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:
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 years ago it was common practice.
Spreading the love of the game: The British were the ones to spread soccer across the globe. The sports popularity took off with colonialism. The spread of soccer is prevalent today as soccer is seen all across the world from South America to Japan.
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 is supposed to be hosted in the city of Lusail in Qatar. That city, however, does not exist yet. Qatar is building it specifically for the 2022 World Cup and is still in the works as of 2020. The city will cost $45 billion dollars to build.
Women's World Cup: While most think the women's world cup has been around for decades, 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 would end up winning the whole thing at the end of the tournament. Since then, the FIFA Men's World Cup now includes over 32 teams and is held every 4 years across the globe.
First Soccer Match: The first ever soccer match took place in 1869 and was a collegiate soccer match. The two teams were Rutgers and Princeton. The game took place in New Jersey and is considered to be the first ever soccer match held. Rutgers went on to win the match 6-4.
First International Match: The first international match took place in 1872 and was the first match where two international teams played each other. The two teams were Scotland and England. The match took place in Glasgow, Scotland and actually took place on a Cricket field. About 4,00 people showed up to watch and it ended in a 0-0 draw.
Years With No World Cup: There is only one instance in which the World Cup was not held every 4 years. The 1942 World Cup was set to take place in Berlin, Germany. However, after rising tensions between European nations, the World Cup was cancelled. In addition, immediately following the war, FIFA was struggling to stay financially afloat, so the following World Cup was cancelled as well.
Olympic Games: Soccer was not an Olympic Game until 1900 during the Olympic Games in France. It has remained in the Olympics ever since. The first Olympic Soccer tournament only featured 3 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 one 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 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 followed 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.
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 185 goals. Sinclair surpassed Abby Wambach with 184 goals.
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.
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 material to bring the best match performance possible.
Newgate Prison: Many say that soccer, or football, was founded in London in the 1800s at the London Newgate Prison. Prisoner's who had their hands cut off for the crimes they commited then learned to play with their feet. However, while soccer as we know it may have been developed in Newgate, it derives from an ancient Chinese game.
3.9 Miles: Studies have found that soccer, or football, players runs 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 2 seconds. 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 in order to play soccer on. However, the sport is still popular on 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.