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Are you a soccer aficionado? Do you eat, sleep and pray for the promotion of your favorite division and/or the relegation of all, non-comparable teams? If so, the following football/soccer facts are right up your alley!
The word ‘soccer’ originated in Oxford, England (circa 1880s) as a nickname for the sport’s official title, “association football.”
For those non-believers out there, soccer is the most played team sport on Earth! As a smug side note, you should also know a single soccer player runs about 7 miles during an entire game (that explains those calves).
The first “Bicycle Kick” was performed in 1914 at El Morro Stadium in Talcahuano, Chile, and the first goal scored directly from a corner kick was in 1924 (this move is also known as an Olympic Kick).
The first live coverage of a soccer match shown on television was in 1937. Even earlier than that? The introduction of whistles, back in 1878! This was around the time referees would wave a handkerchief to control the players.
The first ever soccer match was played in Derby, England, and small marks or “scores’’ were originally nicked into the goal post to keep score...hence he widely-popularized term, “scoring a goal!”
Mob Soccer, Anyone?Between the 7th and 9th centuries, a violent game emerged between villages. The only object of the game was to force a ball into the center square of the opponents’ village, but somewhere along the line, the neighborly sport turned violent. So violent, in fact, that neighboring villages and towns would take cover and block their windows. The only rule of the game? Try not to murder anyone (and you thought you took your sport seriously!).
The Trusty Soccer BallA FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) soccer ball is 71 centimeters around its circumference (that’s 28 inches for you Imperial users!).
Ever wonder where soccer balls come from? (Who doesn’t?) Believe it or not, over 80% of all soccer balls are made in Pakistan!
Soccer Ball JugglingThe World Record for juggling a soccer ball non-stop was set in 2003 by Martinho Eduardo Orige of Brazil. He juggled a regulation size soccer ball for 19 hours and 30 minutes, using only his head, legs, and feet to keep the ball from touching the ground. Talk about dedication!
The Name’s “Pele”Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is the only person to have won the World Cup three times as a player. At just 17, he led Brazil to the FIFA World Cup Championship.
Pele has scored 1,281 goals in his professional career, and is considered by many to be the greatest soccer player of all time.
In terms of richest soccer player, good ole’ David Beckham takes the cake. Beckham is said to be the richest soccer player in the world, with total earnings of over $50 million.
World Cup StatsBrazil has won the World Cup 5 times since 1930, more than any other country. Following suite is Italy with four World Cup wins; Germany with three; Uruguay and Argentina with two, and England and France with one World Cup win, each!
India withdrew from the 1950 World Cup because the players were not allowed to play without shoes (and countless stubbed toes were prevented that day).
The 1950 World Cup game between Uruguay and Brazil at the Maracana Stadium recorded the highest number of spectators: a whopping 199, 854!
Carlos Caszely of Chile was the first player red carded in a World Cup tournament on June 14, 1974.
The Women's World Cup was first held in 1999, and America proudly became the Women’s World Cup winning country (try saying that three times fast!).
Mexico is the only country to host the soccer World Cup event twice.
Most Goals In A Single GameStephan Stanis of France scored 16 goals in a single match in 1942, and in 2008, Panagiotis Pontikos of Olympos Xylofagou matched that phenomenal number!
Most Olympic Gold MedalsSoccer became an Olympic sport in the year 1908. So far, the country of Hungary has won the most gold Olympic medals, having achieved 3 wins since its ‘Olympic sport’ induction.
Player ProfilesNorman Whiteside was the youngest player ever to play professional soccer. He broke Pele's record by playing at the age of 17 years and 47 days.
Rotherham United goalkeeper Arthur Wharton, born in Ghana, became the first black professional player in 1889.
April Heinrichs became the first woman to be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1998.
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