Brazilian Soccer Star Pelé Dead at 82

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

By Ethan Russ, Staff Writer

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, commonly known by his nickname Pelé, died on December 29, 2022, in São Paolo, Brazil due to complications from colon cancer.

“O Rei,” as he is called in Brazil, had a very successful soccer career spanning two decades, in which he played for a Brazillian club, Santos FC, and an American club, New York Cosmos. He also played for the Brazillian national team from 1957 to 1971, winning a record three World Cup Championships. He was a very prolific goal-scorer throughout his career, scoring nearly 1,300 goals according to FIFA. There was not much more Pelé could’ve won during his career. His legacy is undeniable and its effects are widespread. He nearly single-handedly created a mass soccer culture and following in America and is widely recognized as one of the main transformers of soccer.

According to freshman soccer player, Tyler Winston, “Pelé’s legacy left an effect on everyone by bringing soccer to the United States, without him a lot of people would not play the game.”

With Pelé playing soccer in America in the late 1970s, culture started to form around the sport. In 1975, when he came to America to play for the New York Cosmos, very few people played soccer, but by the end of his career for the Cosmos, many people not only played soccer but watched the game as well.

Pelé’s death has about as great an impact on the world as his legacy. His passing signifies the end of an era and is a truly devastating occurrence sending shockwaves through the world of not just soccer, but all sports.

Regarding why America and the rest of the world should be in mourning because of Pelé’s death, Wayne Hills teacher, Mr. Hittinger said, “Pelé is one of the all-stars that brought soccer into the limelight in the United States. So I think not only as a unifying worldwide athlete; also for the United States to bring a better awareness to the sport I think is important, and the fact that he had so much talent. I think anybody with that kind of talent would enthrall the masses and it’s sports and competition that unites Americans and unites the world population. I think that he was one of the main soccer stars that attention to soccer to the United States.”

The world is in mourning over the passing of this larger-than-life figure. “The King” has indirectly impacted so many people. Winston said, “The world should be mourning the loss of the King of Soccer because he won three world cups for his country, and for everything that he has done for the sport he has left in effect on soccer forever.”

The tributes that “O Rei” has received since his passing are countless. More than just soccer players, coaches, and analysts, but also politicians, other athletes, and more have weighed in to pay their respects to one of the greatest as well.

Perhaps one of the most compelling tributes was from Brazilian soccer player, Neymar Jr., who said that “before Pelé, ’10’ was just a number” and Pelé “turned football into an art, into entertainment.”

Winston said that a fitting tribute to Pelé would be, “In the 10th minute of the next Santos game the club should have a moment of silence for Pelé. This should be done because his number for the club was number 10 and to show what he has done for the world of soccer.”

Whether it was on the field or off it, this top soccer player and humanitarian had a far-reaching impact on many people all around the world. His high-profile status led many to worship him as if he was a god. His impact on the world as a whole was too great and no tribute will fully and properly suit Pelé.