Leicester forward Jamie Vardy has bought a minority stake in New York State team Rochester Rhinos.
The Rhinos, who are the only non-MLS club to win the US Open Cup, haven’t had a competitive squad for more than four years, but Vardy hopes to get them back to football by 2022.
Vardy, who retired from international football in 2018, has made it clear he has no plans to hang up his boots for good even though he has become a part-owner of a club.
“I’m really happy to say that I became part owner of @rochesterrhinos today,” the 33-year-old wrote on Twitter. “The club have been through some rough years recently so I can’t wait to play a role in helping change things. It won’t be easy, but I never do anything the easy way!
“I would like to thank everyone who helped me get there, but a very special thank you to my new co-owners, David and Wendy Dworkin.
“I also can’t thank @LCFC enough for allowing me to do this, they know, and I know, that this project will in no way distract me from my priority, which has helped Leicester to be successful for many years at come in. Let’s do this #Rochester.
Rochester belongs to the Dworkin family, which also owns the Sacramento Kings of the NBA.
It is understood that they have been in negotiations with Vardy for over two years and were impressed with his founding of the V9 academy, which gave a second chance to players deemed not good enough for professional football.
Rochester hopes to build on this philosophy and has signed a business deal with the highly respected Empire United Soccer Academy, where they will work in tandem with Rhinos to pave the way for the first team for elite local players.
“It’s a huge blow for Rochester and the Rhinos,” said David Dworkin.
“Jamie Vardy is known throughout the football world for his success and inspiring story, and we are delighted that he has chosen to join us as a co-owner.
“Besides the experience, knowledge and profile that Jamie will bring to our club, one of the things that really shone through our discussions with him is how incredibly passionate he is about this project.
“Jamie absolutely shares our desire to give Rochester back a successful football team.”