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Who Is Pele?
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Who Is Pele?
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The story of how a poor boy from Brazil became the greatest soccer player of all time and one of the most important athletes of the twentieth century!His parents may have named him Edson Arantes do...
The story of how a poor boy from Brazil became the greatest soccer player of all time and one of the most important athletes of the twentieth century!His parents may have named him Edson Arantes do...
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  • The story of how a poor boy from Brazil became the greatest soccer player of all time and one of the most important athletes of the twentieth century!
    His parents may have named him Edson Arantes do Nascimento, but to the rest of the world, he is known as Pelé. The now-retired professional soccer forward stunned Brazil when he began playing for the Santos soccer club at age fifteen. He then went on to captivate the world when he joined his country's national soccer team and helped them win three World Cup championships. Although he's hailed as a national hero for his accomplishments in soccer, Pelé has been an influential person both on and off the pitch. His work with organizations like UNICEF has helped improve conditions for children around the world. Young readers can learn more about the man who connected soccer with the phrase "The Beautiful Game."

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  • From the book Who Is Pelé?


    In the summer of 1956, Pelé was homesick.

    Pelé (say: PEH-lay) had arrived in the city of Santos, Brazil, just weeks earlier. He had grown up in Bauru, a tiny town to the west, but his incredible skills on the soccer field got him noticed by a team called Santos. He was only fifteen, and moving to the city had been a major decision for Pelé.

    Without soccer, he might still be shining shoes or working in a field. Most of his friends on his hometown team could never dream of leaving Bauru. Now, on the Santos team, Pelé would earn enough money to support his family. And he could make his dream of becoming a soccer star come true.

    At just over five feet tall, Pelé was small for his age. He was an amazing player who could dribble well, and he was very quick. On his new team, though, he was playing against older, larger adults. He was worried he would not succeed. He was also living away from home for the first time. And Santos was a strange place. Then he missed an easy penalty shot during a game that cost his team a victory. He was embarrassed and sad. Pelé had had enough of life in the big city. That's it, he thought, I'm quitting.

    Early in the morning, he packed his bag and tiptoed out of his room. He had just enough money for a bus ticket back to Bauru. But as he walked quietly through the players' dormitory, he was stopped by a man who worked for the team. Big Sabu helped the players with their gear and watched over the young players. In his many years with Santos, he had seen other teens like Pelé. They were young, scared, and often thought of quitting. So Big Sabu stopped Pelé and told him he could not leave without permission. He wanted to keep Pelé on team Santos. Pelé listened and made an important decision. He headed back to his room. He would keep aiming for his dream.

    And it turned out to be the right decision. Pelé had arrived at Santos as a very good player, but that was not enough. Pelé worked hard and soon learned to do more than just dribble. He worked on shooting and passing and being in the right position to help his teammates. He ate more, exercised, and grew stronger and more confident.

    In a few months, he was one of the team's stars, scoring goal after goal. With Pelé's help, Santos became one of the top teams in the country. When Pelé was only seventeen, he was named to the national team for Brazil and helped his country win its first World Cup championship!

    In the years that followed, Pelé became the best, and most famous, soccer player in the world. He helped Brazil win three World Cup titles and scored more than 1,200 goals for his teams and his country. He also traveled to the United States in 1975 and helped the sport of soccer become popular among Americans. As the best player in the world's favorite sport, Pelé became an ambassador for soccer and a symbol for the sport itself.


    Chapter 1: The Boy Who Loved Soccer


    Edson Arantes do Nascimento was born on October 23, 1940, in the tiny village of Três Corações (say: TRACE kor-ah-SOYS), Brazil. Even in 1940, there were many parts of the world that did not have electricity. Most of southeastern Brazil was one of those areas. In honor of their village finally getting electricity, Edson's parents named their first son after the American inventor Thomas Edison.

    Edson's father was named João Ramos but went by the nickname Dondinho. Most Brazilian men are known by a nickname. He was a soccer player for the...

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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