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S o c c e r L e gend
by Janet Woodward

3 ©Getty Images; 4–7 Vasja Koman ©Harcourt Education Australia; 8–11 ©Getty Images;
12 ©CESAR FERRARI/Reuters/Picture Media; 13–14 ©Getty Images

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ISBN 10: 0-15-351414-0

ISBN 13: 978-0-15-351414-2

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ISBN 10: 0-15-351212-1 (Grade 2 Advanced Collection)
ISBN 13: 978-0-15-351212-4 (Grade 2 Advanced Collection)
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ISBN 13: 978-0-15-358049-9 (package of 5)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 050 15 14 13 12 11 10 09 08 07 06
Soccer legend Pelé is from Brazil, a
country in South America. There were
three children in his family. They lived
with his parents, his grandmother, and
his mom’s brother.

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The family was poor. This didn’t
stop Pelé from making his dream come
true. He wanted to be a top soccer
player, and he was.

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As a child, Pelé helped his uncle
sell wood. Pelé also sold peanuts and
shined shoes to make money. When he
wasn’t working, Pelé would play soccer
with his neighbors. He was a wonderful

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The neighborhood children played
in bare feet. They didn’t always have
a soccer ball. Sometimes they had to
use a can, a grapefruit, a coconut, or
rolled up socks. This didn’t matter to
Pelé though. He said, “Everything
is practice.”

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Pelé’s father helped Pelé learn to
play soccer. His dad had been a good
soccer player. He had to give it up
because of a knee problem. Like his
dad, Pelé learned to knock the ball
into the goal with his head.

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Pelé (the third player from the left) with the
Brazilian National soccer team in 1958

At eighteen, Pelé joined the army

in Brazil for one year. He began playing
soccer for an army team. Then he
played for Brazil’s national team.

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The World Cup is the biggest prize
in soccer. Pelé is still the only person
who has played on three World Cup
winning teams. He helped Brazil to win
in 1958, 1962, and 1970.


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In 1969, people cheered when Pelé
scored goal number 1,000 of his soccer
career. This made him the player to
score the most goals ever in soccer.
Even today, no player has caught up
with him.


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Pelé has used his success to help
other people. He has asked people
to pay attention to the children of
the world. He has helped raise a lot
of money.


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Today Pelé continues to raise
money and help other people. He is
Minister of Sports in Brazil. He helps
soccer players and teams all over
the country.


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Pelé never gave up. His family
didn’t have much money, but he never
lost sight of his dream. He always tried
his best. That’s what made him one of
the world’s greatest soccer players.


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Think Critically
1. What country is Pelé from?
2. How can you tell that this book is nonfiction?
3. How can you tell that Pelé is caring?
4. Did you think Pelé would become famous? Why?
5. How does this book about Pelé make you feel?

Social Studies
Make a Time Line Using the information from the book, make
a time line of Pelé’s soccer career.

School-Home Connection Tell a family member

about the book. Talk about a time when someone
helped you learn something new.

Word Count: 423


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