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In 1975, Pelé began to play in the United States. After then, everything changed.

Bill Saporito: Pelé made his U.S. debut in 1975; soccer was still considered a “foreign” sport at the time. Today, pro soccer is thriving; franchises that were practically given away now fetch millions. We can’t credit Pelé with all of that, but we can applaud him for being its salesman. Pelé’s New York Cosmos were a prototype of sorts for today’s glamour teams such as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. The team was founded and run by Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun, Turkish-born, soccer-mad brothers.