The New York Cosmos, led by the incomparable Pele, were the most famous soccer team in the world in the 1970s.
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New York Cosmos
The New York Cosmos was a soccer team that played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) from 1971 to 1985. The team was founded by Warner Communications executive Steve Ross and former model Edgardo Bauza. The team was named after the successful New York Cosmos of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The team’s history
The New York Cosmos was an American professional soccer club based in New York City and its suburbs. The team played home games in three stadiums around New York, including Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, and Randalls Island Stadium. The team competed in the North American Soccer League (NASL) from 1971 to 1984.
The Cosmos was founded in December 1970 by Ahmet Ertegun, a co-founder and principal owner of Atlantic Records, and his brother Nesuhi. They were later joined by Steve Ross, who became the team’s chairman in 1972. Pele signed with the Cosmos in 1975, which helped spur a period of international stars joining the team, including Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto. The team won three consecutive NASL championships between 1977 and 1979, culminating in a victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps in the 1979 Soccer Bowl.
The team’s star player
The New York Cosmos was a professional soccer team that played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) from 1971 to 1985. The team was based in New York City, and its home games were played at Downing Stadium on Randalls Island. The team was founded in December 1970 by Warner Communications executive Warner Hesseldahl and former Juventus executive Clive Toye.
The team’s star player was Brazilian striker Pelé, who retired from Santos in 1974 and joined the Cosmos the following year. He helped lead the team to NASL titles in 1977 and 1978. Other notable players on the Cosmos included German midfielder Franz Beckenbauer, American forward Giorgio Chinaglia, and English defender Trevor Francis.
The Cosmos drew large crowds to their home games, and their matches were televised on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. The team’s success helped spur the growth of soccer in the United States during the 1970s. However, the NASL collapsed in 1984, and the Cosmos ceased operations the following year.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as “Pele,” is a retired Brazilian soccer player who is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time. He is the only player to have won three FIFA World Cups: 1958, 1962, and 1970. Pele has also been named FIFA Player of the Century and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1997.
His early life and career
Pele was born on October 23, 1940 in Tres Coracoes, Brazil. His given name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, but he has always been known simply as “Pele.” One of the greatest soccer players of all time, Pele is one of the few men to have been a member of three World Cup winning teams. He is also the only player to have scored more than 1000 career goals.
Pele began playing competitive soccer as a teenager, and by the time he was just 17 years old he was already a member of the Brazilian national team. He played in his first World Cup in 1958, helping Brazil reach the semifinals before they were defeated by eventual champions France. In 1960, Pele won his first professional title when his club team Santos won the Campeonato Paulista championship.
The following year, Pele scored an incredible 127 goals in just 58 games for Santos. He also led Brazil to victory in the 1962 World Cup, scoring two goals in the final match against Czechoslovakia. Afterward, he was hailed as a national hero and given the nickname “O Rei” (“The King”).
Pele continued to dominate the sport throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He helped lead Santos to victory in two more Campeonato Paulista championships (in 1963 and 1964) and also won back-to-back Copa Libertadores titles in 1962 and 1963. In 1970, he finally had a chance to lift the World Cup trophy again when Brazil hosted and won the tournament on home soil. Four years later, Pele scored his landmark 1000th career goal and then announced his retirement from competitive soccer shortly thereafter.
His years with the New York Cosmos
Pele joined the New York Cosmos in 1975, at the age of 36. He was the league’s first big-name signing, and his arrival helped legitimize the fledgling league in the eyes of many soccer fans. Pele played with the Cosmos for four seasons, scoring 37 goals in 118 appearances. He helped lead the team to victory in the 1977 Soccer Bowl, scoring the tying goal in a 2-1 come-from-behind win over the Seattle Sounders. Pele retired from professional soccer after the1977 season, but made two more appearances with the Cosmos in exhibition games in 1978 and 1979.
His impact on the game of soccer
When he arrived in the United States in 1975, few knew who Pele was. A global superstar, he had spent the previous 17 years lighting up the soccer pitches of Brazil and leading his country to three World Cup titles. In his first season with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League (NASL), he helped the team to a championship and set league records for goals and assists. Over the next two years, he continued to wow American soccer fans with his exceptional skills on the field. In 1977, he was named NASL Most Valuable Player and led the Cosmos to their second consecutive title.
Pele’s impact on soccer in America was huge. His arrival coincided with the NASL’s attempt to grow the game in the United States, and his presence helped bring unprecedented attention to soccer. Thanks in part to Pele, soccer began to gain a foothold in a country where it had long been overshadowed by other sports. He retired from soccer in 1977, but his legacy continues to this day. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and has been an inspiration to generations of soccer players around the world.