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Exciting and Little-Known Soccer Facts

Updated on September 6, 2013

Soccer has been around for decades and has gathered a wide variety of fans around the world. As the sport is slowly becoming more popular, the fan base is growing too! Below are a few things that you probably weren't aware of about the sport, as far as history and trivia go....hope you enjoy this collection of interesting (and somewhat bizarre) information on the fabulous sport of soccer :)

A little history on the soccer ball and game play of the olden days.....

Throughout time, humans have enjoyed kicking a ball or something that round that resembles one. Even the South American Indians were known to use a make shift object comparable to a rubber ball, however, rubber was not to be practically produced and manufactured until thousands years later. According to historical references and legend, early balls ranged from human heads, stitched up cloth, animal and human skulls to pig, goat or cow bladders! In China around 255 BC, during the Tsin and Han Dynasties, the Chinese played 'tsu chu', in which animal-skin balls were dribbled through holes in a net stretched between two poles. Also some ancient Egyptian games are said by historians to have similarities with football, all the while both the ancient Greeks and Romans also played a game that entailed carrying and kicking a ball. According to legend, an entire village would kick a skull along a path to a nearby village town city center. The opposing village would in turn attempt to kick the skull to the first village's square. Sounds like a brutal way to start a game! An ancient custom was to take animal bladders from livestock slaughtered in preparation for winter sustenance and inflate them. They would play a game using their hands and feet to keep the object in air. Eventually, the animal bladder balls were covered with leather for a better, more solid shape.

Now for the trivia....enjoy!

1. In the late 1930s and 1940s, Queen Elizabeth II would often be dressed in disguise, and participate in pickup up soccer matches near Buckingham Palace during her teenage years as she was a natural athlete.

2. In the state of Mississippi in the USA, soccer was until 1991.

3. Until 1908, some soccer balls were made from the inflated stomach tissue of executed Irish prisoners.

4. American Football and Soccer are derived from the same sport. During the 19th century in England, several casual games were played which involved using a ball to score points. Eventually rules were formed and Rugby and Football (soccer) were formed, and when Rugby came to the United States, American Football was born.

5.In 1998, a lightning storm killed an entire soccer team! There was a match being played between two villages in Congo, and oddly all 11 players from the town of Bena Tshadi were struck and killed. Their opponents suffered severe burns at worst, and all survived.

Australia's famous game against American Samoa!


6. In 2001, Australia had the most victorious International game in the history of the game....they defeated the team from America Samoa with a whopping score of 32-0!

7. In the 1950 World Cup, India had qualified to play in the tournament....however, they insisted on playing barefoot! When FIFA would not allow them to do so, they dropped out of the competition.

8. Brazilian soccer legend Pelé was born with the name Edson Arantes do Nascimento. He adopted the nickname "Pelé", a Brazilian Portuguese word meaning “six feet,” due to being born with six toes on each foot.

9. Even though it is more well known for the sport of hockey, Canada's national sport is soccer.

10. A soccer player can run up to 10km, or over 6 miles, in just one game!

The soccer balls in the goal from the 149-0 game!
The soccer balls in the goal from the 149-0 game!

11. The English Premier League had red, yellow and teal cards from 1994 to 1998. Teal cards were used for possible fouls that were to be reviewed by instant replay.

12. In a 1964 Olympic qualifier game in Peru, a call by the referee started a riot that killed over 300 people!

13. The highest scoring game ever was 149-0, The event happened in 2002 after a 2-2 draw between rival teams Stade Olympique de L’emyrne, (SOE) and AS Adema of Madagascar, which resulted in the referees awarding a penalty causing SOE to lose the game. As a form of protest for being robbed of the title because of a penalty, the players purposefully scored 149 goals into their own net at the next game as spectators stormed the ticket booths demanding refunds. Besides being very confused at first, the opposing team eventually stood around in good humor at the planned stunt.

14. There are 32 panels on a traditional soccer for each country in Europe!

15. Soccer balls are slightly oval-shaped, however the checkered board pattern creates an illusion of a perfect sphere.

Do you enjoy the sport of soccer/football?

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Some historically amazing goals!


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    • profile image

      anonny 4 years ago

      "9. Even though it is more well known for the sport of hockey, Canada's national sport is soccer."

      This is grossly inaccurate - Canada's national sport is Lacrosse.

    • tastiger04 profile image

      tastiger04 4 years ago

      Haha! That may be true, however for me, I just like watching a good battle on the green. The European players especially are really exciting to watch, as there is such a market for talent. I will say that soccer has had a huge rise in popularity in the USA the last few years.....

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 4 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      When I first attended High Cascade Snowboard Camp in 2007, in between the 2 sessions I attended, we campers were taken to a soccer game. I admit, I've never had an interest in it, but I found it funny that no one scored any points. The number of fouls were fairly even between the teams. I told my father, who is a huge soccer fan, and he said that was par for the course. He told me that's why it's not popular in the US; because Americans can't handle a game where points aren't readily scored.