The Rochester Rhinos, once the dominant team of the U.S. Division 2 landscape on and off the field, will return in 2020 after sitting out of the 2018 USL season.
But they will play in USL
Division III, which is slated to begin in 2019, and at a new facility after 11 years at Capelli Sport Stadium.
"After careful consideration and discussions with a number of our stadium
partners and the United Soccer League, and after assessing the totality of our last three years as a tenant of the City of Rochester, we have determined that it is time for the Rochester Rhinos to
move on from this venue," said Rhinos co-owners David
and Wendy Dworkin
in a statement.
They added that they had preliminarily identified several possible sites for a new
multi-purpose stadium within Monroe County.
The decision to take a one-year hiatus came after the Rhinos failed to raise the support they said they needed from the community -- $1.3
million from season-ticket and sponsorship sales -- by the end of November 2017.
In 2017, the Rhinos averaged just 2,031 fans a game, the second lowest, above only Charlotte, among the
USL's independent teams. Before 2016, the Rhinos never averaged under 5,000 fans a game in their 20 seasons.
They averaged a season-high of 11,628 in 1999 when they played in the USL
A-League and won the Open Cup. They moved into their new soccer stadium in 2006.
Capelli Sport Stadium hosted several USL regular-season contests involving Toronto FC in 2018.