With the growing love for soccer globally, more soccer balls are manufactured yearly to satiate the rising demand of teaming consumers. This is among the major reasons why both expensive and cheap soccer balls can be found in markets.
Soccer balls are produced in numerous variations, from weight to material to size. Making the right choice can be tasking in some instances especially when you don’t have a clear idea of what kind of ball you need.
- The shape, pressure, age category, and the soccer variants are important factors that determine if a soccer ball is good or bad
- Outdoor soccer balls are bad for use in indoor soccer games. Also, professional soccer balls are bad for use for children under 15 years
- The material used for making the soccer ball will determine how good it would be
Because soccer has many types, selecting the right balls that suit your preferred variant can be confusing too. For example, outdoor soccer and indoor soccer require slightly different kinds of balls.
Soccer balls are the most common soccer paraphernalia capable of confusing soccer enthusiasts. The difficulty in selecting good soccer balls lies in their similarity; even cheap soccer balls can’t be easily distinguished from expensive balls just from looks.
Professionals in one soccer variant may struggle if they have to choose a good ball from another variant. Also, soccer players in different age categories require different sizes of balls.
Using a bad soccer ball will not only drain your pocket (since you may have to change them often), but it can also be potentially dangerous. Follow us as we navigate you through the world of soccer balls so you can easily tell if your choice of balls is good or bad.
How to know if a soccer ball is good?
It doesn’t require rocket science to tell if a soccer ball is the right choice or not but it surely demands a lot of experience and expertise. Soccer ball players often think that choosing the right kind of ball is an easy task until they get overwhelmed by options.
A soccer ball that may be good for one age category may turn out bad for another. Likewise, the air pressure and the material used for making the soccer balls are important factors that must be considered.
Match and training balls are the most common types of balls in circulation. Speaking of match balls, they are specifically made for game-play so they are expected to follow the official size, weight, and shape recommended by FIFA.
Training balls are crafted for practice and fitness purposes which makes them suitable for numerous playing conditions. Such balls are designed to be more durable since they are intended to be used more often and for a longer period.
Having highlighted the two major types of soccer balls in circulation, let’s take a closer look at some of the common attributes of different soccer balls. From this information, you will be able to identify soccer balls that are good for the kind of soccer you are engaging in.
|Soccer Variation||Ball Size||Material|
|Association Football||Size 5 balls measuring 22cm (8.66 inches)||Outside is made of either PVC, leather, polyurethane, or synthetic leather. Inside is made from either butyl or latex.|
|Futsal||Size 4 measuring 20cm (7.87 inches)||The bladder is made of latex or butyl. Outside contains foam and a premium polyurethane leather cover.|
|Beach soccer||Both Sizes 3, 4, and 5 are used depending on the player’s age||Waterproofed 6-panel leather machine stitched design with a reinforced latex bladder.|
|Street soccer||Size 5 balls||Butyl or latex rubber bladder. Exterior either made of polyvinyl chloride or polyurethane.|
|Turf soccer||Size 5 balls||PU (polyurethane) or FPUG, synthetic leather, and butyl or latex bladder.|
You probably already know that regular adult soccer leagues usually play with official 32-paneled size 5 balls. Let’s now introduce you to other types of soccer balls according to their distinct soccer variations.
- Futsal balls
Futsal soccer balls are similar to outdoor soccer balls but they have a low bounce and are smaller than official outdoor balls. They usually come in size 4, even though they have a similar weight to size 5 outdoor soccer balls.
Balls meant for futsal are usually designed to develop players’ skills which is why they easily anchor to the foot when trapped. Their design makes them suitable for the hard indoor surface futsal is played on.
According to FIFA regulations, the official futsal soccer ball’s pressure should range between 8.5PSI and 15.6PSI. Anything lower or higher than that isn’t good for the game.
- Beach soccer balls
FIFA Pro Standard match ball sizes 3, 4, and 5 are suitable for all abilities and ages in beach soccer. These balls are usually designed to be lighter than balls used on outdoor grass pitches and their surfaces are softer because beach soccer is played with bare feet.
They are water resistant and painted with darker colors to make them visible on the brown sandy court. Beach soccer balls weigh 400 to 440 grams when pumped to a pressure of 0.4 to 0.6atm.
- Street soccer balls
The balls used in playing street soccer are more similar to those used in playing futsal and beach soccer than association football. They are usually designed to be resistant to harsh surfaces while remaining safe enough for players.
Size 5 balls with pressure ranging from 8.5psi to 15.6psi are usually used in playing street soccer since they are bigger and highly rated. For balls to be good for street soccer, they must be easy to inflate, bouncy, retain air, and be durable.
- Turf soccer balls
Turf soccer balls are usually designed for training and practice, they are suitable for hard ground, grass, and turf surfaces. They can withstand wear and tear from rough playing surfaces.
They are mostly size 5 and designed with less rebound. However, in small turf soccer fields (with 5 players per team), a size 4 ball is used.
They are usually heavier and less bouncy for the players, making it easier to control. This size of turf balls are quite similar to futsal.
Soccer balls are manufactured in 4 sizes for different age groups. Playing soccer balls that aren’t meant for your age category can cause you injuries.
Ball sizes differ from league to league which is why you should make adequate research before purchasing new balls. Let’s now take a closer look at the four sizes of soccer balls and their uses.
- Size 1
Size 1 balls, also called skill balls or mini soccer balls, measure 18 to 20 inches in diameter. They are suitable for toddlers who use them for fun or to improve their footwork.
- Size 2
This size of soccer balls are mostly used for skill training. They measure 20 to 22 inches in diameter. The size 2 soccer ball is rarely used because they are closely related in circumference to size 1. This explains why it is mostly omitted from most lists.
- Size 3
These balls measure 23 to 24 inches in diameter and are suitable for kids under the age of 8. They are the smallest official soccer balls and are good for casual kickabouts.
- Size 4
For training and futsal matches, size 4 soccer balls measuring 25 to 26 inches in diameter are preferable. This size of ball is also good for players between the ages of 8 to 12.
- Size 5
Size 5 soccer balls measuring 27 to 28 inches in diameter are the official size and standard of balls for professional matches. They are the hardest and good for soccer players older than 12.
Materials soccer balls are produced from will determine if they will be good for a type of soccer or not. Soccer balls are divided into two parts namely the bladder and casing.
The casing made from different materials is responsible for covering the exterior part of the ball. The bladder is usually made from elastic materials.
It is located inside the soccer ball to keep the air inside the ball from escaping while it is kicked around. Let’s have a look at other components of a standard soccer ball to give you a clearer picture.
Ball bladders are produced from either butyl or latex. Many professional players prefer using balls with latex bladders because they are usually softer.
Soccer balls having butyl bladders are also good in their way. They have a higher capacity for retaining air. This makes them less likely to deflate during or after use.
Bladders can expand to hold as much as 9-10.5 pounds of air. Soccer balls are less effective with punctured bladders and useless without them.
The casing used for making soccer balls is made from different materials including synthetic leather, PU (polyurethane), PVC (polyvinyl carbonate), or a combination of PU and PVC. The casing determines what balls can and can’t be used for.
PVC balls are usually very durable and harder on the outside which makes them good for training. PU balls have higher quality, are more responsive, and are softer to touch which makes them good for indoor soccer.
Synthetic leather balls, on the other hand, are made for professional matches and other official purposes due to their ease to control. Soccer ball cases often have glossy coatings to reduce scuffing and water damage.
Soccer balls are usually made from a combination of both pentagonal and hexagonal panels. In modern soccer balls, these panels are 32 in number and their purpose is to keep balls perfectly spherical so they can retain stability and maintain average speed over a long period.
There are numerous ways in which soccer ball panels are joined together which affects their playability and players’ performance. We have machine-stitched balls, which are lighter and good for younger players.
There are also hand-stitched balls that are more expensive, heavier, and more stable with greater aerodynamics.
We also have molded balls which involve both stitching and welding the soccer ball’s panels. Molded balls don’t absorb water or lose air, they are good for professional soccer games.
A soccer ball with a tear on its panel isn’t suitable for use and must be fixed before permanent damage renders it useless.
Common features of good soccer balls
Many visible features can tell you if a soccer ball is good for use or not. We shall be looking at some of them below.
- Stability of size and form
All FIFA-approved soccer balls must maintain stable air pressure, size, and form during play. In certain instances, a little change in air pressure, size, and form is permitted. A FIFA-certified ball mustn’t lose more than 20% of its air pressure in 72 hours.
- Right weight
Good soccer balls must weigh between 410 and 450 grams even while wet. Balls can be harmful to players if they weigh more than 450 grams and might not be stable in flight if they weigh less than 410 grams.
- Water absorption
Soccer balls must be able to maintain the same playing performance in both dry and wet weather conditions. Bad soccer balls usually absorb too much water and get heavy when it rains.
When a soccer ball is dropped from a height through a straight path, the ball should rebound to 3/4 of the initial height and also maintain nearly the same trajectory of the initial drop.
If the ball rebound is far less than 3/4 of the initial height, it simply means that the pressure in the soccer ball is questionable. In other words, the ball is deflated.
Likewise, if the trajectory of the rebound deviates widely from that of the first bounce, it means that the soccer ball is not round enough.
A soccer ball is marked defective if it isn’t perfectly round. Such balls can never maintain a perfect flight path and can’t even roll well on the ground which will make them difficult to control.
Don’t buy a soccer ball if its shape isn’t perfectly round regardless of its design.
When looking for a good soccer ball to buy, you must consider many parameters such as weather conditions, age of player, nature of playing arena, standard of play, type of soccer, etc.
After making your choice of a good soccer ball using some of the tips we highlighted in this article, endeavor to pump your new balls to the recommended pressure as stated on the ball.
Some people are quick to condemn the performance of new soccer balls because they haven’t taken the time to carefully pump such balls properly.
If you are buying soccer balls online, always try to read reviews from previous buyers before purchasing. Previous buyers can tell you if the ball you are about to purchase is good or bad as well as where it is most suitable for use.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!