Five Things to Know About the National Soccer Hall of Fame

Presented by Thorne

A new, state-of-the-art National Soccer Hall of Fame opens its doors at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on the weekend of Oct 20-21, before opening to the public in November. Here are five things to know before you go.

The weekend of October 20-21, 2018 will see the doors thrown open on a brand new National Soccer Hall of Fame. On the site of Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas – home to Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas – the new NSHOF offers fans a chance to sample the unique, 150-plus-year history of the game in America through high-tech, hands-on exhibits, recently unearthed artifacts and user experiences. A gala opening weekend includes the induction of the Class of 2018 on Saturday, Oct. 20, including U.S. National Team legends Brad Friedel and Tiffeny Milbrett, an MLS regular season contest between FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City, a Legends game to mark the 50th anniversary of the old North American Soccer League (NASL) and performances by musical guests Imagine Dragons and the Revivalists. 

Historic Partnership
The National Soccer Hall of Fame was born as part of a $55 million renovation of Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas and is a public-private partnership between MLS, FC Dallas, the City of Frisco, the Frisco Independent School District and the U.S. Soccer Federation. The new NSHOF, located at the south end of Toyota Stadium, is also the first major league Hall of Fame in history to occupy the grounds of an operating stadium. The NSHOF has been without a home for the past nine years after the closing of the original Hall of Fame in Oneonta, New York – opened in 1979 and recognized by U.S. Soccer as the official National Soccer Hall of Fame – closed its doors in 2009.

National Soccer Hall of Fame
National Soccer Hall of Fame

Entrance to the new National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas

Soccer’s History Meets the Future
The historical value of unearthed artifacts will be brought to life via a high-tech and highly interactive experience for visitors. The use of Facial Recognition will drive the visitors’ experience and make the NSHOF among the most personalized experiences in any sports setting. In all, the NSHOF Experience is a 19,350-square foot segment of the NSHOF that will honor the past while fully incorporating modern technology of the present and future, including virtual reality, gesture technology, and interactive digital video boards throughout to celebrate the players, veterans, and builders of American soccer. It will feature interactive exhibits, iconic soccer memorabilia and serve as the home for Hall of Fame induction ceremonies annually from 2018 forward.

Who’s Going In?
The 2018 NSHOF Induction Ceremony will kick off opening weekend’s festivities on Saturday. This year’s Induction class is comprised of U.S. Men’s National Team, Liverpool and Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel, currently head coach of Major League Soccer side New England Revolution, and two legends of the U.S. Women’s National Team, Tiffeny Milbrett and Cindy Parlow Cone, who will all receive the traditional red blazers presented to Hall of Famers. MLS Commissioner Don Garber (elected for induction in 2016, but who wished to be enshried this year to honor the Hunt family as part of the celebrations surrounding the opening of the new NSHOF location) and Dr. Bob Contiguglia, former President of U.S. Soccer, will also be honored in the Builders category. Legendary broadcaster JP Dellacamera, winner of the 2018 Colin Jose Media Award will also be honored during the induction ceremony. In addition to the inductees themselves, previous Hall of Famers like Eric Wynalda, John Harkes, Jeff Agoos, Werner Roth and Dr. Joe Machnik and many more will also be in attendance. 

What’s Going On?
The weekend won’t just be about nostalgia and red blazers. Two-time Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup winners FC Dallas will host four-time Open Cup toppers Sporting Kansas City on Sunday Oct. 21 at Toyota Stadium (4. p.m. CT). Both sides have already booked their place in the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs and currently occupy first (FC Dallas) and second (SKC) place in the league’s ultra-competitive Western Conference. Following the game, there’s likely to be a slower pace to the Legends match that will honor the 50th anniversary of the old North American Soccer League (NASL) which operated from 1968 to 1985. Among the legends expected to take the field are Tatu, Kyle Rote Jr. and Hall of Fame goalkeeper Arnie Mausser. And on Saturday night, cleats are swapped for street shoes as Toyota Stadium will sway to the sounds of musical guests Imagine Dragons and New Orleans roots-rock outfit the Revivalists.

Lost Treasures Revived
As any Hall of Fame worth its salt must, the new NSHOF has its share of relics to help highlight a century-and-a-half of soccer in the United States. Among these artifacts, some only recently unearthed from their decades of slumber, is the original Dewar Cup trophy. Commissioned in 1912 (two years before the first U.S. Open Cup tournament – then the National Challenge Cup) by whiskey magnate Sir Thomas Dewar, the trophy has been repaired, updated and primped to take its rightful place among the historical treasures of the American game. It will also form the focal point of the most comprehensive display of Open Cup artifacts ever gathered in one place. Also on display will be an NASL-at-50 special exhibit with vintage uniforms from those crazy days of the 1970s and original tickets. There will be gold medals from the Women’s World Cup and Olympic games and three Women’s World Cup trophies in an overall collection spanning the 19th and 20th century all the way up to 2018.