20 Amazing Soccer Facts

1. Soccer developed in London’s famed Newgate Prison in the early 1800s. Prisoners who had their hands cut off for crimes of theft came up with a sport that used only the feet. The game spread from there.

2. There are 32 panels on a traditional soccer ball, one for each country in Europe.

3. Known as “soccer” in the United States, the sport is known as “football” elsewhere. But the game’s original name was actually “basket-ball” because the first goals were overturned wicker baskets.

4. A soccer field is called a “pitch” because every regulation field is pitched — or sloped — 5 degrees upwards from one end to the other. The teams switch sides after each half so each team has to play slightly uphill for half the match.

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

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