15 Random Soccer Facts Most Americans Don’t Know

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For the American soccer lovers, here are 15 soccer facts you may not know that can be useful when teaching soccer to kids.

  1. Identified by the name “soccer” in the U.S. and “football” elsewhere, the sport’s original name is actually “basket-ball.” When the game was first created, the first goals were overturned wicker baskets.
  2. Soccer was played by prisoners at London’s Newgate Prison in the early 1800s. After having their hands cut off for their crimes, prisoners came up with the game using only their feet.
  3. A traditional soccer ball has 32 panels. Each panel represents a country in Europe.
  4. Before 1908, soccer balls were made from the inflated stomach tissue of executed Irish prisoners.
  5. A soccer field is called a “pitch,” because fields that are made to regulation standards are pitched or sloped five degrees upwards from one end to the other. The teams switch sides so each has to play slightly uphill.
  6. From 1919 to 1921, the first American professional soccer league, the USSA, paid its players just 35 cents per goal scored.
  7. The first World Cup was made of papier-mâché. After heavy rains hit the 1950 World Cup, it was replaced.
  8. Contrary to belief, soccer balls are not actually round. They have a slightly oval shape, but the checkered pattern creates the illusion that it is spherical.
  9. Most countries refer to the uniforms soccer players wear as “kits” while the cleats are called “hooves.”
  10. Until 1991, soccer was illegal in Mississippi.
  11. The highest score ever made in a soccer game is 149-0.T
  12. he fastest red card in history was given to player Lee Todd two seconds after the whistle to start the game.
  13. Lusail, the city that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup final game does not yet exist.
  14. The sport is played in over 200 countries by 250 million players.
  15. In the U.S., more than 11 million children and adults attend soccer camps each year.

While many people grow up in youth soccer leagues and participate in teaching soccer to kids, many do not know many of the above random facts about the sport. They can be fun references when teaching soccer to kids.