What is a Hat Trick in Soccer?

If you have played or watched soccer at any level, then you probably will have heard the term ‘hat trick’ being thrown around.

This phrase is not only used in soccer, but it has also become common in the English language. But where does this phrase come from? And, more importantly, what is a hat trick?

As you probably already know, a hat trick is something that is desired by all strikers. After all, it is a striker’s job to score goals, and a hat trick is the ultimate sign that they are doing this, and doing a good job at it.


Unless you have played soccer, it can be difficult to understand just how difficult it is to score a goal. So, scoring 3 goals in a single game is a massive achievement. 

If you want to find out more about hat tricks, then you are in the right place.

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at what a hat trick is, as well as looking at where this term came from. So, keep on reading to find out more. 

What is a Hat Trick?

As we have said, a hat trick is one of the ultimate achievements for any soccer player who is a striker. In order to score a hat trick, a single player must score 3 goals within one game of soccer.

In theory, it seems easy enough. But, a lot of soccer games will finish with just a single goal scored, so for one player to score 3 goals, they have to be incredibly skillful. 

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to hat tricks. Some people believe that these goals need to be scored within one half of the match, or that they have to be scored with the same body part.

Some people even believe that a hat trick must consist of 3 goals scored in quick succession, with no other players scoring in between.

However, none of these thoughts are actually correct. The principle behind a hat trick is simple, all a player needs to do is score 3 goals in a single match. 

If a striker scores 2 goals within a soccer game, then a lot of anticipation will begin as they are “on a hat trick”, and only need one more goal to achieve this.

When a hat trick is scored, that player is usually rewarded with the match ball to keep as a memento of their achievement.  But, why is it known as a hat trick?

Why is it called a Hat Trick?

Why is it called a Hat Trick

If you do not know much about soccer, then you might be completely confused as to why this achievement is known as a hat trick.

The history behind this phrase is unknown to most soccer fans and players. So, why is a hat trick known as a hat trick?

To understand this, you first need to understand that the term hat trick is not exclusive to soccer. In fact, this term was not even first used in soccer.

Instead, it was first used in cricket. In 1858, famous English cricketer, H.H. Stephenson took 3 wickets in 3 consecutive deliveries during a single game.

The game was between all-England and Hallam, and according to the Oxford English Dictionary, this is when the term hat-trick was first used. 

Fans at the game were in awe of the performance that H.H. Stephenson had just achieved, and they believed that he deserved a reward.

So, using hats, fans went around the crowd gathering money from the spectators to give to Mr Stephenson. Hence, the name hat trick was created. 

But there is some debate about whether, or not, this is where the name comes from.

Instead, some people argue that the term came about as a comparison to the magic tricks when magicians pull something unexpected out of their hat.

There is no definitive way of knowing which of these scenarios is true. But either way, this term is now used to describe the ultimate skill that a striker can display. 

What is a Perfect Hat Trick?

If you have heard of a hat trick, then there is a fair chance that you have heard of a ‘perfect hat trick’.

You might be puzzled as to what the difference is between these two terms or, more likely, you might be one of the many people that gets these terms confused with one another. 

As we have said, a hat trick is something that a striker achieves when they score 3 goals in a single soccer match. In order to achieve a ‘perfect’ hat trick, then that skill will need to go a little further.

This is because, in order to score a perfect hat trick, the 3 goals that you score must be hit with 3 different parts of the body. These body parts are the right foot, the left foot, and the head. 

Again, if you haven’t played soccer, then this will appear a lot easier than it actually is. All strikers will have a dominant foot, so achieving that goal with their weaker foot is very hard.

Even more so, getting the opportunity to score a goal from a header is also rare. So, to achieve these 3 goals in a single game is massive. 

Are Hat Tricks Common? 

You might be wondering if hat tricks are a common occurrence in soccer. After all, the phrase is very common, so surely the achievement itself is too, right?

It actually isn’t. Scoring goals in soccer is incredibly difficult, and because of this, scoring a hat trick is even harder. 

Hat tricks are common enough that most people know what they are. But, they are rare enough that scoring a hat trick is still a massive achievement in any sport.

Especially in soccer. Like we said earlier, it is fairly rare for 3 goals to be scored by one team in a single soccer match. So, it is even rarer for those 3 goals to be scored by the same person. 

So, no, hat tricks are not common. This is why they are still considered such a massive achievement in soccer today. Now, let’s take a look at some of the most famous hat tricks in history. 

What are the Fastest Hat Tricks in History?

Scoring a hat trick in a game is a massive achievement, but some players have taken this one step further by scoring a hat trick in very quick succession.

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in Europe, so it makes sense that some of the fastest hat tricks, on record, have been scored in European countries. So, let’s take a look at what they are. 

One of the most famous soccer players to play in the Spanish La Liga is Cristiano Ronaldo. While this player has scored a lot of hat tricks throughout his career, he does not hold the record for the fastest.

At the time of writing, that record is held by Luis Perez, who scored a hat trick in just 3 minutes. Yet, this still isn’t the fastest on record.

That is held by Sadio Mane, who scored a hat trick in just 2 minutes 35 seconds when playing for Southampton against Aston Villa in 2015. 

Famous Hat Tricks in History

Finally, let’s take a look at some of the most famous hat tricks that have occurred in soccer history.

Without a doubt, Mane’s record has to make it on this list, but who else has achieved some excellent hat tricks? Here are some facts. 

  • Lionel Messi has the most hat tricks in the Champions League with 8 to his name. 
  • The record for most world cup hat tricks is tied in a four way split. 
  • Gunnar Nordahl holds the record for most hat tricks in Italy’s Serie A, with 17 hat tricks scored in his career. 
  • The most hat tricks scored in the English Premier League is 11, and that record is held by Alan Shearer. 
  • Cristiano Ronaldo has scored the most hat tricks in Spain’s La Liga, with 34 and counting to his name. 


In short, a hat trick in soccer is an achievement that is made when a player scores 3 goals in a single match.

What is a super hat-trick in soccer?

A super hat-trick is when a player scores 4 goals in a match.

What is a perfect hat trick in soccer?

A perfect hat trick is when a player scores a goal with their left foot, right foot and head.

What is a double hat trick in soccer?

A double hat tricks is when a player scores 2 hat tricks, that’s 6 goals in a match. However since this is so rare, sometimes it’s used to refer to when a player scores 2 hat tricks in separate matches.

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