ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Leicester striker Jamie Vardy became co-owner of the Rochester Rhinos on Tuesday, buying a minority stake in the western New York team that hasn’t played a competitive match in nearly four years.
The Rhinos last played in the second-tier United Soccer League in the 2017 season, after which they went on hiatus as owners David and Wendy Dworkin sought new funding.
“The club has been through some difficult years recently, so I can’t wait to play a part in helping to turn things around,” Vardy said on his social media accounts. “It won’t be easy, but I never do anything the easy way!”
Vardy’s investment is a “huge coup” for the city and the Rhinos, the team said.
“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. “Hopefully this fantastic news will give everyone connected with the club the belief that there are good times ahead.”
The former England striker, who scored 15 goals in the Premier League this season, thanked the Dworkins and his club.
“They know,” Vardy said of his Premier League team, “and I know, that this project will not in any way distract me from my priority, which is helping Leicester to be successful for many more years to come.”
Financial terms were not announced. There also were no details provided about when they plan to field a team, but previous reports said the Rhinos hoped to compete in USL League One in 2022.
The 34-year-old Vardy led Leicester to the FA Cup title and a fifth-place finish in the Premier League.
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