The legendary superstar of Brazilian soccer, Pele (Edson Arantes Do Nascimento in real life) grew up in poverty in Bauru, Sao Paolo, Brazil. His father, Dondinho, a respected soccer player himself, taught Pele his first soccer lessons. Pele earned money working in tea shops, shined shoes or ran errands. Unable to afford proper soccer gear, Pele would usually practice soccer using socks stuffed with newspapers. He sometimes even used grapefruits. At age 11, while playing for a local minor-league club, Pele was discovered by Waldemar de Brito, one of Brazil's premier players at that time, who declared, "This boy will be the greatest soccer player in the world." And he was right. From his first professional appearance where he scored a goal almost immediately, Pele went on to score a career-high 1,280 goals in 1,360 games. Amid offers from European clubs, Brazil declared Pele a national treasure to prevent Pele from being transferred to another country.
In 1978, Pele was awarded the International Peace Award for promoting peace and goodwill during his 22 years playing soccer. In 1980, the legendary Pele was named Athlete of the Century. He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1993.
From obscurity to immortality, from practicing with grapefruit to electrifying soccer fans the world over, from shining shoes to National Treasure, Pele inspires us to persevere inspite of adversity and to be passionate with our careers for us to reach our goals.