Jamie Vardy now co-owns American soccer club Rochester Rhinos

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Jamie Vardy now co-owns American soccer club Rochester Rhinos
Photo: @RochesterRhinos

Leicester City star Jamie Vardy has joined the ownership group of the Rochester Rhinos, a New York-based club hoping to earn their place in Major League Soccer.

The Rhinos have been inactive since 2017 after establishing themselves as a fixture in the United Soccer League - now the USL Championship.

They were attracting crowds of around 10,000 in the late 1990s but attendances dropped to as low as 2,000 by their last full season in 2017.

The pinnacle of the club's history came in 1999 when they became the first only non-MLS team to win the US Open Cup, beating four MLS teams along the way.

However, the club have been on a four-year hiatus due to financial issues and are looking to relaunch in 2022 with Vardy's help.

Speaking to The Athletic, the 34-year-old striker said:

It's really exciting. It's going to be a lot different to what I've been used to for the last 10 years. But I'm looking forward to getting stuck into it.

I think it kind of resonates with me because of what they've achieved in the past - the only lower-league club to win the US Open Cup, the only team to have ever done it who's outside MLS.

It's all about bringing that back and trying to replicate it - but we also want to bring it back even better than it was before.

Vardy will work alongside owners David and Wendy Dworkin, who bought the franchise in 2016.

And the pair - who also part-own the NBA's Sacramento Kings - are delighted to have the former England striker on board.

This is a huge coup for Rochester and the Rhinos. Jamie is known throughout the soccer world and we are delighted that he has chosen to join us as a co-owner.

Hopefully, this fantastic news, will give everyone connected with the club the belief that there are good times ahead.

Meanwhile, the Rhinos will appoint Vardy's ex-V9 academy project leader Lee Tucker as sporting director and are seeking candidates for the head coach role.

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