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Should Rochester Chase Soccer Hall of Fame?

April 5th, 2013

U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame [PHOTO: Steve Hutchinson, Flickr]
Al Schneider has been working for decades to bring some pretty major sporting institutions to Western NY. After the Olympic Summer Games in London, he requested a meeting with Governor Cuomo to discuss bringing the Olympic Games to Rochester. Six months later Rochester ended up on a list of cities who have expressed interest in bidding for the 2024 games. But local officials quickly passed external link on the idea. Fear not. Schneider’s got other irons in the fire…

U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame [PHOTO: Steve Hutchinson, Flickr]One of the projects he’s working on is top secret for now (hint: it involves really fast cars). And yet another idea should get local soccer fans revved up. The United State Soccer Association (USSA) recently closed the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, NY due to a lack of visitors. Schneider says USSA will soon be issuing a request for proposals to establish a new site for the Soccer Hall of Fame – and he wants it to be right here, in Rochester.

Schneider sent the following letter to a list of state and local officials, including Gov. Cuomo and Mayor Richards, asking them to take immediate steps in establishing an “Empire State Hall of Fame Trail” and asking them to join him in establishing Rochester as the new home of the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame.

So what do you think? Does Rochester have a shot at this one? Or should we take a pass (again)? Sound off in the comments. Your representatives are listening.

Al Schneider's letter to Governor Cuomo, RE: US Soccer Hall of Fame.

Al Schneider's letter to Governor Cuomo, RE: US Soccer Hall of Fame.

Al Schneider's letter to Governor Cuomo, RE: US Soccer Hall of Fame.

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This entry was posted on Friday, April 5th, 2013 at 10:49 pm and is filed under Rochester News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

12 Responses to “Should Rochester Chase Soccer Hall of Fame?”

  1. gary b says:

    Rochester takes way too many passes. The Olympics would be just the thing to get our people fired up about something. Anything! But the Soccer Hall of Fame isn’t too shabby either. We absolutely need to press for this. I’m not even a soccer fan (or a football fan, as the rest of the world might say). But this is a no-brainer.

  2. Irene says:

    The fact that the site in Oneonta couldn’t draw enough visitors should be a big red flag. Oneonta is close to Cooperstown and other tourist attractions, closer to major population centers, and still enough people didn’t visit. The soccer stadium is already losing money, we don’t need another money pit. How about focusing on more of what has succeeded, like the Jazz festival and the museum of play, or things that also make Rochester a better place to live, like the river trails

  3. gary b says:

    I don’t agree. I think that Oneonta’s location was the major factor in limiting visitors. It isn’t close enough to any population centers. It’s too far from Cooperstown for that to be a factor. Baseball fans are not necessarily soccer fans. An urban location such as Rochester would provide a critical mass necessary for it to work. Soccer isn’t a classic American sport and is only growing slowly, so it’s not a shoe-in like baseball. A Hall of Fame would require nurture. But as soccer slowly becomes more mainstream, growth is inevitable for the community fortunate enough to be in on the ground floor – if it’s the right place. The fact is that we’re already focusing on those other projects, to our great benefit. They don’t preclude this. Defining every visionary project as a “money pit” and acting on that guarantees their failure and their transformation into a money pit.

  4. The devil is always in the details and I wouldn’t be a fan of pouring a lot of public dollars into this but the fact remains that there has been considerable support for soccer in our area. Successful local players like Abby Wambach has helped foster and sustain interest in the sport.

    Although Oneonta is geographically closer to NYC (major population center referenced by another poster?) the fact remains that we’re a larger metro than Oneonta with easier transportation options in and out and there would be some synergy with investments already made in the soccer stadium. We have considerable local tourism resources to promote it, local non-profit expertise to help run it and I like the idea if it can be accomplished in a cost effective manner (let’s walk before we run).

    Cooperstown is known worldwide for baseball, but I’m not inclined to think that baseball fans going to the Baseball Hall of Fame would necessarily cross over to soccer — they are definitely two different fan bases.

    Something that energizes local fans and draws people here could be a great thing. I’m not much of a soccer buff, but imagine inducting a high-wattage figure like David Beckham in Rochester? It seems like we’d get some bang for the buck with something like that. Just my two cents.

  5. gary b says:

    Yes, cost-effective is key. One reason we have these money pits is they’re done for political or reactive reasons, with big commitments coming before due diligence. Our most successful projects have grown from the grass roots – East End vs High Falls.

    Does anyone know Abby Wambach? She could be a very visible advocate if she were on board. I agree Rochester already has much of the infrastructure needed to get something like this off the ground. Even if such an institution didn’t draw from New York or Chicago, it could well draw from Berlin or Rio (as long as the visitors understand what “soccer” is, a factor which may have helped doom Oneonta).

  6. chase tyler says:

    Don’t forget that Rochester is easily accessible from Buffalo and Syracuse. That adds more fans in the area.

    Rochester needs more tourism. Our transit system sucks, but we have decent traffic, lots of local business, and cheap houses. We just need something huge to draw in visitors-and revenue.

  7. Wendy says:

    Yes, definitely go for it. Soccer is the biggest international sport in the world. And assuming the HOF celebrates worldwide soccer and not just Americans, then it’d be a major draw to the area for people all over the world who would otherwise not consider Rochester for one minute.

  8. Patrick Chefalo says:

    A major player against Rochester might be St. Louis. But I think Rochester should try whatever to attract tourists. Since the great unwashed is against Erie Canal investment, and instead is trying to attract the anti-history Morgan Group to town to destroy the Eastman House and Court Street areas, maybe a sports theme will appeal to the populace.

  9. jimmy says:

    build it on Oak st. right next to our soccer stadium and nearby frontier field.

  10. Andrew says:

    Couple points:

    1) As a baseball fan, I would never seek out the soccer hall of fame as part of a trip to Cooperstown. I honestly had no idea it existed.

    2) This could have a significant amount of business from international travelers who are visiting NYC or Toronto. While it might not make people visit Rochester as an entire vacation, visitors in those two cities might decide to make a day trip or stay a night.

  11. Matt V says:

    Remember that the Strong is looking to start a sports museum associated with the new Bills Stadium, which seems to be a pipe dream to me. Maybe they can build their museum here as part of the Soccer Hall of Fame. Anybody who knows people at the Strong should demand this because I think this would make it a great project.

  12. Chris Brandt says:

    Put it either in the field directly west of the Sahlens Stadium, or right downtown on Main Street (Ren. Square Site comes to mind).


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