With soccer staying healthy as the world’s most popular sport, the soccer ball market has flourished with balls featuring creative colors, different sizes, and unique exterior materials. For players of all shapes and sizes, a distinctly colorful soccer ball can add a new level of enjoyment that will boost everyone’s excitement when playing the sport.
Before buying a soccer ball, it is important to understand all the differences in sizes and features that set each ball apart from similar models. Soccer balls can range from your standard cheaply-made soccer ball that won’t last longer than a few months before showing signs of deterioration to the expensive masterpieces from companies like Nike that you see every weekend in leagues all across Europe.
How to choose a soccer ball?
Choosing the best soccer ball depends primarily on the skill level and age of the player. With children starting soccer as earlier as the age of 3, there are specific balls that work well for their size and skill level.
What size soccer ball should I get?
There are four sizes of soccer balls that help bridge a player’s development from youth to adult level.
Size 1: A size 1 soccer ball measures 18-20 inches in diameter and is primarily made to help the player sharpen their footwork and ball control skills. Most size 1 balls have specific uses by coaches such as fundamental drills or games with a limited number of players in a smaller playing area.
Size 3: A size 3 ball is the introductory soccer ball for most youth leagues. Until the soccer player reaches the age of 8 years old, you can expect that they will be playing with a size 3 ball. The Junior level soccer ball has a diameter of 23-24 inches.
Size 4: A size 4 soccer ball is roughly 25-26 inches in diameter and is intended to carry your soccer player through their 8-12 years of age.
Size 5: Finally, the largest soccer ball, made primarily for adults and high-level amateur leagues, is a size 5 soccer ball. With a diameter of 27-28 inches, size 5 soccer balls are what you will see on the pitch in MLS and English Premier League matches.
Best Soccer Balls
Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball
Coming in a variety of sizes to accommodate players at any level, Wilson has set the bar high for balls with a classic look that performs at a high-level. The Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball couples machine-sown stitching with a durable synthetic leather cover to provide a soft touch around the goal.
A high-performing rubber bladder on the interior of the Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball does a great job at keeping the balls round and with superior response. The ball also stands out with the great contrast of the black and white panels that are accented by silver trim.
If you are looking for a standard black and white soccer ball that has that distinguished classic look but also performs well in practice and games, then the Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball is a terrific choice.
Under Armour DESAFIO 395 Soccer Ball
With the flair and high-quality that you expect from Under Armour, the DESAFIO 395 Soccer Ball stands above the pack for its durability and softness. Using the company’s patented TOUCHSKIN technology, the DESAFIO 395 has an exceptional feel for players at any position.
On the interior, the ball’s high rebound rubber bladder assists with the improved touch and control of shots. An EVA foam layer also compliments the ball’s overall softness that players feel enhances the response of this soccer ball on shots and ball flight.
Made from 100% Polyurethane, the Under Armour DESAFIO 395 Soccer Ball comes in a variety of colors that will have younger players excited for any drill or practice situation.
GlowCity Light Up LED Soccer Ball
The GlowCity Light Up LED Soccer Ball is one of the most enjoyable soccer balls because it lights up when you play. This size 5 ball is bright enough to be seen from a few hundred yards away making it perfect for the casual nighttime soccer game.
The lights on the GlowCity Light Up LED Soccer Ball are activated at the moment of impact. Powered with easily replaceable batteries, this LED soccer ball provides hours of enjoyment for soccer players of all ages. In addition to its spectacular look, the ball has a nylon wound cover, so you can rest assured that this ball will maintain elite durability.
Installed with two batteries that power the ball to stay lit for up to 40 seconds, the GlowCity Light Up LED Soccer Ball is a dynamically fun way to play the great game.
adidas Performance Starlancer V Soccer Ball
The adidas Performance Starlancer V Soccer Ball is perfect for the beginning soccer player because it is durable through its high-quality construction and design. The nylon-wound cover makes it easy for the beginner to control while dribbling as well as offer premium response when they fire up a shot.
A high-performing internal bladder helps the adidas Performance Starlancer V Soccer Ball round for predictable response and exceptional gameplay. Ideal for younger players, the adidas Performance Starlancer V Soccer Ball is made to handle the punishment but always keep its shine.
Machine stitched, the adidas Performance Starlancer V Soccer Ball will last for years with proper maintenance as the cover of the Starlancer V has been treated to resist scrapes and abrasions. Available in a bright pink or highlighted green, the ball is adored by both boys and girls soccer teams.
American Challenge Brasilia Soccer Ball
The American Challenge Brasilia Soccer Ball is an excellent ball for young players who primarily play and practice on grass. With sizes ranging from 2 through 5, the Brasilia ball is very affordable and perfect for the coach that needs to purchase a few durable soccer balls before the season gets started.
The ball is constructed with the standard 32 panels, all stitched together to create a ball that has ball flight that stays true with proper inflation. And that is one thing you’ll need to keep an eye on as the American Challenge Brasilia Soccer Ball has a hybrid SR bladder that holds air in 2-4 week sections before it deflates for easier storage.
The company has also designed a size 2 Brasilia ball to help with foot coordination and ball control. Intended for play only on grass fields, the slick exterior of the American Challenge Brasilia Soccer Ball helps keep the ball clean and minimizes maintenance time.
adidas Performance X Glider II
Built primarily for the wear and tear of everyday practice and drills, the adidas Performance X Glider II is excellent for the training soccer player. To make sure the Glider II can withstand hundreds of kicks each day, the company has gone to great lengths to create a cover that is made from high-quality materials that resist scuffs and abrasions.
In a variety of sizes, the Gilder II ball is machine stitched with an inner nylon-wound lining that boosts performance and assists in durability.
The soft cover of the adidas Performance X Glider II also gives a little cushion to a beginning player who don’t work well with the harder soccer balls that more advanced levels are accustomed to playing with during games. The softer ball does help with keeping kids safer when a young player is hit in the face or upper body.
Durable and built for long-lasting performance, the adidas Performance X Glider II is a terrific ball for amateur players at all skill levels.
The best soccer balls are made from premium materials that take a company’s dedication in creating a long-lasting ball that works well during practice or play. Whether you are looking for the soccer-loving adult in your life or finding a ball to help your child fall in love with the world’s most popular sport, the best soccer balls will never disappoint in the pursuit of a fun time on the field.
Soccer Ball FAQ’S
1) Question: How is a soccer ball made?
Answer: There are three different ways that soccer balls are constructed. Each provides certain advantages that make them viable for mass production.
The first way is what is known as a molded soccer ball. Molded soccer balls are usually the cheapest version of a ball available to the public. They are made with synthetic materials and “molded” into the shape of a soccer ball throughout production.
The second method is a stitched soccer ball. A full-size soccer ball has an exterior cover that is usually constructed with 32 panels that are stitched together. This allows the manufacturer to utilize higher-quality materials to create their cover. In most professional leagues, the soccer balls are stitched together.
Finally, the latest technology used on the soccer ball is through a thermal molding process that glues the panels together to make the cover. In the last two World Cup competitions, the soccer balls went through a process where the covers had a design where pieces came together via gluing by connecting them like a puzzle. These balls are more aerodynamic making them the fastest soccer balls on the planet.
2) Question: Who made the first soccer ball?
Answer: The first versions of what would later become the soccer ball are believed to have been created in the mid-200s B.C. timeline. The Chinese invented a ball made from animal skin that they used to kick between two poles in a game that eventually morphed into soccer.
The person responsible for the invention of the first modern soccer ball that most resembles the balls we use today is Charles Goodyear. Goodyear originally patented vulcanized rubber in 1836; this would be the material that he would later use on the first soccer ball in 1855. Goodyear’s rubber invention allowed the soccer ball to take a round shape with inflation. Previous soccer balls had to use pig bladders for the interior, but those never could stay round as their shapes were always unpredictable.
3) Question: Why is a soccer ball black and white?
Answer: The black and white color combination on soccer balls became standard because of the contrast the soccer ball had with green grass. It was necessary for the ball to have better contrast with the grass not only for players on the field but because television viewers were having difficulty seeing the soccer ball during televised games.
The ball was first changed to the standard black and white color scheme for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
4) Question: What shape is a soccer ball?
Answer: A soccer ball is round so that it can continually move; whether it has been kicked or thrown, the round shape will keep the ball rolling, so there is never a break in the action of playing the game. Round soccer balls also make the ball, when in flight, more predictable for players to judge kick speed and shot shape.
In recent World Cups, the soccer balls were made with a new design that involved gluing exterior panels together to make the “roundest soccer ball ever.” As a result, the new design made ball flight unpredictable, and players and goalkeepers complained in unison that they had no idea where the ball was going after it was kicked.
5) Question: What is a soccer ball made out of?
Answer: There are several components to a standard soccer ball. Starting with the interior, the first ingredient in making a soccer ball begins with the bladder. The bladder, made from rubber, holds air and gives the soccer ball that bounce that propels itself after it has been kicked or when it lands on the grass.
Covering the bladder is a lining made from polyester or a laminate that provides strength as well as assist with the bounce of the soccer ball. Professional soccer balls may have up to four different types of lining on the interior of their league’s specific ball.
Finally, the cover is either molded, stitched or thermally molded with the help of industrial-strength glue. Soccer balls no longer have genuine leather exteriors because they soaked up too much water. Companies found that covers made with synthetic materials did a better job at keeping water away from the interior of the soccer ball. Most covers in modern soccer balls are made with polyurethanes and polyvinyl chloride.
6) Question: How to inflate a soccer ball?
Answer: Soccer balls are inflated by inserting a lubricated needle, that is attached to an air pump, into the ball’s valve and then engaging the pump until the ball is at a proper level of inflation.
Before inflating, you always want to be aware of the ball’s recommended PSI (this is a measurement for air pressure). Over-inflating a soccer ball can cause damage by weakening the bladder because it is being overextended.
Underinflating a soccer ball can also have negative consequences because it will not respond to being kicked like it is should be when properly inflated. It is best to regularly check the ball’s PSI with a gauge and maintain a level that exists inside the range provided by the manufacturer.
7) Question: How to deflate a soccer ball?
Answer: Deflating a soccer ball is incredibly simple. First, you take a lubricated ball needle and insert it into the ball’s valve. If your needle is attached to a pump, then remove the pump first. Once the needle is inserted into the ball, you will hear the hissing sound of air being released from the internal bladder.
What you do not want to do is squeeze the ball while the air is being released. This puts tremendous pressure on the bladder of the soccer ball as well as potentially damage the needle and valve.
Once the ball has exhausted its natural push of the air from the ball, then you can gently press the ball down into a flat shape that makes it easier for storage.
8) Question: How much does a soccer ball weigh?
Answer: The size of the soccer ball determines the weight of the ball. For example, a size 5 ball, that you would find being used at a professional match, weighs one pound or 16 ounces when inflated. This weight range goes gradually down to the smaller skill balls, known as size 1 or 2, usually weigh less than 10 ounces.
9) How does air pressure affect a soccer ball?
Answer: Air pressure affects a soccer ball significantly because it creates the overall shape and response of the soccer ball. By over-inflating the soccer ball, you damage the bladder through overextension causing it to become weak. Under-inflating a soccer ball also produces a poor response when it is kicked or thrown during practice or gameplay.
10) Question: How to clean a soccer ball?
Answer: You never want to submerge or soak a soccer ball in water due to the possibility that the ball’s interior would take on fluid. Instead, if you need to clean the cover of your soccer ball, pour a little dish soap into some lukewarm water. Take a cloth and dip the towel into the soapy water. Then apply to the affected areas that need to be cleaned. Once you are done washing, then take a dry cloth to the exterior to remove any excess water from the surface.
11) Question: How long does a soccer ball last?
Answer: With proper care, a soccer ball can perform at a high level for a few years. A long-lasting life ultimately depends on how you maintain the soccer ball. If left outside in the elements, soccer balls don’t last very long. Instead, it is vitally essential to routinely make sure that the exterior of the soccer ball is clean and that the air pressure on your ball stays at the proper level throughout use.
Never stand or sit on your soccer ball as that is a great way to reduce the strength of the bladder on the interior of the ball. Another activity that is popular but should be avoided when caring for a soccer ball is never repeatedly to kick it against a wall. This will harm the cover of the ball over time and reduce the predictability of the ball flight.