Established in 1979, the National Soccer Hall of Fame houses an extensive archive of memorabilia associated with soccer in the United States.
“Dedicated to the sport of soccer in America by celebrating its history, preserving its legacy, inspiring its youth and honoring its heroes, for generations to come.”
Hall, as an institution, was established in 1950 when a group of former players from the Philadelphia Oldtimers Association took it upon themselves to recognize the achievements of soccer in America. As of December 31, 2004 a total 250 individuals have been elected to the Hall for their outstanding contributions to soccer in the United States both on and off the field. The National Soccer Museum, as a physical entity, was established in Oneonta in 1979 and officially recognized as the National Soccer Hall of Fame by the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) in 1983
The Hall of Fame is home to the nation’s soccer archives, which, with more than 100,000 items, comprises one of the largest collections of soccer artifacts and records in the world. The archive includes: the North American Soccer League archives; the complete records of 1994 FIFA World Cup, which was held here in the United States; memorabilia from the U.S. National Teams participation in World Cup competition including the first World Cup in 1930; the American Soccer League archive of the 1920-1950's; a rare soccer photography collection from New York depression-era photographer John Albok; and memorabilia from Major League Soccer as well as the Women’s United Soccer Association. The Hall currently displays two FIFA Women’s World Championship trophies as well as the traditional trophy of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Tournament (the Dewar Challenge Trophy). Also on display in the museum are the exhibits recognizing those inducted into the Halls of Fame of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA) and the American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO). The photograph archives contain thousands of photographic images dating back to the late 1800s.
From 1979 until 1998 the museum was located in downtown Oneonta. During the early 1990s more than 60 acres of land were purchased and four world-class soccer fields were constructed at its present location on the outskirts of Oneonta. Then, in 1995, the Hall was awarded a $4.5 million dollar grant from the State of New York to begin the design and development a dedicated museum on that site. In 1998, the U.S. Soccer Foundation pledged $1 million towards the new facility and a major fundraising campaign was undertaken. That campaign generated over $7 million for the construction of the first phase of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. It culminated in the current 40,000 square foot, state-of-the-art, museum facility, which was officially opened its doors on June 12, 1999.
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