7.13.2007

Pelé Returns to NY to Promote Reading (and Fútbol)

Edson Arantes do Nascimento Pelé, or simply Pelé, the King, rang the opening opening bell at Nasdaq in New York's Times Square on Wednesday July 11, 2007.

Pelé was in town to kick-off Fútbol Mundial's children's LEA literacy program, a program to encourage children to read first and then play.

“There were 200,000 people there to see me score my 1,000th goal, but I said that they should give as much attention to school, education, the kids,” Pelé said. “They didn’t understand my message then and now look at Brazil — you see violence, corruption. In Brazil since then, two generations did not get my message and did not get an education. So my message to the youth of America is that there is a time to play and a time to read.”
While playing for the Brazilian national team in World Cup competitions in the 1960's, Pelé electrified the soccer world with his speed, acrobatics and sheer magic. Pelé came out of retirement to jump start U.S. professional soccer. In 1977 he led the New York Cosmos to the U.S. championship.

Pelé, now 66, is coach of the Brazilian team which just made it into the finals of the Copa América, the soccer tournament of the Americas being held in Venezuela. Brazil faces off against favorite Argentina on Saturday, July 14.

The following is a short video produced Fútbol Mundial for the special occasion.

Also see Pelé Talks Brazil, U.S. and David ‘Beckman’ (by Jack Bell, NYTimes/GOAL Blog 7-11.07)

Pelé (by Henry Kissenger, TIME100: The Most Important People of the Century - 6.14.99)