What Is a Hat Trick in Soccer?

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Do you know that soccer is among the most popular sports around the world? It has been played for over 100 years, and there are many different ways to score points in this game. One of those scoring methods is called “the hat trick.”

What Is a Hat Trick in Soccer?

A hat trick in soccer is when a player scores three goals in one game. Scoring doesn’t need to be in succession, and it includes extra time, too, as long as you manage to achieve this great goal.

It’s an amazing feat that few players ever accomplish. However, if you want to know what it takes to get one, then keep reading.

Ball hitting the net in Soccer

Origin of the Hat Trick

According to football history, the term “hat trick” was first used in 1858. An English cricketer H.H Stephenson first coined the phrase hat trick after taking three wickets in a single match. People collected money from fans while keeping it in a hat before gifting him the hat.

The first recorded instance of this is an 1896 match between the Montreal Victorias and hometown rivals, the Montreal Hockey Club. This trend continued into the 20th century, with fans throwing hats onto the ice when someone scored a hat trick.

In soccer,  “hat trick” was only used after a player scored three goals in one match. According to Guinness World Records, Bert Patenaude was the first to score a hat trick on July 17th, 1930. This was during a World Cup match between the USA and Paraguay in Montevideo, Uruguay.

When Might a Player Achieve This?

There are some guidelines for what makes an effective player. First off, you need speed as fast players can often get behind the defense or into open spaces. Here they can receive a pass from their teammates without being too closely guarded by defending players.

Next comes endurance. When a player gets past one defender, they have enough energy left over to fight off another opponent before scoring their goal. It’s usually a combination of teamwork, skill, and luck that leads to a hat trick in soccer.

A hat trick can be achieved during regulation play, extra time, or penalty kicks. If the score is tied after regulation and the game goes to extra time, the player could potentially complete the hat trick if he scores three goals in total.

Why Is It Called a Hat Trick?

The term “hat trick” is a phrase that was popularized in ice hockey. In the late 1800s, people attending hockey matches would throw their hats onto the playing surface. This happened when someone scored three goals in one game.

The conditions of a hat trick include:

  • The total goals must be three
  • All goals must be from a single player
  • All goals must come in from a single game

The goals need not be consecutively scored. As long as the goals fulfill the above criteria, they are considered a hat trick. Furthermore, other aspects concerning the goals or how they were all scored do not matter.

Player wearing a red jersey in a Soccer match

What Is a Perfect Hat Trick?

A perfect hat-trick is when a player scores one goal with the left foot, another with his right foot, and then nets a header. This is usually very rare, so when you see one happen in real life or on television, it’s best to recognize the player for his achievement.

Cristiano Ronaldo powered his way to a “perfect hat-trick” within 32 minutes during a Serie A match. The soccer match was between Juventus against Cagliari, which ended in 3-1 goal scores.

Are There Prizes to Be Won When Scoring Hat Trick?

A hat-trick is a huge achievement. It has been said that most achievements come with some award. Therefore, you might find yourself asking if there’s even a prize for scoring three goals in one game?

There are no official prizes after scoring a hat trick in a soccer match. However, players who score the three goals get to keep the ball used in that particular soccer match. This serves as a personal souvenir, reminder, or reward for the player’s achievement in the soccer match.

Fastest and Most Hat Tricks in Soccer

Fastest Hat Trick

The Guinness World Record for the fastest hat trick in a professional soccer game goes to Tommy Ross of Ross County. He scored three goals within 90 seconds against Nairn County on November 28th, 1964.

Sadio Mané in this modern era has received credits for scoring a fast hat trick in 2 mins and 56 seconds.

Most Hat Trick

Pele, the player who has scored the most hat-tricks in world soccer today. Despite retiring from active duty back in 1977, he still managed to amass an incredible 92 hat trick. This surpasses modern era legends like Christiano, who has 54, and Messi, who has 53.

In international matches, Christiano top the lists with ten hat tricks. This comes right after Portugal’s 5-0 victory against Luxembourg. He has made his total goals to be 115.

Goalkeeper about to hold the ball in Soccer match

Related Questions

How Rare Is a Hat Trick in Soccer?

Hat tricks are so rare, they have become one of the most sought-after goals in professional soccer. The level of play is high, and scoring just one goal can be challenging, yet scoring three takes some great skill.

What Are Four Goals in Soccer Called?

A ‘hat trick’ and a ‘brace’ are standard terms describing a player who scores multiple goals. On the other hand, when a single player scores four goals, it is known as a ‘haul.’

Why Is It Called a Hat Trick?

It’s called a ‘hat trick’ because there used to be an award for it at one time in history. A player would receive a hat from the crowd for scoring three goals in one game, hence the name “the hat trick.”


It’s worth remembering that scoring hat tricks is rare and mostly happens for the best players with years of intense practice. Most people will never get the chance to score a hat trick during their entire soccer career. Therefore, when you see it happen, make sure to give some love.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.