An Easy Guide on Soccer Balls

An Easy Guide on Soccer Balls

Now it has been said that millions of individual’s love watching and playing soccer games. The exhilaration and enthusiasm that are connected with this sport offer complete delight to players of the game, as well as its throng of loyal fans.

You will notice that the game attracts many individuals; people regardless of age, sex, creed and race flock to the game and enjoy the thrill that the sport brings.

The soccer ball is the chief component of the game; the sport will not flourish without a superior ball. Watching the ball fly and bounce off of players and reach the goal is a pleasant experience. The weight and the size of a soccer ball are pre-defined according to the authorized organization’s specifications.

The size of the ball is also based on the age of the game’s players. For players who are between 8-12 years of age, they will be provided with an official match ball of size 4, while players 12 years of age and older are provided with the size 5 ball.

Companies who manufacture soccer balls are presenting their line-up in the official sizes for clubs and teams. They are producing items according to the official specs in order to sustain global benchmarks in their items. There are also art and skills involved in the making of each soccer ball model.

The manufacture of these balls relies on the wonders of the latest in soccer ball technology because a good game relies on its design and construction. Here are some of its most-discussed factors:

Cover

The best soccer balls are typically constructed with synthetic leather covering. Leather with a full-grain is more prone to taking in water, thus it is not advisable for games. Balls that are made with synthetic leather are priced higher and they usually pass standards that are provided by the NFHS or FIFA, so they can be used in tournaments.

Professional leagues make use of balls that have synthetic leather casings since they are softer and have higher quality.

Polyurethane (PU) balls also have a similar feel as synthetic leather. However, they offer better durability and are water-resistant to boot. PU balls also feature a sleek, shiny coating and can fend off abrasions and scuffing. This kind of ball is more affordable compared to the synthetic leather ones and is used by school and university teams and amateur leagues.

Polyvinyl chloride or PVC balls are more recommended for training sessions, camp use and for recreational purposes. They cannot be controlled as easily as the ones for pro use and they are not as soft too, but they still hold well, are durable and water-resistant.

Panels and stitching

If you look closely at a soccer ball, you will notice that it is built up of a channel of tiny panels that are linked together to create a sphere-shaped structure. The most common soccer ball design would have to be the 32-panel layout, and they are also used mostly in pro soccer tourneys.

But several leagues make use of balls with lesser panels, from 18-26. This is because balls with lesser panels are more aerodynamic and trouble-free to curve. Furthermore, it is said that the more panels a soccer ball, the better it is to control and play.

The stitching on best soccer balls is also an important factor in the structure of the item. It determines the quality of the product. The hand-sewn ones usually have sturdier seams—balls with higher quality make use of 5-ply polyester or a comparable thread to sew all of the panels together. Several balls make the stitching even stronger with the use of Kevlar.

For a varied approach on stitching, several soccer balls are connected together by thermal bonding. This particular design provides the ball with a smoother, sleeker surface for precision and the method also makes the ball more durable and water-resistant.

Balls with a cheaper price are often bonded with glue and they are harder compared to ones that are stitched by hand. These balls are more suggested for practice or recreational use.

Lining

The lining of a soccer ball is composed of cotton and polyester layers all connected together. This feature is responsible for providing the balls its overall feel and shape.

Quality balls have many layers and the ones used for a professional league often include 4-5 layers for better shape preservation and excellent bounce. Those that are used mainly for practice typically feature 2-3 layers, thus they can be challenging to control.

Bladder

The internal part of the soccer ball which is packed with air is known as the bladder. Bladders are typically composed of butyl or latex material. The former have a nice feel throughout and it has a better air preservation as well compared to the latter.

However, the butyl type is not as receptive whenever it is kicked. Balls with latex bladders feature a more responsive and softer feel; however, it requires inflating frequently. Even though latex bladders are not as durable as the butyl ones, the former are often higher in terms of quality.

FIFA and NFHS sanctions

The best soccer balls in the business are stamped with the mark of approval by organizations like NFHS or FIFA. These markings signify that the ball has been examined and meets the strict quality control standards of a good soccer ball. These benchmarks are balance, trajectory, bounce, shape, velocity and water uptake.

Balls with the FIFA and NFHS logos have higher quality and can be assumed to provide a consistent performance throughout a game. That being said, they are also more expensive compared to balls that have not been certified.

Indoor soccer balls

Soccer balls aimed for indoor usage are designed with similar materials and construction, and they also follow the same sizes as the ones made for outdoor play. But this kind of ball also has felt covering, which makes them different from the outdoor types.

This particular cover makes these balls more manageable on smoother surfaces. Indoor ones are also packed with foam instead of air, which minimizes bounce.

Furthermore, soccer players are also required to have a ball pump on standby. This device is used to pump up the soccer ball and it can be operated on by a foot or a hand. Routine inflation should not take over 5 minutes to do, while full-on pumps from a flat ball into a full one must not go over 10 minutes to accomplish.

The Iconic Black and White Color Ball

Why are soccer balls always black and white in color? That is a question uttered by fans and individuals who have yet to know some key points about the game. Soccer balls have indeed come a long way since the days the game was played with real animal bladders with a covering of leather patches.

These animal bladders were swapped with the more practical vulcanized rubber thanks to the efforts of Charles Goodyear. However, it was not until halfway through the 20th century that the contemporary soccer ball that we are familiar with today began to take form. Eventually, the famed black and white design took over.

A standard soccer ball that is used in the big leagues features 32 panels, 20 of them being hexagons, while 12 are pentagons. Buckyball is the name given to this design, after Richard Buckminster Fuller, an architect who at that time was making an effort to build a structure with fewer materials when he stumbled upon the shape.

The approved name for this shape is the spherical polyhedron and it is completely spherical, which was a massive improvement.

The soccer ball finally got its known black and white design for the 1970 World Cup, which was held in Mexico. As Adidas explained on their site that the ball was given the name Telstar and was improved on to make the ball more visible on television. Back in the day, televisions were mostly black and white and a soccer ball that didn’t have any markings on it could be a challenge to pinpoint.

These days, televisions are now colored, thus it paved the way for soccer balls with more variety in terms of markings. For instance, the Jabulani which was used during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. However, there are plenty of coaches and players who still preferred the iconic Telstar.

Purchasing Soccer Balls

There are plenty of places where one can buy a soccer ball and they range from sports gear/equipment warehouse stores, second-hand sports gear stores and online retailers. One can also find soccer gear in the classified ads section of the newspaper and garage sales. There are indeed plenty of products to choose from these days.

However, if you plan on buying in brick and mortar stores, expect that you will be limited to purchasing what that specific store has in stock at the moment. But if you want more items to choose from, you can opt for online shopping. Here are 5 suggested soccer balls for you.

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Product

Price

Rating

   adidas Performance Brazuca Top Glider Soccer Ball, White/Night Blue/Multicolor, 4  $  4.1/5
   SELECT 02-750-0 Numero 10 Soccer Ball, White, Size 5  $  4.2/5
   Brine Phantom Soccer Ball, Black, Size 5  $$  3.9/5
   adidas Performance Euro 16 Official Match Soccer Ball, White/Bright Blue/Night Indigo, 5  $$$  4.0/5
   Select Sport America Royale Soccer Ball, 4, White/Royal Blue  $$  3.8/5
   adidas Performance X Glider II Soccer Ball, Solar Red/Silver Metallic, Size 4  $  4.6/5
   Mikasa Serious Soccer Ball (Green/White, Size 5)  $  4.4/5
   Nike Premiere League Pitch Soccer Ball Size 5  $$  4.8/5
   adidas Performance Ace Glider Soccer Ball, Silver Metallic/Black/Solar Gold, 5  $  4.1/5
   Nike Premier League Pitch Soccer Ball (Red/Silver/Black, 5)  $  4.1/5

Adidas D86688 Brazuca Replica Top Glider Soccer Ball

The Adidas Brazuca Top Glider is considered to be one of the world’s best soccer balls. Due to its popularity, replicas were made at more affordable prices. While there are good replicas out there, this one did not work out.

The genuine Brazuca delivers excellent performance throughout a game and it is provided with a unique design that has made playing the game refreshing. As for the replica, it is not recommended for team practice and pro games and it is best left at home.

Pros

  • Takes after the original
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Did not match the performance of the original
  • Poor stitching and workmanship
  • Paint peeled off after a few uses

Select Numero 10 Soccer Ball

The Numero 10 by Select is designed and created for a player’s top notch performance on the field. It is manufactured with a hand-stitched synthetic leather casing and is a club and a training level model that provides outstanding touch, flight, and durability. It features the brand’s Zero-wing latex bladder and butyl valve which promises to maintain the ball’s shape and the best possible bounce.

It is also approved by the NCAA, the NFHS, and the IMS. If you want to test or hone your skills, you can never go wrong with the Numero 10.

Pros

  • Available in sizes 4 and 5
  • Can be used by kids, teens and adults
  • The size 5 is approved by the NFHS, NCAA, and the IMS
  • Made with durable synthetic leather for smoother play and durability
  • Supported by a 2-year warranty

Cons

  • Size 4 is not approved by the NFHS, NCAA, and the IMS

Brine Phantom Soccer Ball

The Brine Phantom has been praised by soccer fans due to it being a ball that will meet both beginner and professional players’ needs. If you look closely at the ball, you will see that it has been structured with careful accuracy. Due to its outstanding form, players will have maximum control over the item, and in turn, play a great game.

The materials that were used to make this model are top-rated. The ball comes in sizes 4 and 5 and is also supported by a 3-year warranty, which means the company has plenty of faith in the quality of this product.

Pros

  • Can cater to the needs of amateurs and pros
  • Has PU-finished, abrasion-resistant synthetic leather cover for the optimal durability
  • Has NFHS approval
  • Available in sizes 4 and 5
  • Can be customized according to customer’s specifications

Cons

  • None at the moment

Adidas UEFA Euro 2016 Official Match Soccer Ball

In this year’s UEFA Euro Championship, which was held in France, Portugal took the trophy for the very first time. The official ball for the tournament was Adidas’ Beau Jeu and it is wonderfully constructed in a way that the pros will appreciate its workings. Now you too can play like your idols by buying this model.

The ball has exceeded each and every FIFA test in terms of circumference, rebound, weight and water uptake. It has a thermally bonded, faultless surface which allows the ball to fly on a more foreseeable trajectory, minimize water absorption and allow an improved feel of the ball.

Pros

  • Features excellent feel and responsiveness
  • Has textured surface in order to provide good grip and control
  • Smooth-sailing, predictable flight
  • Backing, cover and bladder are made from high-grade materials
  • Durable and able to resist scratches and water

Cons

  • May be expensive for some

Select Sport America Royale Soccer Ball

Select’s Royale soccer ball features an outer cover with a 32-panel PU synthetic leather design that is hand-sewn. It also features the company’s Zero-wing latex bladder for a great bounce. The ball is approved by the NCAA, NFHS, and the IMS, thus it makes for excellent match balls in high schools and universities.

It is also available in a variety of sizes and it meets all the standards required for a tournament ball. The Royale provides a top notch performance as seen on customer reviews and is known to be nearly resistant to all sorts of field and weather conditions, thus making it into a superior all-weather ball.

Pros

  • Hand-stitched design makes for better durability
  • PU synthetic leather cover makes for softer yet firm touch and grip
  • Meets all IMS, NCAA, and NFHS standards
  • Has excellent predictability
  • Solid, high-quality construction

Cons

  • A bit heavy according to some customers
  • Scuffs easily, so it would be better if it was available in more colorways
  • Making the ball dip and curve may be a challenge to some

Conclusion

Soccer, or according to its enthusiastic fans, football is a sport that is appreciated by individuals of different ages all over the world. Professional global soccer leagues and the FIFA World Cup draw in a progressing amount of fans every year.

The most important equipment in a soccer game is a soccer ball that has the proper size and features. These balls are made with 2 standard kinds of material: the rubberized leather or the synthetic leather kind. Furthermore, soccer balls are also grouped into 3 categories—practice balls, match balls, and professional league balls.

Practice balls tend to have lower quality covers and they do not have ornamental graphics. They are as utilitarian as they come. They are made to be utilized in a game frequently and are also more affordable compared to match balls and pro league used balls.

Match balls, on the other hand, are the same as professional league balls, but their sizes and shapes are delimited closely to correspond to league specifications. As for professional league balls, this kind is built from a thicker, superb quality leather and always comes in a variety of vivid colors, so fans from a distance will see them clearly.

Make sure that you are going to purchase the right soccer ball for a fruitful season. Whether you are practicing on your own, preparing a youth league, a high school roster or an adult team playing recreational football, you have to buy one that will correspond well with what the team and the game needs.