Brazilian soccer superstar Pele was discovered by scouts at age 11 and began playing professionally at age 16.
At age 11, Pele was discovered by Waldemar de Brito, one of Brazil's top players. De Brito took him under his wing and trained him in secret. When Pele was 12, de Brito placed him on the local junior club, Baquinho. Pele danced home the day he got his own uniform because finally, he was a real soccer player like his father. "It may not seem such a big deal to some, but to me, it was one of the thrills of my life," Pele later revealed to biographer Joe Marcus. He scored many goals for Baquinho, using both his feet and his head to drive balls into the net. Pele's scoring, dribbling, and passing skills made him the talk of Brazilian junior soccer.
When Pele was 15, de Brito brought him to the directors of Santos, a top club team, and told them, "This boy will be the greatest soccer player in the world." In an exhibition game on September 7, 1956, Pele entered the game in the second half for Santos and within a few minutes scored his first goal as a professional. He began earning about $60 a month playing for Santos.
In his second season, Pele became a starter on the team and started scoring from everywhere on the field. He was the top scorer in the league and became a national hero by scoring three goals in a game pitting the top players from Santos and another Brazilian club against the Belenenses club from Portugal. Late in 1957, Pele was picked for the National Team