“It’s our sport. Wizard sport. It’s like — like soccer in the Muggle world — everyone follows Quidditch — played up in the air on broomsticks and there’s four balls — sorta hard ter explain the rules.”

Hagrid, explaining what Quidditch is to Harry potter on their trip to get supplies in Diagon alley in Chapter Five of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"

Throughout the books, it's repeatedly stressed how little wizards know about Muggles, even Muggle-obsessed Arthur Weasley has very little clue.

How in the world would Hagrid know of soccer?

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    @Pureferret - soccer is NOTHING AT ALL like Quidditch! You never see Quidditch fans trashing the city after a match or beat each other up in a pub! – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 25 '12 at 15:19
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    The real question, how is it possible that the small number of wizarding population is so oblivious to all things relating to Muggles. – Jack B Nimble Jan 25 '12 at 15:33
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    @JackBNimble - too busy chasing gnomes – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 25 '12 at 15:38
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    The real question is: Why would Hagrid, being from Britain, call it "soccer"? (Does he actually call it that in the the British book Philosopher's Stone?) – NorbyTheGeek Jan 26 '12 at 17:07
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    @Norby: Hagrid does indeed say "football" in the British book (I just had a look at my copy). – Hendrik Vogt Feb 27 '12 at 11:09

Hagrid appears to be very well-loved by many of the past and present the students at Hogwarts. The books primarily focus on his friendship with the trio, but Hagrid is also friendly with Fred and George, for example, and hints of his relationship to other student abound. (Think of all the owls that came in from past students in support of Hagrid when he was outed as a half-giant.)

It's not at all unreasonable that Hagrid, who is exposed to many more muggle-borns than Aurthur, and who takes the time to get to know the students, would know more about what muggle-borns enjoy as pastimes. Many of the students see him as a friend, and when talking to friends, subjects like sports come up normally. (Unlike subjects like how plugs or "escapators" work).

I would suspect that he's had plenty of muggle-born students that would have explained soccer to him. Dean Thomas can't have been the only Hogwarts student with a favorite soccer team.

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    +1 and accept for Dean Thomas example - that would be a good likelyhood! – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 25 '12 at 15:18
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    Yup: Hagrid is a teacher, and as such needs to be at least passingly familiar with the interests of the students. He probably doesn't have a clue how to actually play football, and may not even recognize a soccer ball if he saw one; but his long interaction with students has taught him that if tells a muggle-born "it's like football", the light will go on and the kid will know exactly what he's talking about. – Martha Dec 12 '12 at 16:06
  • @Martha At the time he was still a sort-of-outcast suspected of causing the (albeit accidental) death of a fellow student in his youth, not yet a teacher. That became possible only after the kids cleared him of that in their second year. – BMWurm Sep 30 '17 at 20:04
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    @BMWurm: Hagrid was "keeper of the keys"/groundskeeper, and had been for many years. He was quite familiar to students, if a bit mysterious/scary, but that probably made him more attractive to some students. Don't you remember being half-scared of the school janitor as a kid, but absolutely overjoyed when he let you "help" with some task? – Martha Oct 1 '17 at 2:25
  • @Martha Very true. – BMWurm Oct 1 '17 at 5:53

Hermione takes Muggle Studies in, if memory serves, Prisoner of Azkaban. Whilst we're not told what Muggle Studies covers, it's not hard to imagine that it would cover sporting and other cultural activities, so maybe Hagrid took Muggle Studies while he was at Hogwarts.

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Since he was expelled, Hagrid cannot do magic - not legally at least. Therefore, for a large part of his life he has been essentially a squib, at least as far as the public is concerned. It's not too outlandish for someone without the ability to do magic openly to foray into the Muggle world to procure items that are not otherwise available, thus becoming more familiar with it.

While he may not be completely comfortable, Hagrid did take Harry to Diagon Alley using the Underground. That implies a degree of familiarity not seen in e.g. the Weasleys. Knowing about football (as a proper Englishman would call soccer) is not all that strange.

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  • Whilst I have no proof for the general wizard population Ollivander definitely knows Hagrid's wand had been snapped. And certainly the entire school knew he went to Azkaban during the Chamber of Secrets for his supposed involvement in the opening (or they at least knew he went there whether for his involvement or not). Actually thinking about it I would be surprised if they did think he's a squib (though again much of this would be speculation on my part and I'm actually quite curious what they thought of him other than what we know the trio think of him and that Draco thinks he's a savage). – Pryftan Sep 18 '17 at 22:04

He lives in England.

Even if you could only get to his neck of the woods via magical trains, and we know there are many other methods, there is a flow of people and information between the worlds.

Sure wizarding folks may be ignorant of many things Muggle, but I have no problem imagining that in British culture a passing knowledge of soccer would find it's way to almost everyone.

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    Um... they don't know how to use telephone. How would soccer be any more common? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 25 '12 at 15:17
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    People talk about soccer: the teams, matches, rules. It would be in the popular media as well. People don't talk about how to use telephones. – Adam Wuerl Jan 25 '12 at 17:33
  • It's not just talking. People SHOUT about soccer, really loud. You can hear the sounds of the match kilometers away, and meet the crowds leaving the stadium after the game in the whole city. – b_jonas Jan 25 '14 at 15:36
  • @DVK-on-Ahch-To Would you prefer rugby instead? :) pottermore.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/scottish-rugby – Pryftan Sep 18 '17 at 22:05

Its very well possible that muggle-born Voldemort told him about it when they both attended Hogwarts. Not knowing anything about the wizarding world when he started attending Hogwarts, the young Tom Riddle might have tried to impress people with popular skills from his former muggle life...

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    "Very well" possible? You can't mean that honestly. In fact it's highly unlikely for a number of reasons: Tom Riddle never actually had friends with whom to practise football and become skilled, nor would he have wanted to participate in a team sport. Once at Hogwarts, he was far too glad to be away from all muggle-ish to look back and tell his schoolmates about anything in his former life. And that aside, why would he try to impress Hagrid with such a thing? He must have always felt way superior to Hagrid, and would not use sports but power/violence to impress "lesser" people. – leftaroundabout Jan 25 '12 at 16:06
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    Haha, yeah, "very well" might be overstated. Voldemort was a loner, and if he even wanted to impress any1 it wouldve been a teacher or powerful student, not a talentless Hagrid. I just wanted to state that it is easily possible for Hagrid to have heard it from muggle-born wizards while he attended Hogwarts. One half-muggle-born on Hogwarts during the time that Hagrid attended was Voldemort, its one of the few muggles of which canon states he attended with Hagrid. – Hans Wassink Jan 25 '12 at 19:25
  • @HansWassink He impressed people with manipulation, fear and display of power. And those who trusted him he gave some (even if temporary) protection as well as learning more about [mostly if not all dark] magic. And let's be honest. Riddle knowing about sports? Not only was he very against anything Muggle (hence his name change?) but he preferred the idea that he was special; he could make things move without touching them and so many other things. Dumbledore notes that he had a surprising amount of control of his magic even before he knew he was a wizard. And I doubt he orphanage had sports. – Pryftan Sep 18 '17 at 22:09

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