Since November the Rochester Rhinos have made three signings, all of a different nature. In Conor Chinn, the Rhinos signed a striker looking to kick-start his stuttering professional career. In Brandon Miller, the Rhinos signed a promising young goalkeeper fresh out of college. And in Quavas Kirk, the Rhinos re-signed a solid performer from the 2011 season.
On Monday December 19, Rhinos fans got an early Christmas present in the form of 24 year old striker Conor Chinn. Chinn was drafted by the New York Red Bulls in 2010 and made 5 league appearances for the club before being waived after the season. After a brief spell with Real Salt Lake, Chinn joined Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL in June where he made 10 appearances.
Chinn comes to Rochester with the opportunity to revitalize his professional career. “I am expecting a breakout season from Conor,” Rhinos head coach Jesse Myers said. “He has the potential to score goals in this league on a consistent basis. His strength and pace are an asset. I feel that it’s time for Conor to realize his potential and become a productive member of our team.” Chinn joins Andrew Hoxie and Isaac Kissi in Rochester’s striking ranks and looks to feature on a regular basis for the Rhinos in 2012.
Two days later, on the December 21, Rhinos announced the signing of young goalkeeper Brandon Miller. The University of North Carolina Wilmington product made an impression on the Rochester coaching staff, including head coach Jesse Myers who clearly liked what he saw. “I have had the chance to see Brandon play on a couple of different occasions,” he said. “Each time I came away impressed with his ability to do his job. When you throw in the fact that he’s been mentored by Aidan Heaney, a former keeper with the New England Revolution, it made it a fairly easy decision for us to make.”
The 22 year old Brandon Miller will deputize for and be mentored by Rhinos starter Neal Kitson, 26. This is a great pickup for the Rhinos and I’m looking forward to seeing Miller in action in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup. Aidan Heaney, Miller’s coach at UNC Wilmington, summed up the signing well saying, “It’s a great step by Rochester picking up a young player with a very bright future.”
On Monday January 9, the Rochester Rhinos exercised their option on Quavas Kirk’s contract. This means that Kirk, 23, will return to solidify the stingiest home defensive record in USL. When he played as a right back last season, Kirk was strong in his tackles, smart in his positioning and offered an outlet with his pace down the wing. I’m very excited about seeing Kirk lineup with Tyler Bellamy and Troy Roberts again as he is another young player in Rochester with MLS and youth national team experience. Rhinos head coach Jesse Myers said in the press announcement, “This season we are going to ask Quavas to continue to develop his game, and to play a role in helping us try to win a championship.” New signings Mike Zaher and Jack Traynor will probably play on the left side but they offer the option to rotate the back line in a USL schedule that can best be described as hectic.
Head coach Jesse Myers and his assistant Bill Sedgewick are putting the puzzle pieces together for the 2012 Rochester Rhinos roster. Right now the Rhinos have two goalkeepers (Neal Kitson and Brandon Miller), five defenders (Tyler Bellamy, Troy Roberts, Jack Traynor, Mike Zaher, and Quavas Kirk), four midfielders (Tyler Rosenlund, Drew Cost, Mike Tanke and JC Banks) and three forwards (Andrew Hoxie, Isaac Kissi and Conor Chinn). The return of important players in the spine of the team allows the Rhinos to position themselves with a concrete shot at the USL Championship.