National Soccer Hall of Fame Shuts Down
September 4, 2009 02:00 PM
Story found on Soccer America's Section 2
Written by The Daily Star
The museum at the National Soccer Hall of Fame, in Oneonta, NY., will close to the public after Labor Day due to financial difficulties. Although the institution will remain open on days when it hosts matches, it will cut staff as part of a "new sustainable operating model," Jonathan Ullman, its President and Chief Operating Officer, said. And discussions are ongoing with board members about whether to keep the National Hall of Fame in Oneonta.
With about 17,000 museum visitors and 55,000 campus visitors each year, the institution has long operated at a deficit. Cash infusions from other organizations like the U.S. Soccer Federation have kept the Soccer Hall afloat on an operating budget of a bout $1 million per year. "We cannot continue in a state of flux for a long time," Ullman said. In the meantime, Ullman is considering a number of creative marketing ideas, such as employing traveling exhibits and online exhibitions.
Ullman expressed his gratitude for the amount of local support the Soccer Hall has received. Many New York community members are fighting to maintain the institution's place in Oneonta. For example, state Sen. James Seward issued this statement on Thursday: "It's clear the Soccer Hall of Fame will have to operate differently in order to maintain a presence in Oneonta," he said. "I look forward to working with its staff and leadership to cement its commitment to Oneonta."Local high school teams and coaches also enjoy the opportunity to play on the four fields that the Soccer Hall maintains as part of its campus. The Soccer Hall has "four of the top-quality fields in the state," Oneonta high school girls coach Jerry Makey said in hopes that the nonprofit can work through its financial and marketing issues. - Read the whole story...