Lev Yashin was born in Moscow on October 22, 1929 in a common, clearly not rich family of industrial factory worker. None of his family played professional sports.
At that time children in Russia did not stay much at home, but spent a lot of time outdoors, playing football and other sports. It was then that Yashin, playing with a ball made of twisted ropes, began to train his unusually flexible and swift body and to practice acrobatic jumps, for which later fans nicknamed him “The black Cougar” and “The black Spider”.
During the Great Patriotic war of the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany in 1941-1945, when a 13-years old Lev Yashin actively helped the Red Army to fight the enemy, working for 12 hours a day at the factory as a fitter trainee, he found the opportunity to play his favorite football. After the War, like many other Soviet football players of the time, he also played ice-hockey at the same time. As a member of Moscow ice-hockey team “Dynamo” he won the USSR Championships. He was a substitute player in the Soviet Union ice-hockey national team in 1953.
However, things went differently. Yashin chose football. As a ballproof goalkeeper, Lev Yashin made his famous sports career in Moscow football club “Dynamo”. In those years, the popularity of football in the USSR was off the charts.
Yashin started to defend the gates of Dynamo Moscow in 1953. It was a year of the centennial of English football. 10 years later he was a part of the World football team in a Match of the Century versus England team.
In 1963 Yashin received the prestigious Golden Ball Award as the best football player in Europe.
Lev Yashin died on March 20, 1990. He is buried in Moscow at the honorary Vagankovsky cemetery, next to other outstanding Russian sports figures – football players Eduard Streltsov, Igor Netto, Nikolai Starostin, ice-hockey player Alexander Ragulin, coaches Anatoly Tarasov (ice-hockey), Konstantin Beskov (football), Alexander Gomelsky (basketball) and many others.