List Of Soccer Facts

List Of Soccer Facts

The sport of soccer has been around for decades. As the sport spread across the world, it resulted in many new and interesting facts and histories that many are unaware of. Below is a list of soccer facts:

History Facts

Referees: Referees were not included in soccer matches until 1881. Before then, it was up to the players to make the calls. Today, it may seem impossible to play a professional game without an official, but decades ago, it was common practice. 

Spreading the love of the game: The British invented modern soccer and spread it across the globe. The sport’s popularity especially took off with colonialism. Soccer is now competitively and recreationally played in nearly every country in the world.

Deadly Lighting: In 1993, a lightning strike during a soccer match in the Democratic Republic of the Congo killed an entire team. The opposing team was left unhurt. Thirty other people were left injured. Rumors spread throughout Congo that someone had cursed the team. 

The 2022 World Cup: The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be hosted in the city of Lusail in Qatar. The construction of the city was completed in 2021. Qatar built it specifically for the 2022 World Cup. The city cost about $45 billion to complete.

Women’s World Cup: While most think the Women’s World Cup has been around for a long time, the first FIFA Women’s World Cup was actually held in 1991. The winning team for the first-ever Women’s World Cup was the United States, and the team featured players like Michelle Akers and Mia Hamm

The First Men’s World Cup: The first world cup was held in 1930 in Uruguay. Only thirteen nations participated, and Uruguay ended up winning the whole tournament. Since then, the FIFA Men’s World Cup now includes over 32 teams and is held every four years across the globe.

First College Soccer Match: The first-ever intercollegiate soccer match took place in 1869. The two teams were Rutgers and Princeton. The game took place in New Jersey and is considered to be one of the first ever soccer matches held in the United States. Rutgers went on to win the match 6-4. 

First International Match: The first international match took place in 1872. The two teams were Scotland and England. The match took place in Glasgow, Scotland, and actually took place on a Cricket field. About 4,000 people showed up to watch, and it ended in a 0-0 draw

Years With No World Cup: There are only two instances in which the World Cup was not held every four years. The 1942 World Cup was set to take place in Berlin, Germany. However, after rising tensions between European nations, the World Cup was canceled. In addition, immediately following the war, FIFA was struggling to stay financially afloat, so the following 1946 World Cup was canceled as well.

Olympic Games: Soccer became an Olympic sport in 1900, during the Olympic Games in Paris, France. It has remained in the Olympics ever since. It was not included in the first modern Olympic Games held in 1896. The first Olympic soccer tournament only featured three teams, so everyone who participated was guaranteed a medal.

Nigerian Civil War: During the Nigerian Civil War in 1967, both sides agreed to a ceasefire for a brief period of time. They agreed to the ceasefire in order for both sides to be able to watch Pele play an exhibition game in Lagos.

‘Soccer’ vs. ‘Football’: Most people believe that Americans are the ones who started calling the sport of football “soccer.” However, this is untrue. In fact, it was first said in England, and the term was eventually brought over and popularized in the United States. The term “soccer” stuck and now the United States is one of few countries to call it soccer and not football.

Germany and the 1950 World Cup: After the Second World War, the 1950 World Cup looked a little different. Not only was it one of the first World Cups to come back following the war, but Germany was also banned from participating. Germany was banned because of their aggression during the war. 

India and the 1950 World Cup: India withdrew from the 1950 World Cup. FIFA declined their request to play the tournament without boots or cleats. The team wanted to play barefoot, and when they could not, India withdrew from the tournament.

Player Facts

Arthur Friedenreich: Arthur Friedenreich was the top goal scorer in history. In his 26 years of playing soccer, he scored 1,329 goals. He is known as Brazil’s greatest soccer player. Friedenreich holds the nickname “the tiger.”

Christine Sinclair: Christine Sinclair of the Canadian Women’s soccer team currently holds the world record for the most international goals scored. She currently has 189 goals, as of June 2022. Sinclair surpassed Abby Wambach’s previous record of 184 goals.

Miroslav Klose: Miroslav Close of Germany holds the record for the most goals scored in World Cup history with 16. Christiano Ronaldo is currently in second place with 15.

Lionel Messi: Lionel Messi holds the record for the most Ballon d’Or wins with seven. Christiano Ronaldo is second all-time with five.

Christiano Ronaldo: Christiano Ronaldo is the all-time leading goal scorer in the UEFA Champions League with a total of 140.

Fun Facts

Kits vs. Uniforms: In many countries, the soccer uniform is referred to as a ‘kit.’ However, in the United States, most teams call their playing gear a uniform or jersey.

Soccer Ball: A traditional soccer ball has 32 panels and was originally made out of inflated leather. Soccer balls today are made up of new materials, and companies are attempting to create balls made of new materials to bring the best performance possible.

Newgate Prison: Many say that soccer, or football, was founded in London in the 1800s at the London Newgate Prison. Prisoners who had their hands cut off for the crimes they committed then learned to play with their feet. However, this is just a theory, as the exact founder of soccer is unknown.

3.9 Miles: Studies have found that soccer players run an average of about 3.9 miles in a single soccer match. This is obviously untrue for goalkeepers, who remain stationed at their goal throughout the match. 

North Korea: The North Korean fans showcased at games and at tournaments are actually handpicked by the North Korean government. In addition, Chinese volunteers also sit in the stands, as North Korean citizens are not allowed to travel outside of the country.

The Fastest Red Card: The fastest red card ever given out to a player was two seconds into the game. The red card was given out to Lee Todd after screaming out an expletive after complaining about how loud the starting whistle was.

Greenland: Unfortunately, the nation of Greenland cannot participate in the World Cup or in FIFA. This is because the country is unable to grow enough grass to sustain a field to play soccer on. However, the sport is still a popular TV subject for the small island.

Hitler and Soccer: While soccer was a popular sport across the world and in Germany during the Hitler regime, he despised the sport. He disliked the game of soccer because he could not ensure that non-Germans would lose and Germans would win.

FC Barcelona and UNICEF: The team FC Barcelona has a reverse sponsorship with UNICEF. While the team sports the UNICEF logo on their jerseys, they also donate about 1.5 million euros to the foundation each year.