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30 Fun Facts About Soccer

facts about soccer

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Facts about soccer start with an interesting one.

  • Soccer is called football around the world, except in the US, Canada and few other countries where the word football was already taken by another sport.
  • Soccer is distinguished from rugby and American/Canadian football in that it is primarily played with the feet. Touching the ball with hands is not allowed.
  • Soccer was originally called association football. "Soccer" is a corruption of "assoc" which is derived from "association", and the English people tending to shorten their words.
  • University of North Carolina has won an incredible 16 national championships in women's soccer, since the first US college tournament in 1982.
  • World Cup is the biggest and most followed tournament in the world. It is held every four years in a different host country. Billions of people watch the televised games, as the national teams from around the globe battle for soccer supremacy.
  • United States Major League Soccer made its debut in 1996, shortly after the wildly successful 1994 World Cup was hosted by the United States. USA agreed to start the professional soccer league if the FIFA granted the World Cup host to be USA. Now we have MLS that is growing every year. Thank you FIFA.  
  • Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) made its debut in 2001. Eight teams participated, and Brandi Chastain's Bay Area CyberRays won the inaugural league championship over Atlanta. The league disbanded in 2003.
  • United States has more official soccer players than any other nation in the world - almost 18 million. Of these, 78 percent are under the age of 18. In the 1990s, soccer was recognized as the fastest-growing college and high school sport in the US.
  • Funny fact about soccer is the 20 red cards shown during a 1993 game between Sportivo Ameliano and General Caballero in Paraguay.
  • ASEC Abidjan of Cote D'Ivoire went unbeaten for 108 games between 1989 and 1994.
  • Carlos Caszely, from Chile, was the first player to get sent off with a red card during a World Cup. The first red card in the history of World Cup was shown to him on June 14, 1974.
  • European Teams have reached the final of every World Cup tournament, except in 1930 and 1950.
  • Goalkeeper Arthur Wharton was the first black professional soccer player. He was born in Ghana (then Gold Coast). Arthur played his professional soccer for English team Rotherham United, in 1889.
  • In 1950, India withdrew form the World Cup because FIFA refused to let their team play barefoot.
  • Turkey eliminated Spain from the 1954 World Cup by drawing straws. Blindfolded Italian boy Luigi Franco Gemma picked the straws to decide the winner, as there were no penalty shots back than.

More Facts About Soccer

facts about soccer, soccer fun facts, soccer facts, kids soccer facts, soccer interesting facts
  • In 1957, with only 30 minutes remaining in the game, Charlton Athletic came back from a 5-1 deficit to defeat Huddersfield Town 7-6. In the game of soccer, anything in possible.
  • Penarol of Urugauy conceded only five goals in 18 games on the way to an unbeaten 1968 season.
  • In 1996, George Weah paid his teammates uniforms and expenses, so that Liberia could enter the African Nations Cup.
  • In 1997 Nigerian international Celestine Babayaro broke his leg while celebrating a goal in his Chelsea debut during a preseason game.
  • Funny soccer fact is the English referee Martin Sylvester sending himself off in 1998, after punching a player during the game.
  • 1938 World Cup semifinal, Italian Guiseppe Meazza's shorts fell down as he was about to take a penalty kick. He held his shorts up and calmly scored past Brazil's Valter Zenga.
  • Jean Langenus, of Belgium, wore a suit jacket, golfing pants and a red striped tie when he refereed the 1930 World Cup final.
  • Luigi Riva once broke the arm of a spectator with one of his powerful shots.
  • Madagascan team Stade Olympique L'Emryne scored 149 own goals against champions AS Adema in 2002. They repeatedly scored own goals in protest of a refereeing decision in their previous game. This is one funny soccer fact, imagine watching a team repeatedly score on themselves, 149 times lol
  • Michael Laudrup appeared for Real Madrid in a 5-0 win over Barcelona, and had also played for Barcelona when they beat Real Madrid 5-0.
  • Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp has a severe fear of flying, causing him to miss many International and European games for Arsenal.
  • Sir Alex Ferguson was fired by St. Mirren in 1978 for swearing at a lady.
  • Sir Stanley Matthews, from England, never received a booking in his 33 year long career.
  • Under Herbert Chapman, Arsenal changed their name from "The Arsenal" to simply "Arsenal" in order to appear at the top of the alphabetical list of old Division One clubs.
  • The first televised game was an Arsenal practice match at the Highbury ground in 1937.

This completes 30 interesting facts about soccer.

This game has a very long history with many more facts about soccer found in different countries, leagues, clubs, players, fans, cultures and others.

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