Updated: June 15, 2021 05:41 PM
Created: June 15, 2021 09:44 AM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Rochester Rhinos have a new co-owner, and he's quite the soccer star himself.
The team Tuesday announced English Premier League striker Jamie Vardy has taken a minority stake in the club, which hasn't seen game action in four years.
Vardy currently plays for Leicester City, of the EPL, and was a part of the team that shocked soccer by winning the league title in the 2015-2016 season.
I’m really excited to say that I have become a co-owner of the @rochesterrhinos today.— Jamie Vardy (@vardy7) June 15, 2021
The club has been through some difficult years recently, so I can’t wait to play a part in helping to turn things around. It won’t be easy, but I never do anything the easy way! pic.twitter.com/j8C6ooOvAu
“This is a huge coup for Rochester, & the Rhinos. Jamie is known throughout the soccer world and we are delighted that he has chosen to join us as a co-owner," the team said in a Tweet. " Hopefully this fantastic news will give everyone connected with the club the belief that there are good times ahead.”
The @LCFC striker has bought a minority stake & is excited by the prospect of being part of a journey that puts the Rhinos and Rochester back on the map after a four- year hiatus. pic.twitter.com/HGamypkm1L— Rochester Rhinos (@RochesterRhinos) June 15, 2021
Vardy also tweeted the news, saying in part "The club has been through some difficult years recently, so I can’t wait to play a part in helping to turn things around. It won’t be easy, but I never do anything the easy way!"
At this point Vardy, says that he has no intention of playing for the team, this is an investment and an opportunity for him to get into ownership.
Vardy has succeeded on some of soccer's biggest stages. He's won multiple championships for Leicester City and scored more than 100 premier league goals.
Vardy said that he's focused on building the Rhinos back into a successful soccer team, and added that the weather in Rochester played a big part in choosing to become a part-owner of the Rhinos.
"To be honest, we did look at level one and it was on the coast and sunny all year round, I said from day one, 'That's not for me,' I don't really want the sun constantly," Vardy said. "I like that Rochester has the seasons, spring, summer and autumn, especially the snow, nothing can beat the snow, especially when you're out there with your family and your kids, it's really good for them as well."
The Rhinos plan to begin playing in 2022.
"It's the ability to take the Rhinos brand, not only outside of Rochester, but throughout North America and really the world," Co-owner Wendy Dworkin said. "And the commercial opportunities that our little town can be exposed to having a relationship with Jamie [Vardy] just makes the world a much smaller place for us."
In 2020, the Rhinos announced a partnership with the Empire United Soccer Academy to train at Empire's facility in Henrietta. The complex has a lighted turf field, indoor field house, gym, and team meeting facilities. Th team is planning to play its first season there before looking for a permanent home in Monroe County.
The team moved out of their stadium in Rochester back in 2018, breaking its partnership with the city. The team hasn't played since.
Watch the introductory press conference below:
Copyright 2021 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company