In an attempt to fill the holes created in the central defense by the retirement of Scott Schweitzer and the move of Craig Demmin to Virginia Beach, the Rhinos offered a contract to MLS veteran Ryan Suarez. Unfortunately, Suarez wanted more money than the Rhinos were willing or able to offer up at this time.

It would appear that the Rhinos only choices at this point would be to concentrate on the players that they already have under contract or look at some younger players that either didn't stick in MLS or were unwilling to sign with MLS as developmental players.

Combine Survivor

The Rhinos player combine leading up to training camp is winding down in Cary, NC. Coach Calloway mentioned yesterday that they had 60 players in total at this year's combine and that they were looking at keeping about 6 over into the regular training camp. Calloway mentioned that rookies such as Jordan Chirico and Danny Kramer were taking part in the combine. So, it will be interesting to see if he counted those players amongst those moving on to the next phase of pre-season or not.

One player that looks to have survived is former Temple Owl MF Tony Donatelli. Donatelli was a 3rd round 2006 MLS Supplemental Draft Selection by the Houston Dynamo. Donatelli led the Philadelphia Soccer Seven collegiate league in scoring in both his junior and senior years, along with being named as a first team All-Atlantic 10 Conference selection both of those years. Tony was also a first team All-Mid-Atlantic Region slection during his senior season. Donatelli ended his career at Temple as the single season and career assist leader. At 6'1" 175 lbs, it will be interesting to see if the Rhinos see Donatelli as an attacking midfielder, or if they throw him intothe mix as a potential replacement for Rene Rivas in the defensive midfield role.

Coach Rivas, I presume?

While Rhinos Head Coach Laurie Calloway and Assistant Coach Willie Fitzpatrick were in Cary, NC this past week to run the combine, Rene Rivas was helping run some practices to keep the senior players in shape prior to camp starting up next week. It appears that while Rene's playing days with the Rhinos may be over, his association with the club might not be.

Rivas is reportedly in talks about possibly becoming the new head coach of the Rochester Rhinos Women's Team. And given the shorter season and that practices will likely be later than those of the men's team, you can't count out the possbility of Rivas also being named as an assistant coach with the men's team. Keeping that link between Coach Calloway and the Spanish speaking players on the team could only help this team.

Preseason Schedule Announced

The Rhinos have released most of the details of their pre-season schedule.

They will play 3 matches at SAS Soccer Park in Cary, NC:

Wednesday, April 5th at 2pm vs the Charleston Battery

Thursday, April 6th at 6pm vs the University of North Carolina Tar Heels

Friday, April 7th (time TBD) vs the Atlanta Silverbacks

There will then be 4 local matches:

Saturday, April 15th at 4pm vs the Toronto Lynx at Aquinas High School

Monday, April 17th at 3pm vs Hartwick College (location TBD)

Saturday, April 22nd at 3pm vs SUNY Cortland in Cortland

Friday, April 28th at 4pm vs Syracuse University at MCC

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author's, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or Feel free to send any comments or complaints to James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.