Mental Floss

Where Does the Soccer Term "Hat-Trick" Come From?

Nick Greene
Getty Images
Getty Images / Getty Images
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When Carli Lloyd fired over the 'keeper from more than 50 yards away against Japan, she scored her third goal of the 2015 Women's World Cup Final—a hat-trick. It only took Lloyd 13 minutes to achieve this honor, but the phrase "hat-trick" took a lot longer to enter our lexicon.

The first use of the term comes from cricket. In 1858, bowler H.H. Stephenson took three consecutive wickets (translation: he hit the three stakes placed behind the batter) at Hyde Park Cricket Grounds in Sheffield during a match between his all-England squad and a team from Hallam, South Yorkshire. Fans were so impressed by this feat, they held a collection and raised money to buy a hat, which was presented to Stephenson as a token of their appreciation.

The term eventually made its way to soccer and other sports around the turn of the century. Nowadays, players who score hat-tricks get to keep the ball. The practice of fans buying them a hat, however, is long gone. Sorry, Carli.

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