Caption: U.S. President Bill Clinton with Pele in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 15, 1997

Soccer has become a popular sport in the United States. Today, many children play on soccer teams. Some start playing as early as three years old. Others play on school teams. Some play on college teams. A few play professionally. Today, future soccer players look up to Marta or Alex Morgan. They look up to David Beckham or Lionel Messi. Years ago, one soccer player helped to bring the sport to the U.S. He is known as Pele.

Pele was born on October 23, 1940. His real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento. He was given the nickname Pele when he was in school. He did not like his nickname. He even got into a fight because of it. Pele complained about his name all the time. The more he complained, the more it was used. Then everyone began using it. It stuck.

Pele was born in Brazil. Brazil is a country in South America. He learned to play soccer at an early age. His father was a professional soccer player. He taught Pele how to play. His family was poor. He could not afford a soccer ball. He often used a sock as a ball. It was stuffed with newspaper. He sometimes used a grapefruit.

Pele played on a team with his friends. When he was eleven years old, a famous soccer player saw him play. He took him to the city. Pele played for owners of a professional team. They said, "This boy will be the greatest soccer player in world." They were right.

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