The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Local News -

September 4, 2009

Soccer Hall to close

ONEONTA _ The museum at the National Soccer Hall of Fame will be closed to the public after Labor Day, except for dates when matches are on the field, its President and Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Ullman said Thursday.

He spoke during a media conference at the facility about the Soccer Hall's financial difficulties and also confirmed there will be a reduction in staff as it works on "a new sustainable operating model." He did not discuss details of the cuts, saying, "We have some wonderful people that have worked extremely hard and have been dedicated to this organization."

Sources previously said that of the eight full-time employees, only Ullman; director of museum and archives Jack Huckel, who was also at the discussion; and the financial manager will remain by the end of the month.

The Soccer Hall said it will honor its commitments to various events, including the High School Hall of Fame Cup set for later this month and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Boys Soccer Championship in November.

No decision has been made by the board of directors about whether to keep the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, Ullman said. Discussions are ongoing between board members, but no formal meeting has been scheduled.

The operating budget of the Soccer Hall is about $1 million per year, he said. There is enough money to continue until a decision is reached, which Ullman said he expects this fall.

"We cannot continue in a state of flux for a long time," he said.

The U.S. Soccer Federation, which recognized the Hall in 1983, has been supportive of the effort to turn things around, Ullman said.

Museum attendance is about 17,000 a year, Ullman said, with admission of $12.50 for adults, $9.50 for students, discounts for youth and seniors and children younger than five get in for free. About 55,000 people will come to the campus this year, including the four playing fields, he said. About 80 percent of the people come from spring through the fall.

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