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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Pele's last championship is one to die for
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Aug. 28, 1977

In Pele's last National American Soccer League game, the Brazilian superstar doesn't score on any of his seven shots. However, his New York Cosmos win the league championship by defeating the Seattle Sounders, 2-1, in Portland before 35,548 fans, a record crowd for an NASL title game.

After the game, Pele gives his shirt to 20-year-old Jim McAlister of Seattle, who had asked for it two days ago. "He is a good young American player," says Pele, who will go on a long world-wide tour with the Cosmos. "I said to him, 'Here, I promise you.' "

In the Cosmos' locker room, captain Werner Roth says, "Pele is No. 1 and now we are No. 1 along with him."

Shouts of "Pele, Pele, Pele" ring through the room. Pele, who was lured to the U.S. by a $2.8-million contract three years ago, acknowledges the feeling of his final championship by saying, "God has been kind to me. Now I can die."

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