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Pele at the New York Cosmos: Five things to know

Pele arrived in America in 1975.

On June 10, 1975, the New York Cosmos announced Pele was joining the club. Widely considered the greatest soccer player of all time, he led Brazil to three World Cup titles -- the first in 1958 when he was 17-years-old -- and for Brazilian club Santos he scored 1,091 goals, leading them to 21 titles.

Here are five things to know about Pele's time in the North American Soccer League.

1. Pele signed a three-year $2.8 million contract, making him the highest paid athlete in the world.

2. The forward was 34-years-old and had not played soccer competitively for eight months when he joined the team. He scored 37 goals and registered 30 assists in three years, winning the 1976 NASL MVP and leading the team to the 1977 Soccer Bowl title.

3. He made his debut for the club on June 15, 1975 vs. the Dallas Tornado at Downing Stadium in New York. He netted one goal and picked up one assist in the 2-2 draw. His career ended on October 1, 1977 against his former club, Santos, in front of a sold-out Giants Stadium.

4. Ten million people tuned in to watch CBS' live broadcast of Pele's debut match -- a record American TV audience for soccer. The Cosmos' home attendance tripled in just half the season Pele was there. By the time he retired in 1977, average attendance for the league had almost doubled from 7,642 to 13,558.

5. The Cosmos set several attendance records during Pele's three years with the club.

April 9, 1976: 58,128 (NASL)
June 9, 1977: 62,394 (U.S. Soccer)
August 14, 1977: 77,691 (North America)

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