Saturday, June 15, 2013

15 June 1975 - If He Can Make It There, He Can Make It Anywhere

On 15 June 1975, Pelé debuted for the New York Cosmos, scoring one goal and assisting another in a 2-2 draw with the Dallas Tornado.

The Brazilian superstar had just retired from Santos the previous year, ending his 19-year official tenure with the club that had been his only professional home (though he continued to play for them on an occasional basis). The move opened the door for the Cosmos, who had long been pursuing him in an attempt to raise interest in the eight-year old North American Soccer League, and finally tempted him with a three-year deal worth $2.8 million.

His debut came at New York's Randall Island ground, which was unprepared for the attention. When CBS announced that they would broadcast the game, the club spray-painted the dirt patches green so they would not show up on television. But Pelé delivered, scoring with an assist from Mordechai Shpigler, then returning the favor as Shpigler added a second to earn the 2-2 draw.

The Cosmos ended the season with a disappointing record of 10 wins and 12 losses and missed the playoffs, but eventually won the title (their second overall) in 1977, Pelé's last season.


  1. That pitch is awful, even for 70's. But what was the keeper doing on that 2nd Dallas goal?

  2. I think that was Sam Nusum, who was one of the team's less-distinguished keepers. Still, while it was a poor effort, I give him a bit of a break because of the deflection.

  3. I was fascinated with NASL in late 70's as so many English players went there. It was so difficult to get any information over here, though. My Dad once bought me back a book from a trip to Washington, I was engrossed in all the facts & figures stuff - being a bit of a statto.

  4. If you haven't read it already, I highly recommend Once in a Lifetime, both the book and movie, about the Cosmos and the NASL. Fascinating stuff.