Published Jun 30, 2024

Written By:  Thomas Costello
Photography By:  Micheline Veluvolu and Tori Cleveland





In the soccer world, a 0-0 scoreline doesn’t necessarily scream excitement. For RNY FC, a pair of scoreless draws on Wednesday, June 26, wasn’t only exciting – it was monumentous.

Set apart by only an hour in Western New York, both RNY FC and Niagara 1812 ended home matches Wednesday 0-0. For Niagara, a win meant staying atop the Great Lakes Lake Erie Division and applying pressure on RNYFC. A draw for both teams won RNYFC the Lake Erie Division title – the first for RNY in its second season of WPSL play.


RNY FC starting lineup for June 26 match against BC United, 2024 Photo by Tori Cleveland

For RNY, a youth club that’s operated since 1966, the divisional title wasn’t a flash in the pan moment. It’s an honor built over years of coaching and mentoring of young athletes.

The growth they [the players] have shown is fantastic,” Louis Guilfoil, RNYFC head coach, said. “Some of the players have been with our Girls Academy since they were u14s. Having a pathway to Zone 3 programming after players graduate from high school has helped to create a collaborative ecosystem for the players and families.”

Although the club’s gone through different names and produced players for generations, 2024 was its second season in the WPSL. 

In its inaugural year, RNY FC had its struggles. RNY won its first match with a resounding 4-1 victory over Erie FC. However, it wasn’t a sign of things to come for the team from Rochester. RNY lost its next five matches with a combined margin of four goals scored and 26 conceded. 

This year, things were different.

Defense propelled RNY to its first WPSL hardware. After giving up at least three goals in all five 2023 defeats, the backline and goalkeeping of RNY gave up five total goals in its first seven matches this season.  

Leading the division champions was fullback and incoming Niagara University junior Delta Barber. 

“The growth we've shown since last season has been remarkable and is a testament to the dedication and hard work of every player and coach,” Barber said. “Representing the club that I played for as a youth player makes this achievement even more special, and it has been a privilege to grow alongside the program.”


RNY FC Captain Delta Barber, 2024 Photo by Tori Cleveland

RNY’s lone loss of the season, through its first seven matches, was June 14. Traveling to BC United, RNY fell 3-1. It wasn’t a match that looked like a 2023 RNY performance, but like it has all season, Rochester showed how it bounces back. That June 26 0-0 draw came against the same side that put three past RNY. 

On top of that, it was the only match through seven where RNY gave up more than one goal. In RNY’s first four matches alone it gave up only one total goal. It’s a run of performances that, when compared to its expansion 2023 season, jumps off any stat sheet.

Against the Cleveland Ambassadors, RNY gave up 11 goals in two matches in 2023. This season, RNY held Cleveland to one goal in a 2-1 victory. After scoring the first goal of the match, Cleveland charged back to tie the match within seven minutes. That was in the 38’ minute. Barber and RNY didn’t allow Cleveland to touch the back of the net again for the remaining 52 minutes.

In the 63’ minute though, the back contributed offensively. Barber scored the match-winning goal, the back’s only goal of the 2024 campaign. It put RNY FC in a tie in the standings with then first place Niagara 1812. 

Back to the Wednesday scoreless draws. Niagara’s draw was its final match of the regular season. Tied at 14 points apiece in the division table, it was early season form that tipped the trophy in RNY’s favor.
Despite still having one match left, WPSL uses head-to-head record to break ties and RNY and Niagara began a strong Western New York rivalry in the beginning of May. It was two matches that foreshadowed the rest of the season in the Lake Erie Division, with RNY and Niagara battling it out.

On the first matchday of the season, RNY welcomed Niagara to Rochester, and sent the 2024 expansion Niagara side home with its first loss in its WPSL history. The 1-0 defeat won RNY its first match of the season, but ultimately won the club its first title..



RNY season opener against Niagara 1812, 2024 Photo by Micheline Veluvolu


Ten days later, in Buffalo, RNY’s defense held Niagara off the scoreboard. Even though that match ended 0-0 too, the tiebreaker fell to the feet of Rochester. Now the trophy sits in its hands.


For RNY FC, this year’s success is only the beginning. 


“Being able to offer ten current Girls Academy players their debut has been amazing,” Guilfoil said. “We look forward to continued growth with the WPSL.”