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Local News -

September 4, 2009

Soccer Hall to close

(Continued)

The organization has always had a structural operating deficit that Ullman said he estimated to be in the six figures. Although the revenues haven't been enough to meet expenses, "we have been fortunate" for ongoing state support and major cash infusions from various sources that helped make ends meet, he said.

But the Soccer Hall still needs money to address building depreciation and "revitalizing the experience" at the museum, he said.

One alternative being considered is having a central location but devoting more attention to traveling exhibits and events in other spots and online. The effort would include working to develop sponsors and promoting the mission of the organization, he said. This includes celebrating the history, honoring heroes, inspiring youth and preserving the legacy of the sport of soccer, according to the Soccer Hall website.

There is no question there will continue to be a national Hall of Fame, Ullman said. Ballots will go out and there will be an induction in 2010. It was too early to say whether that institution would be in Oneonta, he said.

In discussing what people can do to keep the Soccer Hall in Oneonta, Ullman said, "we continue to be open to any ideas, thoughts or concerns.

"I can't say enough how supportive the community has been," he said. Meetings have been going on for more than a year with a number of community supporters of the Soccer Hall to find a way to remain in Oneonta.

Ullman has been with the nonprofit for about two years.

"Hindsight is easy, but I'm not sure that there was anything that could have been done differently to avoid the current situation," he said.

State Sen. James Seward issued a statement on the situation 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."

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