The U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame sadly closed its Oneonta, N.Y., doors in 2010. These days, the innumerable pieces of American soccer memorabilia collected over the years — from trophies, to jerseys, all the way down to U.S. Soccer guidebooks — reside in a large warehouse in the small North Carolina town of Hillsborough, population around 6,000.
The travesty in all of this is, obviously, that the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame closed its doors almost four years ago now, and there are no tentative plans — let alone concrete developments — to open a new location in order to properly display the complete history of American soccer to the general public.
That's not to say that efforts aren't being made behind the scenes, though. U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe told MLSsoccer.com on Friday that the Federation has been contacted "by more than a dozen interested parties about developing a new location for the National Soccer Hall of Fame."
On October 11, prior to the US national team's World Cup qualifying game against Jamaica, Peter Vermes and Joe-Max Moore are being inducted into a Hall of Fame that, physically, doesn't even exist. At this point, it's simply an honor and recognition for a great career, nothing tangible to memorialize their rightful place in American soccer history.
U.S. Soccer won't jump too hastily into a commitment to develop a new Hall of Fame, either, citing long-term sustainability as the most important factor in the process.
"We want ensure the Hall of Fame will be viable for the long term," Buethe added. "And to do that you have to consider location, operating expenses, the size of the building, funding, and many other factors.
"Who’s involved, where its located, how it’s operated, those are all important decisions. If a new Hall of Fame opens, we want to make sure we’ve done everything we can to ensure it will be sustainable for a long time."
What kind of soccer mad MLS city might step up and lead such an endeavor and be the right people to get involved? Paging Mr. Robb Heineman? Merritt Paulson? Joe Roth?
You guys, this is official "Soccer City, USA" goods we're talking about here.