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“Soccer, Sorry Football!”: Pele Once Openly Took Credit for US National Team’s Success

Published 12/30/2022, 11:30 AM EST
It is safe to say that without Pele, soccer may not be the global powerhouse it is today. The Brazilian legend has inspired multiple generations of athletes and played a pivotal role in making the sport the international sensation it is today. In fact, he was so instrumental in popularizing the sport in the United States that he once claimed credit for the US national team’s success.
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While Pele is most well-known for his accomplishments on the soccer field. He was also considered a national treasure in Brazil. Due to this, Pele wasn’t allowed to play for any other club in any other country. This is due in large part to the three World Cups he won during his career.
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However, In the later stages of his career, Pele ventured to the United States. He played for the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League (NASL). And his presence helped the league garner massive attention. The NASL was the first professional soccer league in the US, and it featured several other foreign stars like George Best, Franz Beckenbauer, and Johan Cruyff.
Pele’s credit for US National Team’s success
Pele was proud of the impact he made on the US soccer scene. Pele made some bold statements In 2015. “In the beginning, we worked hard to promote soccer—sorry, football!—in the United States, and we had a lot of good players. It was excellent promotion because we had some excellent players—Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto, George Best, Pele. So there was a big boom.” Pele said.
RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2006. MOVIE TITLE: Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos. STUDIO: Passion Pictures. PLOT: The rise and fall of the N.Y. Cosmos. The soccer team that brought Pele to America; against the backdrop of N.Y. City in the 70 s. PICTURED: PELE. PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY – ZUMAg90_ 20060707_clg_g90_001
He further added- “So I think today, soccer in the United States is the reality [of what we started]. They have a good team, and they did well in the World Cup in Japan and South Korea, and in Brazil, and I hope they will continue to progress.”
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Pele has passed away
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Sadly, the three-time World Cup winner passed away on December 29th at the age of 82, after a battle with cancer. During his illustrious career, Pele scored an incredible 1,283 goals. And is the only player to have won three World Cups. Pelé’s passing is a huge loss to the world of football. He was a true pioneer of the game, and his legacy will live on forever.
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While some may view Pele’s claims as arrogant, there is no denying that he has had a significant impact on the sport of soccer. His influence can still be felt today, and there is no doubt that he played a role in making the sport the global phenomenon it is today.
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