the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and the principal owners of Rochester-based property development, management and brokerage company LLD Enterprises. On Friday the city of Rochester announced a 10-year lease with the couple to operate Sahlen's Stadium, the soccer-specific venue that is home to the Rhinos and the Western New York Flash women's professional team, pending a vote of approval by the city council on Tuesday.

“It is my great pleasure to announce that the Rochester Rhinos will remain in Rochester,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “This partnership among the City, the Dworkins and the USL will bring necessary upgrades to the stadium, including needed new turf, it will result in more dynamic operation of this important community facility and ultimately it will result in jobs for our residents.”

The Rhinos, who were the USL affiliate of the New England Revolution last year, defeated LA Galaxy II 2-1 in extra time in a USL championship game on their home turf in October after finishing with the league's best record in the regular season, their 20th year of existence. The 2016 USL campaign kicks off this spring. 

Long known as one of US soccer's top lower-division markets, Rochester previously won the old A-League three times and are also the only non-MLS team in the MLS era to win the US Open Cup.

“We are excited to keep the Rhinos in Rochester,” David Dworkin told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. “This team has had great success and we plan on continuing that tradition going into the future. Our goal is to keep the Rhinos relevant and to contend for the playoffs year after year. I am committed to making this one of the premier outdoor entertainment venues in western New York and improving the fan experience at Sahlen’s Stadium.”