Pele elected to Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame

Dec 28, 2019

New York Cosmos superstar Pele will add yet another honor to his long list of accomplishments next year.

The Brazilian standout has been elected into the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame.

Pele, who performed three seasons for the Cosmos in the North American Soccer League from 1975-77, sparked a soccer boom at the youth level in the United States that is still felt today. That was particularly felt on Long Island as the Long Island Junior Soccer League rapidly grew in size and quality after his signing.

“Too many parents and kids on Long Island currently playing soccer have no idea of the amazingly rich history we have here on Long Island,” LI Soccer Player Hall of Fame founder Kevin L. McCrudden said in a statement. “In fact, most soccer parents and families probably don’t know that the greatest soccer player of all time, Pele played and lived here on Long Island for many years.

“And, while he now spends most of his time in his home country of Brazil, he will be inducted into this year’s Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame Class of 2020. I can barely contain myself. Imagine creating something, like the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame and having the opportunity to induct the greatest player in the history of the game. Today, is a banner day.”

Considered by many to be the greatest soccer player to ever play the game, Pele is the only three-time FIFA World Cup champion, having won the coveted trophy and championship in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

With the Cosmos, Pele helped fill the net and excited crowds not only at Giants Stadium, but throughout the league as well, boosting awareness about the sport and crowds at all stadiums in which he played.

During his three-year tenure with the Cosmos, the Black Pearl scored 31 times in 58 regular season games.

In his final competitive match with the Cosmos, Pele emerged as a champion one last time as New York defeated the Seattle Sounders, 2-1, in Portland, Ore. to win the 1977 Soccer Bowl.

He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1993.

Joining Pele in the Hall will be several players who became standouts in the LIJSL after he retired from the game. That included St. John’s University standout Chris Wingert, who performed for the Cosmos in the 2018 National Premier Soccer League season, former Long Island Rough Riders and NY/NJ MetroStars goalkeeper Paul Grafer, ex-Rough Rider Gary Sullivan, one-time college standout and U.S. women's national team member Mary Frances Monroe, sisters Tina and Vicky DiMartino, former youth and national team players.

Pele and the Class of 2020 will be inducted into the Hall at the Huntington Hilton in Melville, N.Y. on Saturday, March 7. More details will be released in the new year.

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