Pelé: Brazilian’s final hurrah at New York Cosmos helped spark ‘sporting revolution’



He won three World Cups, scored many goals and became a global icon, but Pele wasn’t done yet, so he moved to America and helped change the game of soccer in North America.

The Brazilian legend was convinced to come out of retirement, signing for the New York Cosmos in 1975 for three more seasons.

Pelé played his last professional game just months before joining the North American Soccer League (NASL) team, hanging up his boots after making 638 appearances for his boyhood club Santos.

It was almost inconceivable that Pele would ever play for a club other than Santos, but he joined the Cosmos midway through the 1975 season. A $1.67-million-a-year contract, though Soccer was struggling to generate much interest in North America at the time.

Pele came, saw and conquered and in time’oh ree (“The King”) Left in 1977, he was an NASL champion who helped spark a soccer boom.

“During three seasons with the Cosmos, Pele helped change the domestic landscape of the game of soccer,” the Cosmos said in one. statement After his death this week.

“Where once there were baseball diamonds, there were now soccer pitches.

“The Cosmos and their King not only started a sports revolution in America, they also traveled the world to spread the gospel of the beautiful game.”

Even now, nearly 50 years later, Pele’s influence is still being felt in men’s and women’s sports in North America.

His move to the Cosmos paved the way for other greats, such as Giorgio Chinaglia and Franz Beckenbauer, to follow, and although the NASL eventually folded in 1984, it created a blueprint for Major League Soccer (MLS) when It was established in 1993.

Superstars such as David Beckham, Gareth Bale, Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have followed in Pele’s footsteps by playing in MLS and helping to grow the game in North America.

Pele opened the door for other superstars to play in America.

US during Qatar 2022 World Cup With the impressive performance of the US men’s national team, soccer is now booming in the US.

Scouts around the world are now looking to North America to discover new talent, with the sport woven into the fabric of society and naturally reaching across generations.

Pele’s natural ability and infectious smile led to most of the opening acts in the 1970s.

CNN’s Don Riddell spoke to supporters during Qatar 2022 about Pele, an American who said the legend changed his life.

“Watching him was the first professional game I ever saw in 1975 and because of that, this is my 11th World Cup,” Clifton Brummond told CNN.

“Seeing him and his ability motivates me to watch and watch soccer and the World Cup.”

Pele won the NACL trophy after winning the title in his previous season in the US.

The season before Pelé joined Santos in 1975, the Cosmos’ biggest attendance for a match was over 8,000.

During his final and most successful season in 1977, the average crowd for home games was 42,689, including three occasions when attendance exceeded 70,000. Society for American Football History.

Pele was 34 years old when he joined the Cosmos and scored a total of 37 goals in 64 NASL matches.

“Pele’s decision to bring his craft to the United States with the New York Cosmos in the 1970s was a transformative moment for the game in this country,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.

“As Pele captivated fans across the U.S. and Canada, it demonstrated the power of sport and the limitless possibilities for sport.”

Clive Toye, the Cosmos’ first general manager, played a key role in bringing the game’s biggest superstar at the time to the Cosmos.

A former journalist who was heavily involved in the creation of the NASL, Toye had a vision for the future of soccer in America and believed Pele was the man to make that dream a reality.

However, Toye and the Cosmos faced some stiff opposition from around the world for Pele’s signature.

With Pele, heavy political interference was also endured saying Then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger helped convince him to join the cosmos.

“At that time, I had many offers to play in England, Italy, Spain, Mexico but I said no. After 18 years, I want to rest because I’m going to retire,” Pele explained CNN In 2011.

“Then came the proposal to go to New York because they want to make soccer bigger in the United States. That was the reason. I have started my mission.”

Pele attracted new fans to the game during his time in New York.

Suddenly watching soccer was cool.

The matches were broadcast globally and the star-studded Cosmos team was the hottest ticket in town. Comsos and Pele began touring the world.

Former Cosmos player Denis Tuart, who was signed to replace Pele, said, “Wherever we went in the world, in Asia, Australia, Europe, all over the world, Asia, Australia, Europe, he Only Pele wanted,” although he did play a few exhibition matches with the Brazilian star. Sky Sports.

“He had extraordinary vision, extraordinary athleticism […] He was without a doubt, in my eyes, the best. ”

Pele still has a presence in New York City today. The ‘Pelle Soccer’ store opened in 2019 and sits in the iconic Times Square, a location where many fans gathered after the news of his death.

After the Cosmos won the NASL title in 1977, a farewell match was organized against Pele’s former team Santos, with the Brazilian playing one half for both sides in what would be his final official game.

After the testimonial, he addressed more than 70,000 people inside a packed New York Giants Stadium, leading the crowd in chants of “love, love, love.”

A fitting end, perhaps, for a man who spread joy wherever he went and who helped establish soccer as a way of life in North America.

Read original article here

Leave A Reply