The Rochester Rhinos, three-time USL-1 champions and U.S. Open Cup winners in 1999, became the latest team to leave the USL First Division when they
announced on Monday that they will be joining the new North American Soccer League
"We evaluated the situation very carefully and decided that the best decision for the future of
the Rhinos and soccer in Rochester was for us to join the new NASL," said Rhinos CEO Rob Clark
. "Soccer is maturing before our very eyes. We
are joining a family of team owners who are committed to investing in our league and their teams to further the development of players and support the future growth of the sport in North
America. The NASL is a new beginning for soccer in Rochester."
The addition of Rochester brings the NASL to 10 teams, including the Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks,
Crystal Palace Baltimore, Miami FC Blues, Minnesota Thunder, Montreal Impact, St. Louis United, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Vancouver Whitecaps.
Rochester's departure leaves only
Austin, Cleveland, Puerto Rico and Portland as the only holdovers from 2009 in the 2010 USL-1. New York is committed as a 2010 expansion team. Only Portland, which will be joining MLS in 2011, and
Puerto Rico have more than one year in the USL-1.
The NASL has applied for USSF Division II status and expects to start its first season as a Division II professional soccer league in