Pele Biography (1940- )

Pele, professional player. Born Edson Arantes de Nascimento on October 23, 1940, in Tres Coracoes, Brazil. Although he was poor, Pelé grew up to be an international sports superstar. Throughout his childhood, he played whenever and wherever he could, sometimes using a stuffed sock for a ball. He joined his first team at the age of 12.

Pelé started playing professional soccer while in his teens. In 1958, he helped Brazil win its first World Cup victory. His performance in the finals, including scoring two goals, made him an international sensation. He also played for the professional Brazilian team Santos from 1956 to 1974 and scored more than 1,000 goals during his time with the club. He retired from Santos in 1974, but was lured back to the game with an offer from a team in the United States the next year. He joined the New York Cosmos, a part of the North American Soccer League. As a member of the Cosmos, Pelé became a household name in the United States and fans flocked to see him play.

Retiring for the second time after the 1977 season, Pelé has pursued his own business opportunities, such as a coffee company and a sports and marketing firm. Along with his ventures, he has served as a spokesman for numerous international companies. Pelé does a lot of charity work, especially for children’s organizations.

In 2007, Pelé shared his experiences with fans in My Life and the Beautiful Game: The Autobiography of  Soccer’s Greatest Star. He continues to speak out about the game so close to his heart. In 2009, Pelé recommended that salary caps be instituted for soccer teams worldwide. He is also a delegate for his native country’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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