Empire United Soccer Academy

Empire United and Rochester Rhinos Announce Strategic Alliance

Empire United and Rochester Rhinos Announce Strategic Alliance

Rochester, New York (August 26th, 2020) - The Rochester Rhinos and Empire United Soccer Academy are announcing a strategic alliance that will see the two organizations work in tandem for the betterment of soccer in the greater Upstate New York area.


“In preparation for the return of the professional team, we felt it was important to improve our operations on the technical side. We are building on a foundation of success by improving our potential player pool and skilled coaching resources with a focus on local talent”, Rhinos President Pat Ercoli said. “Our strategic alliance is a natural one as Empire is one of 94 clubs to be recognized nationally as a member of the MLS Academy, and the Rhinos will fit perfectly at the top of their player development pyramid.”


The strategic alliance will provide a path from Empire United’s Major League Soccer Elite Youth Development Platform to the Rhinos USL First Team beginning in 2022, allowing for a natural progression in the development of local soccer players.


Empire United is thrilled to have this opportunity to partner with the Rhinos, and to work together to build a strong foundation of support within the Rochester and Upstate New York soccer communities.  From the beginning of our discussions, it was clear that we shared the same forward-thinking mindset, with the goal of providing the best opportunities, pathways, and experiences for all involved in the youth soccer space.  In creating this strategic alliance, we are confident in our shared vision and that we can achieve our goals, while fostering an environment of excellence, inclusion, and equity not seen before in our local youth soccer market”, said Jeff Oliver, Empire United Director of Coaching.


Empire United Soccer Academy was established in 1966 and is one of 94 founding member clubs in the inaugural MLS Elite Youth Platform. Empire United has produced eight full time professional players and has placed 19 youth players into MLS Youth Academies since 2016. Six of their players have been selected to United States Youth National Teams while over 50 players have made appearances at the US Soccer Youth National Team Training Centers. Collegiately, over 70% of Academy alumni go on to play in Division I programs. Empire United Soccer Academy has placed over 1,000 boys and girls into Collegiate programs over the past 22 years.


In addition to working in cooperation on professional player development, Empire United Soccer Academy will eventually be hosting the Rhinos First Team at their state of the art John Street facility in Henrietta, New York. The facility includes:

  • A 120-yard x 75-yard lighted turf field
  • An indoor field house including a 100-yard by 50-yard indoor field
  • A strength and conditioning facility
  • Locker rooms with showers
  • Team meeting facilities

For more information on Empire United Soccer Academy, please contact Director of Coaching Jeff Oliver at joliver@empireunited.soccer.


For more information on the Rochester Rhinos please contact President Pat Ercoli at percoli@rhinossoccer.com.