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The New Haven Register sports department is celebrating our 200th birthday by sharing 200 of the most interesting stories relating to sports in Greater New Haven over the past 200 years. Check back daily for historical updates.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pele at Yale Bowl, 1977

Associated Press, Register File Photo,

Selling the sport of soccer to Americans has been an ongoing project for over a century. But in the 1970s, thanks to the North American Soccer League and more specifically the New York Cosmos, soccer came within a whisker of becoming mainstream in the U.S.

The Cosmos signed Brazilian superstar Pele in 1975. Widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time, he was well past his prime. Still, Pele’s very presence spurred a soccer frenzy.

In 1977, a struggling NASL franchise moved from Hartford to spend the season at Yale Bowl. Renamed the Connecticut Bicentennials, the franchise opened the season with a much-hyped game against the Cosmos and Pele, who at 36 was playing his final season of competitive soccer.
Read Chip Malafronte's complete story

Read more about the Connecticut Bicentennials at the FunWhileItLasted blog

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