Pelé: Youth soccer in US better than Brazil
The Brazilian legend, widely recognised as the greatest football player of all time, says that the best grass-roots football programmes in the world are not in Brazil, but in the US, where he is on tour publicising his new book “Why Soccer Matters”.
In an interview with the LA Times Pelé fired a warning to his fellow Brazilians.
“People should be careful,” said the 73-year-old.
“I think here in the United States today, they play more soccer than they play in Brazil.”
“It’s important the American kids know that. We don’t have the same support they have in college, university.”
“Soccer is becoming very, very big in the United States. The base, with the kids, is more organised than Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay. No doubt.”
US Youth Soccer say that more than 3 million kids are registered with US Youth Soccer-affiliated teams. That figure doesn’t even include the millions more who are playing in high school, college and other programmes.
Pelé also singled-out the women’s game in the US for praise.
“In the base, in the college, in the women, you already passed Brazil. The women in the United States play better than Brazil,” he completed.