When you talk about the greatest footballers of all time, the conversation usually starts (and ends) with one name: Pelé.
The Brazillian futebol superstar turned pro in 1956 when he joined the club team Santos at the age of 15. He played for Santos until 1974, guiding the team to back-to-back Copa Libertadores championships in 1962 and 1963 and notched a Santos-record 619 goals in 638 games. His play for Santos made him a national hero — his play on the international stage made him a legend. Pelé joined Brazil's national team at 16 and led Brazil to three World Cup titles, in 1958, 1962, and 1970. He's the only player to win three World Cups, and he ranks fifth all-time with 12 goals.
Pelé talks about all that — and a lot more — in his new book, Why Soccer Matters. Back in April, he stopped by the Time & Life Building in New York to talk about the book, his career, and the 2014 World Cup. SI Kids caught up with him while he was in the building and were lucky enough to get a few minutes to ask O Rei do Futebol some questions.
The 2014 World Cup finally begins today, and we’re super excited! The only game on the first day of the schedule pits host country Brazil against Croatia. But after that, there’s a lot of football to watch. So we’re making it easy on you by picking the five matches we think you should definitely watch during the first week of play.
Check out SI Kids’ World Cup Viewing Guide below, and check back Monday (and every Monday) for a new lineup of games we'll be watching — and you should, too!
OK, so, yeah, this is just one long ad for Nike Football. But the company's animated short The Last Game is really, really cool.
Here's the set-up: An evil corporation called Perfect Inc. has figured out a way to take all the risk — and all the fun — out of soccer by outfitting an army of clones with special clothing to give them perfect football abilities. But when the game is perfected, all the big-name players are left without a job. Worst of all, soccer becomes boring!
So the best footballers in the world — Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Neymar Júnior, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Andrés Iniesta, David Luiz, Franck Ribéry, Tim Howard and Ronaldo Fenomeno — join forces to take the game back. And it all comes down to a winner-take-all match in Brazil, the site of the 2014 World Cup.
Basically, it's the soccer version of Avengers. And it's pretty great. Here's the full video:
After returning home to play in MLS, Michael Bradley is ready to lead the U.S. at the World Cup
During the final weeks of the 2010 World Cup, a painting titled American Dream hung at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. It depicted the celebration after the United States scored a late goal to secure a crucial 2–2 tie against Slovenia. The artist captured players and staff celebrating with a massive pileup. But the man who scored the goal, Michael Bradley, was nowhere to be found in the painting. He surely would be just fine with that, though. He was at the center of the pile.
The 2014 World Cup begins in a week, but in the world of Disney the tournament has already begun. In the new animated short O Futebol Classico, Mickey Mouse heads to Brazil to catch some world-class soccer (not officially the World Cup, but you get the idea). But watching the championship match isn't going to be so easy. Trouble starts as soon as Mickey finds his seat, and he has to think fast to make sure he sees the game.
Here's the opening 35 seconds of O Futebol Classico:
Playing soccer is one of the most popular forms of recreation in the world. But for Federico, it’s much more than that. The 10-year from New York City has some big soccer dreams. He wants to play for AC Milan, a top team in Italy, and also for the Italian national team.
“I’ve been practicing soccer for eight years, and I want to be in the professional leagues,” he says.
Those goals might seem distant, but thanks to Super Soccer Stars he’s learning from people who have lived his dream.
Super Soccer Stars is a nationwide soccer program for kids of all ages. It specializes in personalized attention and quality instruction from former professional players, which gives its young athletes the best chance to improve their skills on the pitch.
You would’ve thought it was an actual World Cup game.
More than 26,000 fans packed Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., in the second match in the US Men’s National Team’s Send-Off Series. It was a World Cup warm up for the teams, but for the record crowd this was as close most of them are likely to get to the real thing.
After defeating Azerbaijan in the first game, 2-0, the US took game two, 2-1, on goals from Fabian Johnson in the 26th minute and captain Clint Dempsey in the 52nd minute. (Turkey’s Selcuk Inan added a score on a penalty kick in the 90th minute.)
The win gives the USMNT a 3-1-1 record on the year. But head coach Jurgen Klinsmann warned there’s still work to be done before the US begins tournament play on June 16.
“We need to get more compact, more connected between the players, make it more difficult for the opponents to come through there,” he said. “But overall I think it was a nice game to watch. Wonderful crowd, great support.”
That’s just a bit of an understatement.