What Major League Baseball has in Cooperstown, New York and what the National Football League has in Canton, Ohio, Major League Soccer will soon have in Frisco, Texas
Expected to begin sometime this year, the City of Frisco – in partnership with MLS officials and FC Dallas – is set to build onto Toyota Stadium, installing the National Soccer Hall of Fame Museum. In doing so, soccer will become the first major sport where a hall of fame is built within the same unit of where a professional team plays.
Project to cost $39 million
First announced this past October, the $39 million undertaking is several years in the making, having been discussed for a while now by FC Dallas Club Chairman Clark Hunt, the City of Frisco, and U.S. soccer executives. The permanent location of the National Soccer Hall of Fame had been in limbo, stretching back to 2010 after its former home, located in Oneonta, New York, had to close due to budget restrictions.
Now that a long-term outpost has been determined, Hunt said that he's eager to get things going.
"The goal is to return the Hall of Fame to prominence and share the story of soccer in America with the general public," Hunt said late last year, according to the Dallas Morning News.
While the Hall of Fame may be the main feature of the construction project, it isn't the only renovation that the home to FC Dallas will be getting over the course of the next year. For example, on the south side of the Toyota Stadium, approximately 100,000 square feet will be done over, including the creation of more spacious locker rooms – capable of holding 100 players at a time – a 3,000-square-foot private club that comfortably seats almost 2,000 members, premium seating to replace bleachers, a remodeled apparel store for fans to frequent, and an estimated 7,000 square feet for concessions and souvenirs.
Audio, video to be revamped
While these planned renovations are mainly creature comforts that go beyond the game, the updates will also help make match play more enjoyable for fans in the stands. For example, video and audio equipment will get top-of-the-line updates so that the action on the field can be shared all throughout the entire stadium.
Hunt said that this project for the general public hits close to home, serving as a reminder of his late father.
"My father Lamar loved this game and he chased his vision of growing soccer in the United States with the same determination he brought to professional football," Hunt explained. "He had a vision of what the beautiful game could be in America and he spent years watching games and persuading friends to join him. This is an incredible opportunity to not only honor his legacy, but all of those who came before him, those who stood beside him, and those in the future who will endeavor to grow the sport of soccer in America."
Frisco Mayer Maher Maso indicated that the project will be a huge addition to the city, drawing fans in from all over. Furthermore, the improvements will also be something the local community can take advantage of, both for sporting events and recreational activities like concerts or job fairs.
As for when the construction will begin, officials say it will be at least another two to three months, as Toyota Stadium is playing host to women's soccer tournament play throughout February. The slated completion forecast is scheduled for December 2017.