What Should I Look for When Purchasing a Soccer Ball?

What are soccer balls made out of?

When determining how to choose a soccer ball, you’ll want to understand a few things about how they’re constructed. Today’s soccer balls are made of either polyvinyl carbonate (PVC) or polyurethane (PU).

  • PVC balls are affordable and are great for playing indoor or street soccer due to their extra durability.
  • PU balls see a lot of action in elite competitions and tend to provide better responsiveness and control off the foot.

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What size soccer ball should I buy?

  • All soccer players over the age of 12 use a size five ball.
  • Typically, young players from ages 8 to 12 use a size four ball
  • Children under the age of 7 use a size three.

Keep in mind that league rules concerning ball size can vary based on location. Size one or mini balls are excellent for developing footwork and dribbling skills.

What’s inside a soccer ball?

The inside of the soccer ball contains the bladder, a chamber that’s filled with air to keep the ball inflated. The bladder is usually made of butyl or latex. While butyl soccer ball bladders possess excellent air retention, manufacturers prefer latex bladders for high-end soccer balls due to their soft, and preferred feel by players.

How much air does a soccer ball typically need?

Most balls need 9 to 10.5 pounds of air. The amount of required inflation is listed beside the valve on the ball. Over- or underinflating a soccer ball can damage the panels and bladder, while having a significant effect on how the ball moves and bounces.

What’s the purpose of the panels on a soccer ball?

  • A majority of soccer balls have 32 individual panels, though 18- and 24-panel constructions also get plenty of play.
  • Thicker, more expensive panels provide extra durability and give the ball a better feel.
  • Fewer panels equal a ball that curves more when kicked because it has less stability.
  • Soccer ball panels are either stitched (hand-sewn in high-quality balls; machine-stitched in mid-priced options) or glued on the lining (harder feel; mostly used in practice balls).

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How can I take care of my soccer ball?

Cleaning the ball once a week can go a long way in making it last. Dirt and grit from grass, turf and indoor courts eat away at the panels. Leaving the ball in extreme weather conditions can also affect the bladder and its ability to hold air. We also recommend players avoid sitting on the ball; even a small child can warp the ball and turn it from round into an egg-shaped ball.

What are the different types of soccer balls?

  • World-Class Match Ball: The governing body of world soccer, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) typically has to put their stamp of approval on match balls for most major leagues and international competitions. Balls that earn FIFA’s approval pass a series of rigorous tests to determine air retention, performance, water absorption and flight. The official match balls of the World Cup, Champions League, English Premier League, Major League Soccer, and almost all major leagues throughout the world are FIFA-approved world-class match balls.
  • Match Ball: While world-class match balls are at the top of the food chain, match balls are perfectly fine for use in official games. These balls receive approval from the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and they frequently see action in high school and college games.
  • Training Ball: Durable and built to last, training balls are ideal for all skill levels. Training balls are generally lighter than a match ball, and do not have to meet the requirements set by the NCAA, NFHS or FIFA.
  • Futsal: Smaller and little heavier than a size five, these balls are for a version of indoor soccer played on a hard court surface, with no walls or boards. Like a mini-ball, Futsal balls are excellent for building skill. They barely bounce and require a great deal of control to effectively handle.
  • Rubber Ball: A great choice for beginners when playing in the backyard or on the playground.

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