Charlie Mitchell played an important part of Pelé’s bicycle kick goal. (Photo courtesy of the Rochester Lancers)

Many people remember Pelé’s bicycle kick goal for the Cosmos in 1976.

Did you know that former Rochester Lancers standout left back Charlie Mitchell played a major role in the goal?

Below is an excerpt from the recently published SPORT magazine entitled Remembering Pelé 1940-2022. editor Michael Lewis wrote the chapter detailing the Black Pearl’s years with the Cosmos (1975-77).

The excerpt:

In an 8-2 home rout of the Miami Toros on Aug. 10, [Giorgio] Chinaglia (five goals, two assists) set a league scoring record with 12 points in a match.

Lost in the onslaught was a spectacular Pelé bicycle kick in the 38th minute. Right back Charlie Mitchell, who played n the left side for most of his career, stopped a left-wing cross from going out of bounds and sent the ball to the other side of the box to the Brazilian. With his back to the net, Pelé timed his leap and deftly placed his right-footed shot from 14 yards past goalkeeper Van Taylor.

“I was flabbergasted,” Mitchell said. “Everybody just went crazy, and he just ran down the center of the field and waved at everybody. He was so he was elated. To do it at his age … It was just spectacular.

“How the hell did I end up being the guy who crossed the ball for Pelé and a world-known player? I feel very fortunate just to be somewhat involved.”

While Pelé was known for his bicycle kicks – perhaps it was because of the one he scored in the movie “Victory (which was shown in slow-motion and from various angles)- he admitted he transformed four or five of those attempts into goals during his 22-year career.

Toros defender Tommy Mulroy, the youngest player in the league at 19, called it the “greatest play I have ever seen.”

Mulroy, who marked Pelé, was schooled in several ways.

“I feel I learned a lot about what to do without the ball,” he told the Kingston Daily Freeman. “Pelé’s more dangerous without the ball than with it.”

After the final whistle, Pelé peeled off his shirt sweat-drenched and handed it to Mulroy, who called it “my most prized possession.”

Mitchell and Mulroy have a Pelé’ jersey.

The 96-page magazine can be purchased for $14.99.

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