You can play football without a football jersey or football shorts, and you can even play without shoes. But without the ball, there is no game. The ball is the only essential piece of equipment in the game of football; it is a necessity. As a football player you understand the importance of the ball, but do you know all you need to know about selecting and purchasing the ball that is right for you and your game. For example, why is the price of one soccer ball three times that of other balls? Why do you have that one ball in the bag of 20 that you always use in practice? What gives that particular ball the great touch that makes you search for it over the others? How should you take care of a football? In general, the better the ball, the truer the flight. This means the ball goes where you intend it to when you strike it. Durability is also an important factor when choosing a ball.
32-panel is the most common and is used in the World Cup and most other major tournaments and leagues. Other designs include 18 and 26 panel. Recently, other panel shapes and configurations have come from manufacturers seeking A better look and feel and truer flight. But the number of panels usually comes down to player preference.
There are basically three types of synthetic materials used to make soccer balls: PVC (Poly Vinyl Carbonate), PU (Polyurethane) and PVC/PU mix. PVC is cheaper than PU and generally used in an inexpensive training ball. Those players seeking optimal performance generally use PU balls. Outside of price, the main difference between balls is touch. A PU ball is softer than a PVC ball and a PU cover makes a ball much livelier than PVC. It is this combination of soft touch and lively responsiveness that leads many players to choose a PU coated ball. It is usually that ball that is the first one out of the bag every time. It should also be noted that within PU and PVC families of materials there are various quality grades. Some great balls are made out of high-grade PVC.
Largely determined by the casing. As noted, PVC covers will last longer and do not scuff as easily as the softer PU, which will begin to show signs of wear more quickly. Glossy coatings are often used to aid in reducing water absorption and scuffing.
The bladder is the part of the ball that is actually filled with air. There are two primary materials used for bladders: latex and butyl. Latex bladders are softer, with a better feel, and are preferred at higher levels. Latex bladders do not hold air as well as butyl and will require more frequent inflation. Many balls use butyl valves for better air retention.
The higher the level of competition, the more the price levels will increase.
For most players 12 years and older, size 5 is the standard. Junior players often play with a size four, check with officials to make sure. Only the youngest players use size 3. Mini balls are used for skill development and for fun. A size 5 is standard for most levels of adult play. Players under 12 years of age usually use a smaller sized ball. It’s always a good idea to ask your coach or manager what size is appropriate for your age level.
The ideal inflation for your ball is 9 to 10.5 pounds of air. Any more or less could damage the ball and affect your play.
Match or training ball?
Premium inspected match balls have been tested and meet strict international match ball standards. FIFA Approved balls have passed tests on circumference, sphericity, rebound, weight, loss of pressure, and water absorption. To receive FIFA’s highest rating – “approved” – a ball must pass an additional shape and size retention test. All premium match balls are size 5. Regular match balls are great for use in a game or as high level training balls. The materials of the cover and bladder are selected for a combination of responsive performance and durability. Training Balls are all high quality with exceptional durability. Built to take the hours of work that you put into your game, training balls are designed to last on all types of fields with the best possible air retention.
Clean and dry your football after use. Better to keep balls (like other equipment) out of extreme conditions (hot, cold, or wet) and out of the direct sunlight. Note: the hot sun plus a hot car can spell the early death of your ball