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What Is A Hat Trick In Soccer

A hat-trick is a common term in sports, and it means achieving a particular positive feat three times in a game. In soccer, it usually refers to a single player scoring three goals in a single game. The goals need not be consecutive, and goals scored in penalty shootouts aren’t considered.

The term is used in multiple major sports like soccer, hockey, water polo, and more, but its origins can be traced back to Cricket.


‘Hat-trick’ was coined in 1858 when English cricket player H. H. Stephenson took three wickets on three consecutive deliveries at the Hyde Park ground, Sheffield. As was the custom during those times, fans collected money and rewarded Stephenson with a ‘hat’ for his performances. This incident led to the birth of the term ‘hat-trick.’ In the print, ‘hat-trick’ made its debut appearance in the Chelmsford Chronicle in 1865.

What Is A Perfect Hat Trick?

The concept of a perfect hat trick is limited to soccer. For example, a goalscorer has scored a perfect hat trick when it consists of a right-footed goal, a left-footed goal, and a headed goal.

Do Penalties Count?

All kinds of goals scored in the regular time, and the extra time are considered in hat-tricks. Hence, if a player scores a penalty in the standard 90 minutes or the additional 30 minutes, it is indeed eligible to be counted in a hat-trick.

However, if the match is undecided even after the extra time and goes to a penalty shootout, those penalties are not counted as goals.

Brazilian star Ronaldo famously scored a hat trick of penalties in a 3-1 win over Argentina in a World Cup qualifier in 2004.

What is a Double Hat Trick?

A double hat trick is precisely what its name seems to imply, i.e., six goals scored by a single player in a single game. However, it’s a rare occurrence in soccer, and it is almost impossible to witness a double hat trick in any modern competitive league.

However, there have been instances of players scoring six or more goals in a single game over the years.

In English soccer, the latest example is from 1957, when Neville Coleman scored seven goals to help Stoke City beat Lincoln City 8-0 in a Second Division game. No player has scored more than five goals in a single game since the inception of the English Premier League.

In UEFA soccer tournaments, the last double hat trick was scored in a UEFA Cup qualifying round in 2003. Then, Eldar Hadzimehmedovic scored six goals to help Lyn to a 6-0 win over NSÍ Runavík.

What Are Two Goals In A Game Called?

Scoring’ two goals’ in a single game is called scoring a ‘brace’ in soccer. Braces are instead a common occurrence in the sport. In Spanish soccer, ‘doblete’ can be used to describe the same feat.

What Are Four Goals Called?

Different regions have different terms for when a player scores four goals in a game. Some common terms used are ‘poker,’ ‘haul,’ or a ‘super hat trick.’

‘Haul’ is primarily used in English soccer, whereas ‘poker’ is a term commonly used in Spanish-speaking countries.

What Are Five Goals Called?

There is no official term for the feat of scoring five goals in a single soccer game. Hence, different regions could have other words to describe this rare phenomenon.

Some of the terms to describe scoring five goals in a game are ‘glut’, ‘quintuplé’ and ‘repoker’. Glut is primarily used in English soccer, where repoker is preferred in Spanish-speaking nations. In French-speaking nations, ‘quintuplé’ is used to describe the feat of scoring five goals.

What Do You Receive If You Score A Hat Trick?

There is a popular tradition related to hat tricks in soccer. Whenever a player scores a hat trick in a soccer game, they can take home the official match ball as a souvenir.

There is no official rule in soccer about hat trick scorers keeping the match ball, but it has become a rather important tradition or an unspoken rule. Soccer officials also allow the scorers to keep one of the match balls at the end of the game.

There have also been instances when hat trick scorers have had their soccer balls signed by their teammates.

Fastest Hat Tricks 

In professional soccer, the fastest hat trick was scored by Magnus Arvidsson for Swedish club IFK Hässleholm, against BolS, in 1995. The Swedish forward took 1 minute and 29 seconds to complete his hat trick.

At the international level, the fastest hat trick has been scored by Egypt forward Abdul-Hamid Bassiouny. He scored three goals in 155 seconds in a World Cup qualifier against Namibia.

In the English League soccer, James Hayter scored the fastest hat trick in 2004. He took a total of 140 seconds to score three goals in Bournemouth’s 6-0 win over Wrexham. In Premier League, Sadio Mane of Liverpool scored a 176-second hat trick in 2015.

In MLS soccer, Hany Mukhtar of Nashville SC currently owns the title of the fastest hat trick. He took six minutes to complete his hat trick in the 5-1 win over ten-men Chicago Fire FC in 2021. At the international level, Weston McKennie registered the fastest hat trick for the USMNT. The US star scored a 13-minute hat trick in the 7-0 win over Cuba in 2019.

Carli Lloyd scored a 13-minute hat trick for the US women’s soccer team in the 2015 World Cup final win over Japan.

Hat Trick Records 

As per the Guinness Book of World Records, Brazilian legend Pele holds the record for most hat tricks – 92. Due to the lack of proper historical records, these numbers can be a bit contentious. However, there is hardly any doubt that he was the greatest soccer player of his era.

He also is the youngest player to score a hat trick in a World Cup. At the age of 17 years, 244 days, Pele scored a hat trick to help Brazil to a 5-2 win over Sweden in the 1958 semi-finals. Brazil went on to win the Cup.

Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is in the second spot with 57 hat tricks in his career so far. During the 2018 World Cup, he scored a hat trick in a 3-3 draw with Spain at the age of 33 years, 130 days. This hat trick made him the oldest player to score a hat trick at a FIFA World Cup.

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