Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is a co-owner of the Rochester Rhinos American football club.

Former England international Vardy has bought a minority stake in the New York state team but has no plans to retire from the game.

Rochester, founded in 1996, has not competed at any level for four years, but they have won the national championships four times and are the only non-MLS team to have won the US Open Cup.

With the participation of Vardy, they plan to set up a team again in 2022.

Rochester Rhinos plan to return to competitive play in 2022. Photo credit: @rochesterrhinos

The Dworkin family, who have owned the Rhinos since 2016, have been negotiating with Vardy and his representatives for more than two years.

A big part of Vardy’s plan is to try to recreate some of the success he has achieved with his “V9 Academy” in England, which gave non-league players a second chance Vardy for held well enough to play in professional football.

Rochester has now signed a partnership with the highly regarded Empire United Soccer Academy, which will partner with the Rhinos to provide local elite players the path to the first team.

Leicester has given Vardy permission to take advantage of this opportunity while he is still focused on gambling.

“I’m very excited to be part of the Rhinos,” said Vardy. “I looked for opportunities in the United States for a while, but there was something about Rochester and the Rhinos that just felt right.

David and Wendy Dworkin have owned Rochester Rhinos since 2016. Photo credit: @rochesterrhinos

“I love the story of the US Open Cup win, and although the club has had some tough years since then, that makes it more appealing to me.

“When I started talking to David and Wendy (Dworkin) – and we had so many conversations over video calls – I could see how excited they are about the Rhinos, and I knew I wanted to get involved and try to play along help change things.

“It won’t be easy, but I never do anything the easy way in life!”

The Dworkins also own the Sacramento Kings of the NBA.

Leicester's Jamie Vardy cheers after he scored his team's second goal from the penalty spot (dpa)
Vardy is the fourth highest scorer in Leicester history

“This is a huge coup for Rochester and the Rhinos,” said David Dworkin.

“Jamie Vardy is known in the football world for his success and inspiring story and we are delighted that he has chosen to join us as a co-owner.

“Aside from the experience, knowledge and profile that Jamie will bring to our club, one of the things that really leaked out in our conversations with Jamie was his incredible passion for this project.

“Jamie absolutely shares our desire to give Rochester a successful football team again.”