After a successful season in the MLS Next Pro, Rochester NY Football Club is ending its operations, as reported by MLS Territory reporter Gustavo Lopes and soon after officially confirmed by MLS and the Club. Linked to big names like English star Jamie Vardy, one of the most traditional clubs in the United States may never play a game again in its history. See below an entire time frame of the events behind the scenes at the RNYFC that led the club to make this tragic decision today.


DECEMBER 6TH, 2021 – Vardy becomes co-owner of Rochester, NY FC

Jamie Vardy is announced as one of the owners of the new Rochester NY FC and that the club would participate in the inaugural season of MLS NEXT PRO, a developmental league created by Major League Soccer. Made up mostly of secondary clubs from MLS franchises, the “Rhinos” would be the first and only independent team to participate in the tournament. Along with the player, businessman David Dworkin was the team’s majority owner and was in charge of the franchise’s actions during the year.

MARCH 25TH, 2022 – RNYFC takes the field for the first time

The franchise took the field for the first time against fellow debutant St Louis City in March 2022, and this was the first MLS Next Pro game. The result was a 2-0 to St. Louis.

JUNE-SEPTEMBER 2022 – Jamie Vardy leaves the club

Multiple sources told reporter Gustavo Lopes that Jamie Vardy cut his relationship with the “Rhinos” in mid-2022. Despite the end of the relationship without an apparent reason, the club never disclosed the end of the partnership to the team’s fans, who still questioned Vardy’s disappearance from the team’s social networks.

Many club employees still question whether Vardy was, at some point, really the owner of some minor part of the team or if it was just a marketing action to publicize the team in the region and in the country. Former players stated that Vardy was never seen in the team’s facilities and that they knew that he had no connection with the franchise. One player in particular, when asked about the situation, said that Jamie was “never part” of the RNYFC.

Despite everything, the report could not discover why the minority owner’s “departure” and why the club did not officially disclose it to its fans and Season Ticket Holders. The club also did not respond to any comments made by Lopes.

SEPTEMBER 18TH, 2022 – Playoff Bound

Led by Brazilian midfielder Pedro Dolabella, the team secured a place in the Playoffs in its first year of existence. In the last round, the team beat NYCFC II by 5 to 3 on penalties and got the 4th Seed in the Conference.

In the knockout stage, the team was eliminated by Columbus Crew II by 4-1 at Crew Stadium, which would later become champions by beating St. Louis City in the final.

The game against Columbus Crew II would be the last official match in the franchise’s history, founded in 1996.

DECEMBER 2022 – The beginning of the end

At the beginning of December, without investors and with a financial situation that did not appear to be one of the best, the Dworkins (team owners) decided that the only option for the continuity of the team would be with the arrival of investors. Once again, none of this was made public.

The club released most of its players and staff during this period and began looking to the investor market for a solution.

However, almost as the lights went out and the door closed, the Dworkin family negotiated with an Italian investor interested in buying the team, thus starting a long period of talks.

FEBRUARY 22ND, 2023 – The Rochester case is made public

Without any activity on their social networks since January 3, many fans began to raise suspicions about what was happening behind the scenes at the club. However, on February 22nd, Lopes reported for the first time information about what was happening inside the franchise’s halls in Rochester, New York.

At this point, the Dworkins had advanced considerably in negotiations for the sale of the club, which brought great optimism to the remaining staff within the organization.

The club began planning for the 2023 season in time to play in the opening round of the 2023 U.S. Open Cup, which will be played from April 4-6.

As Gustavo mentioned, Sporting Director Lee Tucker was in talks with a Head Coach who was expected to be announced soon.

FEBRUARY 27 – Agreement with new investor

Sources told Gustavo Lopes that an agreement between the Dworkins and the new investor had been reached on February 27th and that the parties were running out of time to finalize the deal.

At this point, rumors from the city of Rochester said that the new investor intended to move the team from Rochester to Brooklyn, but this was nothing more than rumors.

MARCH 10TH, 2023 – The End

On March 10th, Gustavo published that the agreement between the two parties had “fallen through” and that the Dworkins had decided to close down the club’s operations permanently.

Soon after, MLS Next Pro and the club, via their social networks, released an official note confirming the club’s shutdown and the end of its operations.

Still, according to Gustavo, the club did not respond to any attempts to comment on this issue.


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