What is a Brace in Soccer? A Complete Explanation

When you start to watch or play soccer, you quickly discover that there are many terms used that can be confusing to understand at first. I know that was the case for me! For many people, hearing the word “brace” used during a soccer game is one example.

So, what does the word “brace” mean in soccer?

In soccer, “a brace” refers to the act of one player scoring two goals in a single game. If a player has “scored a brace,” it means they have scored twice. The word “brace” comes from old English and means “two” or a “pair.”

Although this answer does go some way to explaining what the term means, it doesn’t fully explain what it means, where the meaning came from, or why it’s used in soccer.

When the Word “Brace” Is Used in Soccer

You will hear players, coaches, commentators, and reporters use this word all the time in soccer.

When you hear someone talk about a brace, they are referring to the scoring of two goals in one game. Any player can score a brace, and the goals don’t have to be scored consecutively.

To give an example of how this phrase is used, firstly, let’s look at a recent game report from mlssoccer.com.

At one point in an article reporting on a game between Atlanta United and Philadelphia Union, the reporter says:

“The Five Stripes had their stars on full display, as Pity Martinez registered a brace…”


Apart from being a prime example of soccer using terminology that can be hard to understand unless you’ve been around the game for a while, the author of the article is referring to the fact that the Atlanta United player Pity Martinez scored two goals in that game.

If you are struggling to understand the meanings of different terms and phrases in soccer, click here to go to a complete glossary of terms and meanings in soccer I’ve created. It should have the definition of every word used in soccer that you want to know the meaning of.

Another example can be found in the title of a recent article on nbcsports.com.

The article title says:

“Ronaldo sets record with brace in Juventus win over Parma”


Again, in this game, Portuguese soccer player Christiano Ronaldo scored two goals in one game against the Italian team Parma.

These are just two examples of the type of situations which you will regularly hear the word “brace” used in soccer.

The Meaning of the Word “Brace”

meaning of word brace in soccer

To score a brace in soccer means one player has scored two goals in a single game.

But when most people hear the word “brace,” they either think of a strong type of support for a structure or even a body part, or they think of the action of standing strong, ready to embrace some sort of impact.

If this is what you first think of, then don’t worry! You’re not wrong! The word “brace” does mean this in many situations.

This is definitely the first thing I think of when I hear that word!

But if you look a little deeper into the meaning of the word “brace,” you will find that it also means something else.

Let’s look at the definitions that come up in two well-known and respected dictionaries.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “brace” as:

Plural: Two of a kind

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

And the Cambridge Dictionary defines the word “brace” as:

two things of the same type”

Cambridge Dictionary

The action of a soccer player scoring two goals in a game fits perfectly into both these definitions.

  1. The Merriam-Webster definition: Two goals scored are “two of a kind.”
  2. Cambridge Dictionary definition: two goals scored are “two things of the same type.”

Although this does explain the meaning of the word “brace,” which makes sense in the context of a player scoring two goals in a soccer game, it isn’t a well-known meaning of the word.

Why is that?

Where the Word “Brace” Comes From

The reason not many people have heard this definition of the word “brace” is that it is an old English language definition of the word and it is not used much now, except in the context of soccer and a few other sports.

The first known use of the word dates back to the 14th century and the etymology of the word “brace” goes back to the Anglo-French language where it meant “pair of arms; or pair”.

It was mostly used in Middle England in those times to refer to two animals(usually smaller animals of birds) who had been hunted and killed for sport.

For example, a hunter may come home with a brace of (two) rabbits or a brace of (two) pheasants after a day out hunting.

This definition of the word hung around in English all the way up until the invention of soccer in England in the 19th Century when people began to refer to a soccer player who had scored twice in a game as “scoring a brace of goals”.

To find out more about how soccer was invented click on this link to go to my article all about it.

Although the use of this definition of the word has faded out of use over the last century, the use of this word in the context of soccer has carried on to this day. And as soccer spread from England around the world, the use of the word “brace” spread with it.

Scoring Brace’s in Soccer

Now we understand what a “brace” is, when it’s used and where the word comes from I thought it would be helpful to watch one of the greatest soccer players ever, Lionel Messi, score a brace and show us all how it’s done.

Check it out in the video below.

How to Increase Your Chances of Scoring a Brace

If you are looking to score a brace more often in the soccer games you play then you need the best soccer equipment out there to give yourself the best possible chance.

Own the best cleats

The soccer cleats that I believe are the best to increase your chances of scoring goals are the Adidas Nemeziz 19.1 Cleats.

They are beautifully designed and make striking the soccer ball and controlling the direction of where you want it to go feel effortless.

You can check out the price for these cleats on Amazon by clicking here or have a look at them on the soccer merchandise website soccer.com by clicking here.

Own the best soccer ball

Having the best soccer ball can also make a huge difference to how many goals you can score in a game.

My recommendation for a great soccer ball is the Adidas MLS Pro Official Match Soccer Ball. It’s well made, it’s durable, and it looks great as it hits the back of the goal net.

Check it out on the Soccer.com website by clicking here. Amazon doesn’t seem to stock this ball but click here to go to an equally impressive soccer ball on Amazon.com.

For any other soccer equipment that you are considering buying, feel free to head over to my recommended soccer equipment page where I have done my best to make life easier for you by listing my recommended items so you don’t have to spend hours doing the research yourself.

Ben Clayfield

Hi! My name's Ben. I've played, watched, read about, and enjoyed soccer throughout my life. I really enjoy finding out more about the game I love and sharing it with you all. Find out more about me here - Ben Clayfield

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