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What Is A Hat Trick In Soccer? Definition With Real-Life Examples

If you ever wanted to know what a hat trick in soccer is; you’ll learn what this piece of soccer jargon means and why it’s often considered a game-winner.

What Is A Hat trick in soccer then? Is it a type of goal scored? A player’s style of play or something to do with winning trophies?

A hat trick in soccer is when a single player scores three goals in one game. The player doesn’t have to score three goals in succession. The other team can still score a goal(s) before a player scores all three goals.

Here is why a hat trick is one of the highest honors for a player and why it can be an essential part of the game.

When Did The Term ‘Hat Trick’ Come From?

If you’re a fan of English sports, it won’t shock you to learn that the term hat trick has its roots in Cricket.

A hat trick in Cricket is when a bowler manages to get three batsmen out in three consecutive balls. A similar combination would be like three outs in Baseball in as many balls.

The cricket club had the honor of buying the hat trick hero a new hat as a celebration or reward for the accomplishment. Hence the name hat-trick.

Why Are Hat Tricks Important?

The most obvious reason a hat trick is important is that a team is going to have scored three goals. With at least a three-goal advantage, the team is likely going to win the match.

With one player scoring three goals, this indicates a couple of things that mean the team is likely going to win.

Team Performance

It (usually) takes a strong team performance for a hat trick. The goals will likely have come from the back, up toward the attacking player that nets three goals.

It takes an entire team to get a hat trick. Even if one player gets the hat trick.

You won’t find one player take on the entire opposition on their own. Except for lower level or younger age levels of soccer. It’s the whole team’s performance that wins the match.

Individual Performance

Although the team has performed well, there’s no getting around the fact that the player who scored three goals has had a fantastic performance.

Being able to score three goals is a sign that the player has the opposing team’s defense figured out. The defense is having a hard time putting up a challenge.

What Happens When A Player Scores A Hat Trick?

A player who scores three goals is often awarded man of the match. This is a merit given to the player that has performed best in the game. And hat trick scorers are the pinnacle of this achievement. More so than something like a clean sheet.

In professional matches, the player is also awarded the match ball as a symbolic gesture of their achievement. This is why you often hear commentators saying that a player is going to “take home the match ball”.

Do You Always Win With A Hat Trick?

Whilst hat tricks are a good indicator of winning in soccer, they are not the be-all-end-all. In fact, scoring a hat trick does not guarantee you will win the game.

Let’s take an example. If the striker of your team scores a hat trick with no other player on your team scoring, and the opposing team score 6 goals, your team has lost 6-3.

The hat trick will not be celebrated and the team’s performance can be considered poor. Conceding 6 goals in a game is a bad result.

You’d rather the striker scored one and the team kept a clean sheet.

It might not be as flashy, but would you rather your team be flashy and let in lots of goals, or disciplined and win 1-0 every week?

It’s like in Football when your favorite defensive player sacks the Quarterback over and over but your team is still down by 5 touchdowns at the half. All the stats are going to mean nothing.

We have also seen this happen in the most crucial of Soccer games.

Let’s not forget that Kylian Mbappe scored a hat trick for France in the 2022 World Cup. But the team still lost on penalties. I’m sure Mbappe would rather have scored none and his team lifted the trophy than score a hat trick.

Once the referee blows the final whistle, the only stat that matters is whether you scored more goals, touchdowns, baskets, and runs than the opposition.

Is Hat Trick Used In Any Other Way In Soccer?

The term hat trick can also be used in the context of winning something throughout three seasons. A manager that wins three league titles in a row is known as a ‘hat trick of titles.’

However, winning more than one trophy is often referred to as something different. In English soccer, if a team wins two trophies in a season it is referred to as ‘the double.’

If a team wins three trophies throughout a season, it is referred to as ‘the treble.’

You can also win four trophies which are known as ‘the quadruple’ but no English team has done this yet.

What Else Is Misunderstood In Soccer?

There are many rules in soccer that not everyone quite understands. This is why we have put together a guide on how long a soccer game lasts.

We’ve also compiled all the facts on what a clean sheet is in soccer, as well as a guide on what a set piece is in soccer.


Who Has Scored The Most Hat Tricks?

Many professional players have scored hat tricks over their careers. The highest number of hat tricks comes from a German player called Erwin Hlmchen who scored over 140 hat tricks in official matches.

More recent players include Cristiano Ronaldo who has 62 hat tricks at the time of writing. Lionel Messi has also scored 57 hat tricks at the time of writing.

What Is The Perfect Hat Trick?

A perfect hat trick refers to a player scoring one goal with their right foot, one goal with their left foot, and another with their head.

This is rarely accomplished and rarely do players attempt this. But soccer purists consider this the ultimate way to score a hat trick.

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