17 quick facts about soccer you might not know!

We here at Sideline Soccer like to post quick facts about soccer. Well, after doing a quick search, I noticed we have quite a few of them now. So here is a list of 17 quick facts about the beautiful game that you might have missed!

Origin of the word soccer
Did you know that the word “soccer” came from an abbreviation of the word “association football”? Back in the 1880s, students of Oxford University used to abbreviate words by adding “er” to the end. For example, breakfast was referred to as “brekkers” and rugby was referred to as “ruggers”. Charles Wreford Brown, once a student at Oxford University, is usually credited for inventing the word “soccer” but there is a lack of supporting evidence.

Where did the phrase “score a goal” come from?
Did you know that small marks were made on the post to keep track of the number of goals? Every time a goal was conceded, a small nick was made into the post. So literally, a goal was “scored” onto the post, hence the phrase “to score a goal“!

Soccer Ball History
Did you know that the modern soccer ball may have originated from a human head? While no one knows exactly how the “soccer ball” came into existence, many forms and variations have been documented throughout history. One of the earliest documented forms of a “ball” was made of animal skin from China around 250 BC. Other historians have noted games played with cloth, hides and even skulls. Even today, there are many different brands and styles of the soccer ball.

Mob Soccer
Did you know that between the 7th and 9th century a violent game emerged between villages? The object of the game was for one village to force a ball into the center square of the enemy’s village. The game became so violent that neighboring villages and towns would take cover and block their windows. It was said that murder or manslaughter were the only restrictions to the game.

World’s Oldest Soccer Competition
Did you know that the Football Association Challenge Cup, better known as the FA Cup, is the world’s oldest soccer competition? First held in 1871, it is a competition between teams from the English football league (Premier League, Coca-Cola Football League, and lower levels). There is also the FA Women’s Cup.

Estadio Nacional
Did you know that the Estadio Nacional in Chile was used for more than soccer games? Unfortunately, the “games” being played were not so beautiful. After World War II, it was used as a clearing house for refugees from Europe. It also served as a detention center and a torture house. People were interrogated, left to starve, subjected to brutal tortures, and many were executed.

First goal scored directly from a corner kick
Did you know that the first goal scored directly from a corner kick was in 1924? Cesareo Onzari, who played for Argentina took a corner kick and the ball ended up in the net without anyone else touching it. This type of goal is also referred to as an “olympic goal”. Unfortunately for Uruguay, they lost that game because of such a goal, but they did end up winning the gold in the Olympics. Many say this is why this type of goal is referred to as “olympic”.

The Bicycle Kick
Did you know that Ramon Unzaga of Chile was the first player to perform a bicycle kick? It is a very difficult kick where a player throws his/her body in the air, while moving the legs in a scissor like motion, in order to kick the ball backwards over their head. Ramon first performed this kick in 1914 at El Morro Stadium in Talcahuano, Chile.

Did you know that Pele helped lead Brazil to the FIFA World Cup Championship at age 17? Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is the only person to have won the World Cup three times as a player. He scored 1,281 goals in his professional career and is considered by many to be the greatest soccer player of all time.

Youngest Soccer Player
Did you know that Reuben Noble-Lazarus is the youngest professional soccer player? At just 15 years and 45 days old, the Barnsley striker made his debut on September 30, 2008 against Ipswich when he came onto the field in the 84th minute. The previous record was held by Ken Roberts (Wrexham) and Albert Geldard (Bradford PA), each being 15 years and 158 days old.

Juggling World Record
Did you know that the World Record for juggling a soccer ball non-stop is 19 hours and 30 minutes? Martinho Eduardo Orige of Brazil juggled a regulation size soccer ball non-stop, meaning the ball did not touch the ground at all. Only your feet, legs, and head are allowed when juggling a soccer ball. This World Record was recorded in August of 2003.

Chile banned from World Cup
Did you know that Chile was banned from the 1994 World Cup? During a qualifying match for the 1990 World Cup, Chile was down 1-0 to Brazil. A loss would mean elimination from the tournament. Around the 67th minute, the Chilean goalkeeper, Roberto Rojas, fell to the ground due to being hit by a firework. The team refused to continue to play and the match went unfinished. However, after reviewing footage, it was found that the firework never hit Rojas. He faked it hoping to replay the game. FIFA awarded Brazil the win, banned Chile from the 1994 World Cup, and banned Rojas for life.

India wants to play barefoot!
Did you know that India withdrew from the 1950 World Cup tournament because FIFA would not allow the team to play barefoot? India had already qualified but refused to continue because they wanted to play barefoot! Uruguay ended up beating Brazil 2-1 to clinch the cup that year. Lucky for them, they felt comfortable playing in cleats!

Most World Cup Wins
Did you know that Brazil has won the World Cup more times than any other country? Since 1930, Brazil has won the World Cup 5 times. Italy is close behind though, winning the tournament 4 times. Germany has won 3 times. Uruguay and Argentina have both won the World Cup twice, while England and France have both won once each.

Most Watched Game in U.S. TV History
Did you know that the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final was the most watched soccer game (Men’s or Women’s) in U.S. network TV history? An estimated 40 million viewers watched the USA beat China on July 10, 1999 in Pasadena, California. It was also the most attended women’s sporting event with an official attendance of 90,185! Many remember this game with Brandi Chastain’s goal winning penalty kick as she celebrated by taking off her shirt and falling to her knees!

Most Goals In A Single Game
Did you know that the most goals scored by a player in a single match is 16? Stephan Stanis of France, who played for Racing Club de Lens at the time, scored 16 goals against the Aubry Asturies during a French Cup match in 1942. However, he was not the only man in history to do so. Panagiotis Pontikos of Olympos Xylofagou performed this feat on May 8, 2008 against SEK Ayios Athanasios FC.

Most Olympic Gold Medals
Did you know that Hungary is the country with the most Olympic Gold medals? Since 1908, Hungary has won 3 times. However, Argentina, United Kingdom and Uruguay are close behind, each winning 2. The United States Women’s team has made it to every final match in the Olympics since 1996. They have won 3 out of 4 Gold medal finals, only losing to Norway in 2000.