A hat trick in soccer occurs when a player scores three goals in one game. The term "hat trick" in sports is used to refer to a certain accomplishment by a player during competition, with the feat usually involving three of something — such as goals scored — and varying according to the sport. It is believed that the term originated in cricket in the 19th century, but it has come to be used in many other sports, including soccer and hockey. There also are variations of a hat trick in soccer that involve a player scoring three goals in certain ways, such as consecutively within the same period or by striking the ball in certain ways.
As is the case in many sports, there a some informal rules regarding the use of the term "hat trick" in soccer. For example, if the match is tied after extra time and goes to a penalty-kick shootout, any goals scored do not count toward a hat trick. Thus, a hat trick in soccer can occur only during regulation time, added time and extra time. Any goals scored on penalty kicks before a shootout would count toward a hat trick.
If a soccer player scores three consecutive goals in one period, it is referred to as a flawless hat trick. If another player on either team scores a goal between any of the three scores by the other player, so that the three goals are not consecutive, then it still is a hat trick but not a flawless hat trick. Another type of hat trick in soccer is a golden hat trick or perfect hat trick, which requires the player to score one goal by kicking with the right foot, one goal by kicking with the left foot and one goal by striking the ball with his or her head. The three types of goals can be scored in any order. This type of hat trick requires tremendous skill and is seldom accomplished.
Origin of "Hat Trick"
The use of the term "hat trick" in sports is believed to have originated in 1858, when H.H. Stephenson, a bowler in cricket, was given a hat after successfully taking three wickets in three balls. The term probably is most widely used in hockey. When a hockey player scores a third goal in one game, many fans celebrate by throwing hats onto the ice. This was an especially popular celebration in the early 20th century, when men often wore formal hats to sporting events, but it has continued into the 21st century.