It's been in the works for a while now, and we all knew it was coming, but the New England Revolution and the Rochester Rhinos officially announced their new partnership on Monday. According to the new guidelines of MLS and USL PRO affiliation agreements, the Revs will send a minimum of four players on long-term loans to the Rhinos, where they will receive consistent playing time in competitive USL matches.
It was revealed in the same release that the Revolution players who will be heading to Rochester are still going to be with the Revs through most of preseason. However, members of the Rhinos' staff will head to Tucson for the Desert Diamond Cup (and stage two of Revolution preseason), where they will collaborate with the Revs' coaching staff and observe players. The loanees will be announced once that determination is made closer to the start of the season.
"We believe forming an affiliation with Rochester gives us the ability to get our players more competitive games on a regular basis," said Mike Burns of the agreement. "This option allows those players who would normally see most of their action in the Reserve League to get more consistent playing time, which we believe will benefit our first team in the long run."
The players who will be loaned to the Rhinos need not remain there all season; they all have the option of being recalled upon request by the Revolution. The only caveat is that the Rhinos have to have a minimum of four Revolution players on the roster at all times. According to information from previous league releases, the possibility of short-term game-by-game loans remains open and up to the clubs.
The partnership isn't only beneficial to the Revs and their player development goals. The Rhinos are also getting four-plus new, MLS-caliber (or nearly, at least) players out of the deal, which could have far-reaching ramifications for their squad-building goals in 2013.
"We are returning our nucleus from last season and adding a minimum of four MLS players to the group," said Rochester Rhinos Team President and COO Pat Ercoli. "On the soccer side, this also allows us to continue our focus on player development and builds a pipeline for our professional players to Major League Soccer."
All that's left now is to wait and see how this pans out for both sides. It's good to see that the two coaching staffs will be working closely on this; it wouldn't be helpful for either club if the Revolution players weren't getting effective guidance from the Rhinos staff, or if the coaching staff in Rochester wasn't receiving players that they were inclined to play or could help them win.