Jamie Vardy’s Rochester New York FC handed place in inaugural MLS Next Pro

Jamie Vardy will begin life as a club owner next year when Rochester NY compete in a new feeder league for Major League Soccer, the US’s premier football competition.

The Leicester forward took a minority stake in Rochester NY FC earlier this year and it was revealed on Monday that they would compete in the inaugural MLS Next Pro, which aims to develop players to compete at the top level in future.

Of the 21 teams in the league, 20 will have direct links to MLS club, with Vardy’s Rochester the only independent one.


Leicester forward Jamie Vardy will be keeping an eye on results across the Atlantic next season

The Leicester forward took a minority stake in Rochester New York FC earlier this year 


‘We look forward to showcasing Rochester as a premier professional club and are excited to kick off that process by helping to launch the inaugural season of MLS NEXT Pro in 2022,’ said Vardy.

‘Joining this league, full of opportunity for communities, fans, players and staff – on the pitch and off – is a tremendous point of pride for our club.’

Vardy has followed David Beckham into US club ownership with this move, though he will continue to play for Leicester, where he has a contract until the end of next season. Vardy turns 35 next month but shows no signs of slowing down, and is the Foxes’ top scorer this season with nine goals.

Rochester Rhinos were a US team founded in 1996 but have not competed since 2017

Current owner David and Wendy Dworkin are also part-owners of NBA franchise Sacramento Kings. Though the exact sum invested by Vardy is unclear, it is described as a ‘meaningful share’. 

The new club is a rebranded version of Rochester Rhinos, who had not competed since 2017 due to lack of funding,

When the move was announced last June, Vardy said: ‘I can’t thank Leicester enough for allowing me to do this. They know, and I know, that it will not in any way distract me from my priority, which is helping Leicester to be successful, and scoring goals in the Premier League for many more years to come.’