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The National Soccer Museum and Hall of Fame (Oneonta, N.Y.)


As part of our continuing effort to service and educate our membership, each Thursday the U.S. Soccer Communications Center will provide an informative article from one of its departments.  Once a week, we will post an article/paper/essay that will hopefully enhance your enjoyment and knowledge of the game of soccer - on and off the field.

In November, we examined the storied history of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.  This month, we take a look at the present and glimpse into the future of the Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y.

The National Soccer Museum and Hall of Fame (Oneonta, N.Y.)

Since 1983 the National Soccer Museum has served U.S. Soccer as the official site of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. On June 12, 1999 a new era for the National Soccer Hall of Fame began with the Grand Opening of a new $7.5 million museum.  A new setting, new displays and exhibits, and a campus atmosphere that combined national award-winning Clark Company-constructed playing fields with a modern and striking building brought all the Hall of Fame activities to one location in Oneonta, N.Y.

Since the Grand Opening, the Hall of Fame and the Museum have moved forward with new exhibits and new ideas.  Conceived of as an interactive space, the 40,000 square foot building continues to provide kids with the enjoyment and challenge of “hands-on” and “feet-on” activities. Every soccer fan can read about the history of the game, see medals and trophies that date from the 1930 World Cup to the Women’s World Cup Trophy won by the transcendent US Women’s National Team in 1999.  Using new interactive displays, you can even find out how fast you can strike a ball and see if you can head the ball past Brianna, Kasey, or Brad!

As with every museum, the goal is to keep the Hall of Fame a living and breathing space, recognizing memorable events - like the 1950 World Cup victory over England - and historical artifacts - like the Dewar Cup, the oldest team trophy in the United States - in addition to current displays such as the MLS/WUSA Gallery, which features uniforms and memorabilia from each of the teams in professional Division I soccer.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame continues to be guided by its vision statement created by the Board of Directors in a Year 2000 strategic planning meeting: to serve as gathering place for the Greats of the game, to create a Hall of Fame mystique that will give the players, coaches, and administrators a nationally recognized shrine to which they can aspire.

The Soccer Hall of Fame mission is a four-part statement:
 1) To Celebrate the History,
 2) To Honor the Heroes,
 3) To Inspire the Youth, and
 4) To Preserve the Legacy.

Each of these goals is accomplished by close cooperation between the Hall of Fame and the three major entities in the game in the United States: US Soccer, Major League Soccer, and the Women’s United Soccer Association.  Among the items the Museum currently has on display are Mia Hamm’s National Team jersey in recognition of her award as FIFA Women’s Player of the Year, MVP Dwayne DeRosario’s San Jose Earthquakes jersey from MLS Cup 2001, and Paul Caligiuri’s Los Angeles Galaxy jersey from his final professional match, the US Open Cup Final won by the Galaxy. The ball from the first goal ever scored in WUSA play is featured prominently in the MLS/WUSA Gallery alongside Brandi Chastain’s locker containing the ball that won the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

A fund raising campaign to support the Vision and the Mission is in the planning stages. As the Hall thinks about the future, plans to expand the Museum are in motion, as are plans for campus expansion: additional fields, including a lighted stadium, an indoor playing center, team rooms, further concession areas, housing and a hotel are among the items being considered.

The Museum continues to seek out memorabilia from the special moments in the game and invites you to see the game come alive “Where Soccer Legends Live” at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, NY.

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 jilacqua@ussoccer.org or at 312-528-1252.

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