National Soccer Hall Of Fame
As part of our continuing effort to service and educate our membership, each Thursday U.S. Soccer will provide an informative article from one of its departments. Each Thursday will bring a new article, from the Referee Department (first Thursday of each month), Sports Medicine Department (second Thursday of each month), Coaching Department (third Thursday of each month) or Membership Services (fourth Thursday).
This week, learn more about the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Founded in Oneonta, N.Y., more than 20 years ago, the Hall of Fame includes a new museum complex, more soccer fields and several new displays.
National Soccer Hall Of Fame
When the National Soccer Hall of Fame opened the doors of its new museum complex on Saturday, June 12, 1999, it marked another step forward for the organization that has committed itself to preserving the history and sport of soccer in the United States. Established in 1979, the National Soccer Hall of Fame has housed an extensive archive of memorabilia associated with soccer in the United States for more than 20 years. Founded in Oneonta, New York, the Hall of Fame is soccer fans best link to the decorated history of “the beautiful game” in the U.S.
The Hall came to life in 1950 when a group of former professional and amateur players from the Philadelphia "Old-timers" Association took it on themselves to recognize the achievements of soccer in America. More than 50 years after the "Old-timers" first got together, 220 members have been elected to the Hall of Fame for their outstanding contributions to American soccer, both on and off the field.
The Hall of Fame possesses more than 80,000 items, which make up one of the largest collections of soccer artifacts and records in the world. Included in this nation’s soccer archive are such rare pieces as the world’s oldest soccer ball (made in the USA) and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy. The Hall also holds and displays the North American Soccer League Archive; the World Cup USA 1994 archive; a rare soccer photography collection from New York depression-era photographer John Albok; materials from the U.S. national teams in World Cup competition and artifacts from the American Soccer League of the 1920's - 50's.
The current building project began in 1995 with the awarding of a $4.5-million dollar grant from the State of New York to begin design and development of the National Soccer Hall of Fame complex in Oneonta. In 1998, the U.S. Soccer Foundation pledged $1 million towards the new facility and a major fund raising campaign was undertaken by the Hall's board of directors. That campaign generated the $7.2 million that is going towards construction of the first phase of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
The new 20,000-square-foot museum complex sits on the Hall’s 61-acre soccer campus. The campaign to fund construction of a grandstand stadium, locker room facilities and an indoor soccer arena will continue over the next two years. Plans for the National Soccer Hall of Fame campus also include the addition of three more world-class soccer fields, which will bring the total of outdoor fields available to seven.
In addition to the Museum, the Hall of Fame complex boasts an interactive Kicks Game Zone, a gift shop, library, office and meeting facilities. The campus’ four world class soccer fields were honored with the 2000 "Best in the Nation" award by the American Field Turf Managers association. They have been host to international teams from the USA, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, New Zealand, Canada, Chile and Saudi Arabia as well as local collegiate and high school championships. The Hall of Fame also offers a summer long tournament series for premier and club teams in every age category.
Induction Weekend 2001
The Soccer Hall of Fame welcomed its three newest members, former USA and NY Cosmos star Rick Davis, NASL founder Robert Hermann, and U.S. National Team and St. Louis Kutis star Bill Looby into the Soccer Hall of Fame with an induction ceremony on Oct. 8, 2001. Soccer fans enjoyed the many festivities that surrounded the 2001 Induction weekend, as the Boston Breakers faced the Washington Freedom in a WUSA exhibition match and the 1991 Women’s World Cup champions were honored with the National Soccer Medal of Honor - in addition to the Induction Ceremony for Davis, Hermann and Looby.
The Washington Freedom topped the Boston Breakers 3-1 in front of 3,257 fans behind two goals by Roseli and one by Mia Hamm. Prior to the exhibition match, members of the 1991 U.S. Women’s World Cup team were awarded the National Soccer Medal of Honor. The first-ever winner Women’s World Champions were honored with the prestigious medal, marking only the third time in twenty years that the Soccer Hall of Fame has presented that honor. Hall of Fame National Board member Dr. Henry Kissinger first presented it to Alan Rothenberg for his work with U.S. Soccer and the World Cup 1994, and it was awarded again to Soccer Hall of Famer Lamar Hunt for his pioneering leadership in the sport for over thirty years.
Now On Display...
The Hall of Fame continually adds new displays and updates its galleries to keep soccer fans in tune with the ever-changing storylines of the game. Take a peek into what is new in the National Hall of Fame ...
- In the past 3 months, the Hall has added the new Hall of Famers display with memorabilia from the Hall of Fame class of 2001 – Davis, Hermann and Looby.
- The original FIFA World Championship for Women trophy is currently on display. The original trophy is on direct loan from FIFA.
- To commemorate the new Division I women’s professional league, the Hall has added a new WUSA gallery that celebrates the teams, players and storylines of the new women’s professional league.
- The newest addition to the Hall is the MLS Cup 2001 exhibit. The display honors the San Jose Earthquakes and their worst-to-first turnaround of the 2001 season. The ‘Quakes capped the season with a thrilling 2-1 overtime win in the MLS Cup. Dwayne DeRosario scored a 96th minute ‘golden goal’ that gave San Jose the title, and his jersey is highlighted in the Hall’s newest exhibit.
For more information on the National Soccer Hall of Fame, please visit www.soccerhall.org.
Questions can be directed to Julie Ilacqua, U.S. Soccer's Managing Director of Federation Services. Julie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-528-1252.