What is on Today's Google Homepage? Arthur Friedenreich's 131st Birthday

Google Doodle Celebrates - Arthur Friedenreich's 131st Birthday | 18-July

Google Doodle Celebrates - Arthur Friedenreich's 131st Birthday | 18-July

Today's Doodle honors Arthur Friedenreich, who was the first Black person to play professional soccer in Brazil. On this day in 1892, his parents, a German immigrant father and an Afro-Brazilian mother, gave birth to him in So Paulo.

Friedenreich was born in Brazil just four years after slavery ended there. At that time, only White people could play football. His White father, who knew someone in a soccer club for German refugees, was the only reason he was able to play. Friedenreich played his first football game for SC Germania when he was 17. His quick dribbling impressed the crowds right away. Once he had proven himself as a good player, he was able to switch football teams and get better at each one. In just four seasons, he scored 16 goals and was the top scorer in the So Paulo league. He went on to be the top scorer in the Liga Paulista seven more times. 

In 1914, he joined the Seleco, which is the Brazilian National Team. Friedenreich lost his two front teeth in his first game after a hard slide hit. He finished the game anyway, which earned him the nickname "El Tigre" for his fighting spirit, determination, and speed. In the years that followed, he played 23 games for his country and became the first person to score a hat-trick (three goals in one game) at the Copa América.

Even though he had shown many times that he was good at football, he had to fix his hair and powder his skin before games to make himself look more European. But his usual ways of making his skin lighter weren't good enough for Argentina. They said that only White players could play in the 1921 Copa América. Even though Friedenreich was good at shooting, the Brazilian president stuck to this rule and left him off the team. Many people think that this event was a turning point that made them think about the role of racism in sports. 

Friedenreich is known for scoring what is thought to be 1,329 goals by the time he was 43 and retired. However, scores weren't kept very carefully when he was playing. There are still arguments about the exact number, but if he scored 1,329 goals, he would be the player with the most goals in the history of football.  Any way you look at it, Friedenreich was a great player who changed football for the better.

Happy birthday, Arthur Friedenreich!