There are so many weird facts about soccer that it’s hard to only choose 20. However, after looking through 100s of random facts around soccer, these were the most fascinating.
Here are 20 random soccer facts that you probably didn’t know before.
1. The Name Soccer Originated In England.
While being most associated with the American football culture, the name has its roots in the English game as an abbreviation of association football.
It was a way of differentiating different games as there was no set of agreed rules in both rugby and what we know as soccer.
The FA ratified rules and the two sports were known as they are today. The games and their rules spread to the United States and became American Football and Soccer.
2. Rogelio Ceni Is The Top Scoring Goalkeeper With 131 goals
Spending a bulk of his 25-year career in Sao Paulo, and earning 18 caps for Brazil Ceni, managed to reach a tally of goals some strikers dream of.
The former Flamengo coach was a dead ball specialist and was his team’s official penalty and free-kick taker since 1997 until he hang up his gloves in 2015 at the age of 40.
He was always comfortable with the ball at his feet and also an exceptional shot stopper which was evident in the Club World Cup Final win against Liverpool in 2005.
3. Notts County FC Inspired The Juventus Kit
Besides these two teams being at the opposite sides of the footballing spectrum, Notts County FC- which plays in the fifth tier of English football- can boast of inspiring the jersey of European Football royalty.
The Turin club has done the black and white since 1903 after they asked one of their foreign players, Englishman John Savage, for connections for a kit supplier.
Inadvertently, his friend who was a Notts County supporter sent them the black and white striped shirts which they have worn since creating a relationship of mutual respect between the two clubs albeit the distance in class.
4. The Second Most Decorated Coach Is Mircea Lucescu
The world is familiar with the most decorated coach Sir Alex Ferguson and his exploits with the red devils amassing a legendary 49 titles in his career.
Second to the Scottish tactician is the Romanian doyen of the game, Mircea Lucescu who has stockpiled a total of 37 trophies since he started managing in 1979 to his current stint in Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine.
He has held the reigns of giants of Europe such as Internazionale and Galatasaray to national teams like Turkey. He may not be a household name but the record books will lay have his name engraved.
5. The Highest Soccer Jersey Number For Official Competitions Was 121
Thomas Oar had the honor of wearing the highest official soccer jersey due to the Asian Football Federation (AFC) requirement for players to keep the same squad number throughout the preliminary rounds of the AFC Asian Cup.
Although higher squad numbers have been seen in commemorative matches this was a record-breaker as it was backed up by official rule.
6. Lutz Pfannenstiel Is The Only Pro Soccer Player To Play In All 6 continents
The current St. Louis City managing director played for Orlando Pirates (Africa), Wimbledon (Europe), Vancouver Whitecaps (North America), Calgary Mustangs (Oceania), Geylang FC (Asia), Hermann Aichinger (South America), and 21 other clubs in his career.
The former professional goalkeeper has also served as an expert on various soccer channels as well as part of the coaching staff of various teams.
7. Barcelona Legend Andres Iniesta Only Scored 35 League Goals For Barcelona
Besides being one of the most famous and talented players in his position, the Barca legend only had 35 league goals to his name.
Though it always seemed to be part of the golden generation he had more, his playing position as a pivot and creator saw him more as a provider than the goal-scoring threat for the team.
It is undoubted that his partnership with compatriot Xavi Hernandez created the backbone of one of the greatest teams ever assembled; when he scored it proved to be important for instance his goal against Chelsea in the Champions League and his goal to seal the world cup in 2010 for Spain.
8. FIFA Has More Countries Than The UN
While the United Nations recognizes only sovereign countries that prove legitimacy, FIFA gives leeway to dominions, unrecognized countries, and territories to compete in the beautiful game. With a total of 211 national associations compared to the UN’s 193.
From Chagos Island in Africa to Kurdistan in Iraq, these territories are able to compete in their own right.
9. Lev Yashin Is The Only Goalkeeper To Win a Ballon D’or
Nicknamed The Black Spider, he spent his whole 20-year career plying his trade for Dynamo Moscow and representing The Soviet Union.
He developed the role of the modern goalkeeper by guiding and controlling the game from the back and played a sweeper role by intercepting crossed and rushing opposition players at a period when goalkeepers were static between the posts.
Yashin forged his legacy in the 1958 world cup which was the first to be broadcast and showcased his brilliance to the whole world. He was honored by the prestigious Balon D’or and was inducted into the World Cup all-time team.
10. Ballon D’or Winner Stanley Matthews played At The Top of the Game Until He Was 50
The only soccer player to be knighted while still playing, Stanley Matthews was the oldest player to play in England’s top division at the age of 50. He had the honor of being the inaugural winner of the Balon D’or in 1956 while playing most of his football for Stoke City and Blackpool.
Mathews kept up his healthy physique by eating more fruit and salad and fasting on Mondays while also avoiding alcohol. This healthy lifestyle saw him maintain his form all through.
11. Jean-Marc Bosman Gave Soccer Players The Rights For Free Transfers
Bosman whose contract at RFC Liege had expired wished to move to French club Dunkerque but was barred and his salary was slashed. He launched a lawsuit at the European Court of Justice and won giving players the power to decide their futures.
Though he might not have been a superstar on the pitch, The Bosman Ruling will always be accredited to him and all soccer players who came after him.
12. Former Arsenal Player Mathieu Flamini Is Now An Environment Entrepreneur
Though many players may go for soccer-related jobs such as coaching, former Arsenal midfielder went on to start and invest in a biochemical company, GF Biochemicals; the first company able to mass-produce levulinic acid.
He was also named as one of the people of the year for 2015 for his contributions by NME. This is a far cry to what other players get involved in after they hang up their boots.
13. Balotelli’s Only Assist For Manchester City Was The Most The Important In History
Balotelli was a prolific goal scorer while playing for Manchester City but was not known for being a provider.
But the audio of commentator Martin Tyler for the Aguero goal that gave City their first title in 44 years would always give Balotelli his credibility as a creator, “ Manchester City are still alive hear. Balotelli, Agueroooooo…!”
That assist for that glorious moment coupled with the emotions for that day could have been enough for what it meant for the fans and for the club.
14. Bayer Leverkusen Is The Most Unlucky Club
Besides being one of the best clubs in the Bundesliga, Leverkusen has no trophy to show for it. They have been associated with the Vizekusen curse which sees them always fall and lose at the last huddle.
It peaked in 2002 when they were at the grasp of winning a treble but lost all the final matches and ended the season with nothing; the players dubbed nearly men.
Despite having a strong team they have a record of finishing runners up most times without winning at least once. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
15. Didier Drogba Stopped a Civil War In His Country, Ivory Coast
After scoring a goal that sent Ivory Coast to the world cup for the first time at the expense of Cameroon, Drogba recorded a video urging the warring factions to hold their arms and make peace.
Taking that chance to echo on the unity the players from different areas of the country had to convey to ensure the country would be represented on the global stage.
The factions taking from the singing and dancing of the players in accord decided to lay down their arms silencing the civil war that had been raging.
16. Pedro Is The Only Player To Win Every Team Trophy In Club Soccer
After Mauricio Sarri led Chelsea to a Europa League win in 2019, a record was cast with his tricky winger, Pedro Gonzalez.
At that point, he was the only player to win everything club football had to offer at the professional level, with many stars lacking the Europa League Cup in their cabinet.
The current Roma player has won the world cup with Spain, 3 Champions leagues, Euro Cup, Club World Cup, La Liga, and Premier League trophy. A real team player indeed.
17. Marcus Bent Has Played For The Most Premier League Teams
When it comes to journeymen, Marcus Bent takes the crown for his journey among the elite.
The striker has played for Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Charlton, Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester, Ipswich Town, Wigan, and Wolves; 8 teams in total in the top flight.
This record will be hard to break due to the high turnover of talent and greener pastures abroad.
18. Ballon D’or Winner George Weah Became a President
The only African player to win the prestigious Balon D’or, he earned the distinction of becoming the 25th president of Liberia.
Regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation, the former PSG and AC Milan forward entered into politics first serving as a senator before campaigning for the top job.
He set precedent for future African soccer players and became a beacon of potential leaders of the future.
19. Mark Hughes Played For Bayern Munich and Wales National Team On The Same Day
The famed Premier league manager showed his work ethic in soccer by appearing for both club and country in the same day.
On November 11, 1987, he represented his country as Wales faced Czechoslovakia in Prague for a Euro qualifier match, and after the game; he flew back to Germany and appeared as a substitute against Borussia Monchengladbach for the second round cup replay that evening.
20. The Richest Soccer Player Is Faiq Bolkiah
The debate will always rage on between Messi and Ronaldo in how their performances affect their income and who makes more. But the richest soccer player is former Leicester City reserve player Faiq Bolkiah.
Though most footballers derive their earnings from the game, the player derives his from family possessions.
The player is nephew to the Sultan of Brunei and is worth an estimated 20 billion dollars. His family have a hold in the country’s oil reserves and control a lot of its wealth. The dedication to the game has been appreciated by critics since he can comfortably live on what his family owns but continues to train and play.