Hong Kong soccer fans will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet the legendary Pelé when he arrives in town next week on a goodwill visit as part of the 2011 New York Cosmos Asia Tour.
Pele played for the legendary New York Cosmos from 1975-77 and took the club to worldwide success, transforming the soccer landscape in America in a way that is still remembered by fans today – all over the globe.
The Brazilian icon – widely recognised as the game’s all-time greatest player – will be overseeing a coaching clinic for kids, giving inspirational talks and meeting business leaders as Honorary President of the newly revived New York Cosmos.
In his role with the Cosmos, he will help re-establish the club and carry on its tradition of greatness for the next generation of young athletes as well as help the Cosmos prepare for their return as a professional team.
“I know Hong Kong fans are hugely interested in soccer and I’m looking forward to meeting them and sharing their passion for the beautiful game,” said the three-time World Cup winner.
“I’m especially relishing the chance to work with aspiring young players and hopefully pass on some knowledge about what it takes to achieve your goals, whether in soccer or in life.”
Pelé, together with senior New York Cosmos executives Paul Kemsley (Chairman) and Terry Byrne (Vice Chairman), will arrive in Hong Kong on Sunday (6 March) for three nights after first stopping in Singapore.
A highlight of his visit will come on Tuesday when he addresses a VIP lunch organised by the American Chamber of Commerce at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel in Wanchai.
Pelé will share the rebirth and rebuilding of the Cosmos with an exclusive audience of business leaders and media, while also discussing the impact of sports on education and philanthropy.
He will then visit Hong Kong Football Club to motivate and inspire young players involved in soccer across the local and expatriate community – in addition to meeting the HKFC Crusaders, a programme for players with special needs that is backed by Prudential.
After his final career match on 1 October 1977, in a speech given to more than 75,000 fans, Pele urged his audience to pay attention to the youth of the world. Today, as global ambassador for the game, he reinforces that message to fans and kids during his Hong Kong visit.
The 2011 New York Cosmos Asia Tour is aimed at spreading goodwill through sport, developing young talent and building global partnerships.
“We are seeing in both Singapore and Hong Kong a significant commitment by organisations and individuals of many levels to develop young talent and the future of the sport,” said Kemsley. “This is very complementary to the mission of the New York Cosmos.
“We are excited to visit Asia to meet fans, players, partners, leaders and dignitaries – and to let everyone know that the New York Cosmos are back. We will continue to integrate Asia in all that we do, and look forward to returning to the region in the very near future.”
In addition to Pele, the New York Cosmos have also appointed Manchester United Player of the Century Eric Cantona as Director of Soccer and US soccer legend Cobi Jones as Associate Director of Soccer and Ambassador.
Currently the club operates a Cosmos Academy in both New York and Los Angeles featuring the US’s elite youth talent, it owns the CosmosCopa grassroots tournament that is entering its third year, and will be hosting a 40th Anniversary Celebration Match this summer featuring players from around the world invited by Pele to participate in an all-star competition.
The club’s ultimate vision is to field a professional team at the highest level in the United States, bringing championships back to New York City.
About the New York Cosmos
Under new passionate ownership led by Chairman Paul Kemsley, the New York Cosmos (newyorkcosmos.com) continue their tradition of greatness for the next generation and vow to maintain the same ethos that made them the most celebrated soccer club in the history of the United States. During their existence from 1971-1985, the Cosmos won five championships in the NASL (North American Soccer League). Today, as part of their rebirth and with global soccer legend and former Cosmos star Pelé as Honorary President, the New York Cosmos will continue to inspire and develop world-class players and are committed to helping improve the future of the sport in the United States with significant investment in grassroots and youth soccer. The club will tour the globe for two years, prior to fulfilling its ultimate vision of fielding a professional team to compete at the highest level and bringing championships back to New York City.
Media contact: Theresa Tran / Director of Communications / ttt[.]newyorkcosmos.com.