Written by Jason Kennedy

Pelé is a world-famous football/soccer player from Brazil. Many would say he is the best soccer player of all time. Born in 1940 and playing professionally from the 1950s-1970s, he was part of the Brazilian national team that won three FIFA world cups. Noticeable career soccer accomplishmentsincluded playing in 1,363 soccer matches and scoring 1,284 goals. He finished his career with the United States New York Cosmos playing for one year. He holds a world record for 92 games with scoring 3 or more goals.

Pelé had many popular nicknames during his career such as “Dico” when he was a kid given by his family, “O Rei” (The King), “Perola Negra” (The Black Pearl), and The King Pelé. Pelé got the name he is most known by through accidental mispronunciation of a local soccer player he liked named Bilé. The famous nickname Pelé has been with him since childhood.

Some noteworthy challenging soccer moves that Pelé mastered included the bicycle kick and precision soccer ball juggling. He mastered these moves and kids and adults worldwide have attempted to perform these techniques with as much skill as him.

In addition to his notable soccer career he has been involved with worldwide social causes. Pelé served as a United Nation’s Ambassador for the environment, won the international peace award in 1978, and served as Brazil’s Minister for Sports in the 1990s. He also was a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

As a kid I played soccer for 4 years primarily as a wing (offense) and fullback (defense). 4 years were played for club/recreational teams and 1 year for JV in high school. Like so many kids I looked up to the world-famous Pelé and admired his technical soccer skills and vision for winning. My love for soccer has continued with my family and my son has played recreational soccer for 4 years also. His favorite position in soccer is midfield which plays both offense and defense. He has scored goals in practice games but continues to practice to-try to score his first goal in an official match. I plan to show my son videos of Pelé and give him background on his rise to being a world famous soccer star.


Editors of Britannica “Pelé.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. (February 6, 2020). https://www.britannica.com/biography/Pele-Brazilian-athlete

Unknown “Pelé.” IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0671446/

CNN Editorial Research “Pelé Fast Facts.”CNN. (November 13, 2019). https://www.cnn.com/2015/06/10/world/pele-fast-facts/index.html