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Why Soccer Matters

“I know in my heart that soccer was good to me, and great to the world….I saw, time and again, how the sport improved countless millions of lives, both on and off the field. For me, at least, that’s why soccer matters.”

The world’s most popular sport goes by many names—soccer, football, the beautiful game—but fans have always agreed on one thing: The greatest player of all time was Pelé. Before Messi, before Ronaldo, before Beckham, Pelé had a stunning twenty-year career, where he was heralded as an international treasure. His accomplishments on the field proved to be pure magic: an unprecedented three World Cup championships and the all-time scoring record, with 1,283 goals. Since retiring, he has traveled the world as soccer’s global ambassador, relentlessly promoting the positive ways soccer can transform young men and women, struggling communities, even entire nations.

Now, for the first time and with unparalleled openness, Pelé shares his most inspiring experiences, heartwarming stories, and hard-won wisdom. This is Pelé’s legacy, his way of passing on everything he’s learned and inspiring a new generation. In Why Soccer Matters, Pelé details his ambitious goals for the future of the sport and, by extension, the world.

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