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What Is a Hat Trick in Soccer?

What a Hat Trick Means in Soccer — and How to Spot It at the Olympics This Summer

VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05:  Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States of America scores the team's second goal against Saki Kumagai #4, Azusa Iwashimizu #3 and goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori #18 of Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)

When talking about sports, a hat trick happens when a player scores three times in one game — so, no, it has nothing to do with headgear or a sleight of hand. While the event can happen in a lot of sports (hockey, cricket, water polo, darts), the term is most commonly used in soccer. In fact, in the sport known as football in most parts of the world, there are even different kinds of hat tricks that can be performed. At the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, we'll most likely have several opportunities to see the feat achieved by the US women's soccer team. After all, this team already has several gold medals under their belt, so they're no strangers to scoring.

So What Is a Hat Trick in Soccer?

In the most general sense, a hat trick refers to an individual player scoring three times in a single game. US Women's National team player Carli Lloyd achieved this feat in a match against Japan in Vancouver, Canada, during the Women's World Cup in 2015. With three goals in just 16 minutes, it was the fastest hat trick in Women's World Cup history.

What Is a Natural or Flawless Hat Trick?

One special version of a hat trick in soccer occurs when a player scores three consecutive times in a single game, without any other player on either team scoring between those goals. In that instance, the hat trick is referred to as a natural or flawless hat trick.

What Is a Perfect or Golden Hat Trick?

Another type of hat trick specific to soccer is referred to as the perfect or golden hat trick. This is accomplished when a player scores three times in a single game, no matter whether others have scored in between those goals, by using each the left foot, right foot and head.

To learn more about all the Olympic hopefuls, visit The Tokyo Olympics begin July 23 on NBC.

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