Jamie Vardy buys stake in Rochester Rhinos to become co-owner of US soccer club

Jamie Vardy is now co-owner of the Rochester Rhinos (Picture: Rochester Rhinos Twitter)

English football star Jamie Vardy has become the co-owner of Rochester Rhinos after buying a minority stake in the American club.

Following in the footsteps of David Beckham, Vardy, 34, entered into US football club ownership this week as he begins to look beyond his sensational playing career.

The Leicester City and former England national team striker is understood to have made a ‘meaningful’ financial investment in the Rhinos, who who have not competed since 2017 due to lack of funding. His backing will help the club’s existing board members in their quest to rejoin a league again in 2022.

Vardy is believed to have been working on the project with the Rhinos for two years already. He apparently sees similarities between Rochester – an industrial city about 300 miles north-west of New York – and his home town of Sheffield.

Jamie Vardy buys stake in Rochester Rhinos to become co-owner of US soccer club

Jamie Vardy is a legend of the English game (Picture: Rochester Rhinos Twitter)

Leicester City v Everton - Premier League

Jamie Vardy won the Premier League with Leicester City in 2016 (Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

‘I’ve been looking at opportunities in the United States for a while, but there was something about Rochester and the Rhinos that just felt right’, said Vardy.

He added: ‘I love the story of the US Open Cup win, when Rochester were the first club outside the MLS to do so 22 years ago, and although the club has been through some difficult years since, in a way that makes this more appealing to me.

‘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.’

Vardy is now one of the best-known players in English football and rose to fame after going from playing non-league to winning Premier League title in 2016. He has also played in the World Cup and has scored 118 Premier League goals in 245 appearances.

Current owners of the Rhinos, David and Wendy Dworkin, are also part-owners of NBA franchise Sacramento Kings and have been seeking outside investment in a bid to revitalize the club’s competitive ability.

Jamie Vardy buys stake in Rochester Rhinos to become co-owner of US soccer club

Vardy, 34, hopes his influence will help revitalize the club’s on the field fortunes (Picture: Rochester Rhinos Twitter)

Although Vardy is entering the final years of his playing career, he has made it clear that he has no intention of hanging up his boots just yet.

He will have a strong say in appointing a new head coach at the Rhinos, while Lee Tucker, who led Vardy’s V9 academy aimed at finding place for non-league players in the professional game, will be the club’s new sporting director.

Last season, Vardy helped Leicester win the FA Cup for the first time in their history and even became the first player in history to feature in every round of the competition.

Speaking of Vardy’s appointment, David Dworkin said: ‘This is a huge coup for Rochester and the Rhinos. Jamie Vardy is known throughout the soccer world because of his success and his inspirational story, and we are delighted that he has chosen to join us as a co-owner.’

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