15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Soccer

Posted Apr 15, by Greg Porter

You’re probably wondering how a soccer team could be so bad that they let 149 goals be scored, but the truth is it was a form of protest. The event occurred in 2002 after a 2-2 draw between rival teams Stade Olympique de L’emyrne, or 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. 

The result? Besides losing 149-0 and breaking the previous record from 1885 of 36-0, the SOE coach was suspended along with several of his players and captain. 


The game was called Football Manager 2005, and was released on November 5, 2004 by Sports Interactive and Sega. The game’s focus is management of a soccer team. Seems harmless enough, right? 

Shortly after its release, it was found that regions like Tibet and Taiwan were included as separate countries. Tibet has had a long history as a territory of the People’s Republic of China, and because the game treated Tibet as a sovereign nation, China wasn’t happy. 

Officially, it was banned because the game “threatened its content harmful to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity... [that] seriously violates Chinese law and has been strongly protested by our nation’s gamers.” 

Sports Interactive responded by saying that a fixed Chinese version of the game would be released, and clarified that the offending version wasn’t intended to be released in China in the first place. That version wasn’t available in Chinese, but had been imported, downloaded, or sold in illegal software shops. 


For five years in the Ivory Coast the north was held by the rebels and the south held by the government loyals. Didier Drogba plays for Chelsea in England and is the team captain and star striker for the Ivory Coast Elephants. 

Drogba pleased the warring factions to have a cease-fire. Surprisingly, they heard him and a cease-fire was enacted. Drogba suggested in an interview that the game against Madagascar be played in Bouake, the rebel-north’s capital city. The game brought the whole country together for the first time in five years. 

Government military were invited to the game to help maintain control during and after the soccer match. It was the first time in five years that they’d been in the north without any violence and fighting involved. After the game, the rebellion army and the government military worked together to control the crowd. The Ivorian Elephants beat Madagascar 5-0. 

Drogba brought the country together again through soccer. Men began dressing like Drogba and women fell head over heels for him. Drogba became an icon. 


Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, or Ronaldinho, is a Brazilian football (soccer) star who has twice won FIFA World Player of the Year. Ronaldinho was born in Porto Alegre as the son of a salesperson and shipyard worker. 

His father had also played football, but had died of a heart attack when Ronaldinho was eight. When Ronaldinho’s older brother signed with a football team, the family moved to a more wealthy area. It was short lived, though, as his brother ended his career after an injury.

 When Ronaldinho was only 8, he also began to show skills in football. When he was 13, and scored 23 goals in a 23-0 victory against a local team. He was identified as a rising star at the 1997 U-17 World Championship, where he scored two goals from penalty kicks. 

From there, his fame rose to where he is today. If you remember when YouTube was brand new, you might recall that a 2005 Nike advertisement featuring Ronaldinho performing impressive feats with a soccer ball was the first YouTube video to break 1 million views. 


In October of 1998 a bolt of lightning killed an entire 11-man soccer team from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The opposing team was completely unharmed. Thirty more people had burn injuries.

Some people thought the team had been cursed and that was what caused the lightning to strike them. The game was a draw at 1-1 when the lightning struck the visiting team in the province of Kasai in the eastern region of the DRC. 

Incidentally, a similar situation happened the following weekend in Johannesburg, South Africa. A Premier League soccer match was suddenly stopped when lightning struck the field. 

Half of the players from both teams, the Jomo Cosmos and the Moroka Swallows, fell to the ground. Several of the players writhed on the ground holding their ears and eyes in pain. Luckily, no one was killed in that incident. 


This happened in a late game of the Caribbean Cup tournament in 1994. It sounds really strange but there's a really good reason for why Barbados had to do this. They were playing Grenada, and they needed to win by 2 goals in order to make it through to the next round of the tournament. 

Although they had led for 2-0 most of the game, Grenada scored a goal in the 71st minute. The 2-1 score would have meant Barbados would've gone out of the tournament. So what did they have to do?

Force a tie, and go to overtime. The overtime would be played under golden goal rules (the first to score, wins) and the golden goal was worth 2 goals. Therefore, Barbados had a better chance at getting through by tying the game and scoring the golden goal. 

Grenada caught wind of what they were doing, and you had the funny situation in which Barbados was trying to score a goal on their own goal, and Barbados was trying to defend their opponent's goal! In the end Barbados scored the golden goal and went on to the next round of the tourney.

 What do you think, ingenious play or a cheap tactic?


The village is set on a lake surrounded by a beautiful set of mountains and forests. However, this means that the tiny villages didn't have enough flat space around to practice and play soccer. They watched it on TV and they loved it, but were never able to play. 

Some of the kids decided they wanted to form a team and figured out how to fix their space issue. They collected old wood, a couple old barges, and fishing net. After school they worked on their wooden soccer field. It was small and had nails sticking out everywhere. The ball fell into the water constantly and so did the boys. They got really good at their footwork, though, due to the small space and got really good at playing on a slippery surface.

They ended up playing in a tournament on the mainland and got to the semifinals. They lost by one point, but the village got really excited and they were able to build a nice soccer field. Their team is now regarded as one of the best in South Asia. They’ve even won the youth soccer championships from 2004-2010!

There were a number of different games played in English public schools during the 19th century. Almost all of them involved soring through kicking a ball.

At different points in time, these rules for these informal games were settled and Rugby Football and Association Football were born. Rugby eventually came to the United States, and eventually changed into the game we know today.


In 1964 a referee\'s call during a soccer match in Peru caused a riot that killed over 300 people!

Another 500 people were injured in that riot in Lima, Peru. The match was a qualifier for the 1964 Olympics. The refs disallowed a goal for Peru, resulting in the riot.

There was an even worse soccer disaster in Moscow in 1982. A late goal resulted in a stampede. People who had tried to leave the game early rushed back to their seats, and 340 people were crushed.
A soccer player can run 10 km in one game! That\'s more than 6 miles!

In 2007, AC Milan's Gennaro Gattuso ran an estimated 10 km in one game against Manchester United. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) had been working on a system for calculating things like how far individual players run, and how far and fast the ball gets kicked by tracking them with multiple cameras. The system is accurate within a 3% margin of error.

To get an idea of how much running that is, 10 km is the equivalent of running across 350 basketball courts. Gattuso\'s numbers aren\'t all that unusual either. 10 km is actually pretty average.

Remarkably, most of that running is done WITHOUT THE BALL. The average player controls the ball for only 200 meters about 2% of the total distance they run. In addition, soccer players are sprinting for 800-1200 metres (roughly 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile). They also have to accelerate 40 to 60 different times in a game, and change direction every 5 seconds.

In a little more than 4 games, a soccer player will have completed the equivalent of a marathon. Keep this in mind when you watch the World Cup this summer!
(sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)
In 1998, lightning killed an entire soccer team.

This tragedy occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during a match between the villages of Bena Tshadi and nearby Basangana. Strangely, the lightning annihilated all eleven members of the home team, while all of Basangana's players were spared with severe burns at worst! This disparity caused many locals to blame the event on some sort of sorcery or witchcraft!

\"\" The North Korean women’s soccer coach claims his players lost to the United States because several of them were struck by lightning!

After the match, coach Kwang Min Kim shocked the media by having this to say:

\"When we stayed in Pyongyang during training our players were hit by lightning, and more than five of them were hospitalized. Some stayed in hospital and then came to Germany later than the rest of us. The goalkeeper and the four defenders were most affected, and some midfielders as well. The physicians said the players were not capable of participating in the tournament,” Kim continued, \"But World Cup football is the most important and significant event for a footballer, so they don\'t want to think about anything but football. The fact that they played could be called abnormal, the result of very strong will.\"

From our experience, it’s much better to address sorts of problems BEFORE you play the game. Otherwise, your story just sounds like an excuse, whether it’s incredible or not.

\"\" Colombian sports fans brought their friend\'s dead body and coffin to a soccer match.

Christopher Jacome, a 17-year-old Colombian soccer fan, was tragically gunned down while playing his beloved sport. After his funeral wake, a group of friends carried him and his coffin to the local soccer stadium to catch one final match! Cucuta Deportivo, Christopher’s favorite team, was playing on that day. Hundreds of people stormed the gates and overwhelmed stadium officials, who apparently let the coffin through with little resistance. Though Jacome’s death did not directly was not directly related to soccer, it’s pretty cool that his buddies decided to honor his memory in this way...though I wouldn’t recommend repeating this stunt to anyone.

Australia achieved the largest victory ever in an international soccer match when they defeated American Samoa 32-0 in 2001.

This came just a day after the Australians had broken the previous record by dominating Tonga by a score of 22-0 in the opening round of the 2002 World Cup qualifier! The previous goals record had been achieved by Kuwait a year prior in a 20-0 massacre of Bhutan.

Part of the reason the second Australian victory was so dramatic was because the American Samoans had to call in their junior squad because the senior team had a passport mixup (the juniors' average age was 18!). Archie Thompson of Australia also scored a record 13 goals in the match, beating the former World Cup record of 7, held by Iran's Karim Bagheri. Thompson had only scored one goal in two other appearances for his country before that point!

Watch every one of these goals on Youtube! It's ridiculous!

In 1966 the World Cup trophy was stolen and later found by a dog days before the tournament began.

The Jules Rimet trophy, which is made of solid gold and valued at 30,000 euro, was swiped while on display at Central Hall in Westminster, London. The trophy is named after a French lawyer who began the World Cup soccer tournament in 1929. The thieves also left behind postage stamps worth 3 million euro!

Several days after the thievery, a dog named Pickles found the cup in south London while on a walk with his owner! England ended up winning the tournament and the recovered trophy, but in 1970 Brazil was permitted to keep the trophy forever after winning their third title. Thirteen years later, the cup was stolen again in Rio de Janeiro - it has never been recovered.
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