In June of 1975, Pelé assisted on one goal and scored another on a header to help lead his New York Cosmos team to a comeback draw against the Dallas Tornado.
U.S. pro soccer’s triumphs and tribulations have been well documented over the years. Much has been made about Pele’s contribution and how he influenced the game’s growth in the 1970′s.
He doesn’t get a lot of credit for where MLS is at now because of the fall of pro soccer in the 1980s. David Beckham kind of took over the contemporary Pelé role.
But all these years later, Pele’s name and reputation still resonates with U.S. pro club soccer.
He still carries weight not just here in the U.S., but all over the world. He built up his brand and credibility with astonishing play and excellent rapport with the press and fans.
Would MLS be where it is today had it not been for Pelé coming here 37 years ago to share his skills and charisma?
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com