National Soccer Hall of Fame breaks ground

National Soccer Hall of Fame City officials, school district leaders, FC Dallas representatives and retired professional soccer player Brandi Chastain break ground at the National Soccer Hall of Fame at Toyota Stadium.[/caption]

FC Dallas, the city of Frisco and Frisco ISD broke ground on the National Soccer Hall of Fame and announced the 2016 Hall of Fame class Thursday.

Last fall, the city and school district approved an agreement for Toyota Stadium to undergo renovations including new locker rooms, additional premium seats, a private club and that the National Soccer Hall of Fame would be moving to the stadium. This would be the first time a national sports hall of fame would be built inside an active stadium. The project costs $39 million and is a public-private partnership between FC Dallas, the city of Frisco, Frisco ISD, the Frisco Economic Development Corp. and the Frisco Community Development Corp.

"If you take care of your stadium, it will take care of you," FC Dallas President Dan Hunt said during the groundbreaking ceremony. "The new 100,000-square-foot museum and events center building is the newest example, in conjunction with the city, Friso ISD and U.S. Soccer, of taking care of this incredible stadium here at Toyota Stadium."

National Soccer Hall of Fame These rendering show the renovated Toyota Stadium and the National Soccer Hall of Fame.[/caption]

The inductees of the 2016 Hall of Fame class were also announced during the ceremony. Inductees are Shannon MacMillan, who was a member of U.S. Women's National Team earning a Women’s World Cup title in 1999 and an Olympic gold medal in 1996; former commissioner of Major League Soccer Don Garber; and retired professional soccer player Brandi Chastain, who was present at the ceremony.

Chastain is a Women's World Cup Champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist and was the first U.S. player to score five goals in a single match.

"I never began playing soccer with the concept in my head that this would be a day in my future," Chastain said. "I'm overwhelmed and I'm incredibly grateful and I believe my words are not enough so my actions have to speak louder, and that's why I give back to the game in coaching and sharing my experiences. I think today I love soccer more than the first day I fell in love with it, which was the first time I kicked the ball."

The improvements to the stadium will also accommodate the needs for FISD athletics and the NCAA, which hosts its Division I National Football Championship game at the stadium every year.

"Our kids will benefit from all of these enhanced facilities and services, and [FC Dallas] has been so great in talking about how FISD students can get involved working in the hall of fame and learning the history of soccer," FISD Superintendent Jeremy Lyon said. "It's a great day for the community and for our school district."

The groundbreaking ceremony comes after the Dallas Cowboys announcement Wednesday for plans for the Ring of Honor Walk at The Star, the team's new headquarters and multi-event center.

"Both of the Dallas Cowboys project and the Toyota Stadium project are exciting because they're evolving," Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said. "I think no one really understood when we put Toyota Stadium on the ground it was a new model for the entire league but also that we weren't done yet, and I think you're seeing that today."
By Nicole Luna
Nicole Luna is the Senior Reporter for Frisco. She covers development, transportation, education, business and city government. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Spanish from The University of Texas at Arlington and has been with Community Impact Newspaper since June 2015.