At first glance, it may seem that there is no more trivial task than buying a soccer ball. However, you will be amazed to learn how great the variety of balls is. They differ in size and weight, in the material of the tire and camera, in the number of panels, in the playing surface for which they are designed, in aerodynamic properties… And this is if you do not take into account the coloring and design. But do not despair, after reading this article, you will get an idea of how to pick up the ball, based on what you need.
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What are the sizes of footballs?
Below are the weight standards for footballs of various sizes and classes.
- Size 5: 430-450 grams | Circumference 68-70 cm
- Size 4: 375-385 grams | Circumference 63-66 cm
- Size 3: 320-340 grams | Circumference 58-60 cm
- Size 2: Practically not used
- Size 1: 180-220 grams | Circumference 40-42 cm
- Pro Futsal: 420-430 grams | Circumference 62-64 cm
There are also lightweight variations of standard-sized balls designed so that children gradually and painlessly get used to large “adult” balls.
We select the size of a soccer ball for age
The primary aspect that needs to be understood when choosing a ball is the age of those who will play it.
- For a child under 8 years old, you should buy a children’s soccer ball of the 3rd and 4th size weighing from 290 to 350 grams.
- For the older category from 8 to 12 years, you should take a size 4 weighing from 290 to 350 grams.
- Boys over 12 years old and adult football players are recommended to purchase a standard size 5. The balls should have a weight of 420-450 grams.
Also, it is recommended to listen to the coach’s advice if you purchase a ball for training at a football school.
Selection of the size and weight of a soccer ball for the age of the player.
|Player’s age (years)||Ball Size||Ball Weight (grams)|
Quite often we hear from customers such a question: “Which manufacturer produces the best balls?”. Also, it is often asked about the expediency of paying exorbitantly for an elite brand ball. After reading the information below, you can give answers to the questions yourself.
The concept of “the best” in relation to footballs in general is extremely vague. We already know that some balls are better suited for certain coatings, others are distinguished by aerodynamic properties, and others are more durable and wear-resistant.
Among the variety of brands, two stand out. These are Adidas and Nike. These manufacturers annually spend huge amounts of money on new developments and improvements to existing models. The leading football leagues and world championships prefer one of these two.
Adidas balls have been played at all World Football Championships since 1963, as well as in the UEFA European Champion League. The hallmark of the Adidas company is the Finale soccer ball, which they designed specifically for the Champions League, it has panels in the shape of stars.
Nike soccer balls are used by the highest-rated European and world championships. The English Premier League has been using Nike balls for the longest time, back in 2000, the Nike Merlin ball became associated with the English Football Championship.
The list of leading manufacturers of soccer balls also includes such “players” of the market as: Mitre, Puma, Select. If you purchase a professional model from these manufacturers, you can be sure that their balls will exactly meet your expectations. However, economy class models are produced more for the purpose of brand promotion.
See the Adidas Finale OMB Kyiv soccer ball review
Price. How much does the ball you need cost?
The price framework for footballs is very vague, however, we have divided them into main categories based on cost and purpose. In order to save money, we recommend that you keep an eye on promotional offers and sales in sports stores.
Balls for children.
For an inexpensive Adidas or Nike soccer ball for training in a junior football school, you will have to pay about $ 15-25. Within this amount, you will also be able to purchase balls from the lightweight 290 and 350 gram series. If you pay attention to second-tier brands, such as Ronex, you can buy a decent quality ball in the aisles for $ 10-15.
Balls for amateur tournaments among adults.
Since in this case the balls have to take on much stronger blows, the materials from which they are made must have incomparably greater strength. In order for you not to have to buy new balls too often, it is worth stopping at an option with a price of at least $ 20-25. Nike has such balls belonging to the Strike series, and Adidas has Top Training.
Balls for training professional teams.
For this category of balls, the lower limit of the cost is $ 35-45. These are soccer balls with a high coating density, a chamber pressure of 1 atmosphere and the highest FIFA – PRO certification. These models are often the best options to buy, so to speak – price / quality. A series of professional balls from Adidas is called Competition, and Nike balls of this quality are called Magia.
Official “matchballs” of major tournaments (OMB).
Current models will cost you at least $ 120, and you can buy an “out of fashion” ball on sale for at least $ 80-90. These soccer balls are played by all the stars, all the advanced world championships. Their quality is at the “maximum”.
Standards and Conformances
You can write so much about testing footballs and their standardization systems that five pages may not be enough. Not wanting to load you with unnecessary information, we will briefly tell you about the main thing.
Since official matches are held by various organizations (federations and associations), it is very logical that it is their standards that determine the requirements for playing equipment. To date, the most common standards for soccer balls are FIFA Quality, as well as IMS.
FIFA PRO QUALITY
Soccer balls of the highest quality are certified with the “FIFA PRO QUALITY” sign. This certification puts forward the most stringent requirements for the quality of balls. For example, the weight of a size 5 ball should fit into a frame between 420-445 grams, the pressure in the chamber is at least 0.8 atmospheres and the circumference is 68.5 – 69.5 cm. Pressure loss is allowed within 20% in 3 days. The rebound from the metal coating from a height of 2 meters at 20 degrees Celsius should have a value between 135 and 155 see PDF specification.
The certification of “FIFA QUALITY”, without “PRO”, despite the more loyal requirements for high-quality footballs, still remains the standard that the whole world is equal to and is associated with the virtues of trustworthy. In accordance with the requirements of FIFA QUALITY, the weight of the ball of the 5th size should fit into the framework between 410-450 grams, the pressure in the chamber is not less than 0.8 atmospheres and the circumference is 68 – 70 cm. Pressure loss is allowed within 25% in 3 days. The rebound from the metal coating from a height of 2 meters at 20 degrees Celsius should have a value between 125 and 155 see PDF specification.
IMS – International Match Standard
The IMS standard, contrary to popular belief, is also the brainchild of FIFA and it is completely identical to the above “FIFA QUALITY” standard. The difference is that soccer balls with FIFA QUALITY certifications are allowed to be used in confederate competitions under the auspices of FIFA. Also, for the use of the “International Match Standard” brand, the manufacturer does not pay anything except the cost of the services of the certification institute, so such balls are often cheaper than with the “FIFA QUALITY” logo, for the use of which you still need to pay FIFA. In a nutshell, IMS = FIFA QUALITY, balls with such a logo are cheaper but not worse, and are not allowed for official games. PDF specification.
Balls for different surfaces
Having decided on the age of the players and the status of the games, it is very important not to forget about what kind of coverage they will take place on the fields. Buying an expensive official “matchball” to play on the asphalt of a school stadium is like throwing money away. Yes, such balls are made of the highest quality materials, but they are designed for playing on a natural grass lawn and will quickly become unusable in yard conditions. Therefore, the choice of the ball for certain surfaces should be approached rationally.
The ideal surface for playing football is, of course, natural grass. All top-level matches take place on such a surface. Accordingly, elite class balls are produced for this type of football field.
Balls for natural grass are produced more than all other varieties combined, so there is plenty to choose from. This category offers all possible sizes from No. 1 to No. 5 and weight variations of balls from 200 to 450 grams. When choosing such a ball, you should focus on the age of the player and, in fact, the budget.
Technologies do not stand still and modern football grounds in large and not very large cities acquire football fields covered with artificial turf. Such a coating does not need such careful care as natural grass, and the latest generations of such sites are completely comparable to natural ones in operation.
For all its details with a natural coating, artificial grass still has its own characteristics. Almost all modern balls of a class above semi-pro are prepared for use on high-quality, “soft” fields with artificial grass. Budget balls can unpredictably accelerate when touching the surface and have an unusual bounce.
Models for hard coatings
Asphalt, soil, synthetic “carpet” — all these types of surfaces adversely affect the condition of balls, therefore, specialized models should be chosen for playing on such playgrounds. Fortunately, the manufacturers took care of the shells, which will happen to ride on such hard, wearing surfaces.
Different brands have different approaches to achieving results in this direction. For example, in the assortment of Adidas balls there are Street models (a ball made of special reinforced rubber, suitable for playing on asphalt and soil), All Around (a ball with a reinforced tire for playing on artificial surfaces).
However, Nike uses a different approach. Nike X ball models are equipped with a durable polyvinyl chloride tire, the panels of which are connected by manual seam technology. All this made it possible to get a relatively cheap and very wear-resistant ball at the exit, which you can safely “drive” both on asphalt in the yard and on an abandoned rural field.
Balls intended for indoor play should undoubtedly be devoted to a separate block in our article. This is done in order to give you as complete an idea as possible about the distinctive characteristics of balls for the “younger brother” of big football.
Many buyers believe that by choosing a size 4 ball, they automatically solve the problem with a ball for playing on the parquet, and already in the very first game with a new ball, they are terribly disappointed. Yes, futsal balls are as close as possible to size 4 in their dimensions. However, its main difference lies in the features of the rebound from the surface. The Select futsal ball chamber contains special materials that can significantly reduce their “bounce”, which provides a higher level of comfort when playing on small indoor playgrounds. The material from which the Adidas futsal ball tire is made also has a slightly different composition, which allows the ball to “behave” better on a wooden surface.
An excellent article about the selection of football shoes for different types of fields: “How to choose the right football boots? Advises 4football.”
Soccer Ball Classes
Elit and Pro
The leading examples of the football industry are played in top-level matches: World and European Championships, European Cups, the highest divisions of national leagues. All technological innovations are presented in such balls, they are made of first-class materials. Official balls of such tournaments undergo rigorous tests for compliance with FIFA standards and have the appropriate marking on the tire.
Based on the fact that players need to get used to the balls used in the most important official matches, professional football clubs purchase similar models for the training process. At a lower level of this hierarchy are models designed for training sessions. In most cases, they are no different from their elite counterparts, but they may lack the marking of compliance with FIFA standards and some innovative solutions. That, however, does not prevent balls from this category from being an excellent choice for both professionals and players of the team from the amateur league.
At the bottom of this “pyramid” are the so-called souvenir balls. Their appearance often completely copies the “top” originals, however, materials of incomparably lower quality were used in their production, so you are unlikely to enjoy playing with such a ball. However, if you buy your young talent his first ball in his life, this option will be quite a reasonable solution. The child will surely be very happy with such a gift, and you will not have to pay a large amount of money for the ball, which is important in a crisis.
Leather or synthetic, which ball top material is better?
When faced with the question “what is the ball made of?”, ordinary people often mean the material from which its outer layer is made – the tire. The modern football ball manufacturing industry uses the following materials for the manufacture of tires: polyurethane (PU) / polyurethane (TPU), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), rubber and leather.
Tire assembly. Manual seams, Machine seams, Thermo bonding.
There are no clear rules and standards in this regard. Manufacturers use different panel connection technologies.
- The most reliable method is considered to be a thermoshow, it provides a tighter contact between the panels, almost completely eliminating the ingress of moisture inside the ball.
- Further, according to the degree of reliability, the methods of “stitching with sizing seams” and “manual stitching” follow.
- The panels in the balls of the most basic level are connected by a machine seam.
The tire. Leather or Polyurethane?
The top layer of the soccer ball in contact with the boot and the field is called a tire, and durability and comfort in use depend on its strength, elasticity and ability to resist getting wet.
- The most commonly used material in the production of soccer balls is polyurethane. It is used to produce both balls of the highest class and the average price category. Higher density polyurethane is used in more expensive balls. Such balls are extremely durable.
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and polypropylene are mainly used in ball models designed for street conditions, asphalt and dirt playgrounds of urban neighborhoods and schools. These materials have a lower price than polyurethane and are more often used in inexpensive ball models.
- Many buyers are still sure that the best balls are made of genuine leather. But this is not the case, they absorb moisture much more actively, retain their shape poorly and fly less unpredictably than synthetic balls. Today, leather balls can be found only in the form of souvenirs from no-name companies.
Lining. What’s between the camera and the tire?
There are a number of inner layers between the tire and the camera, which are called linings or intermediate layers. They make soccer balls more comfortable, give better sphericity.
Various manufacturers are actively experimenting with the materials and structure of the linings, not particularly willing to inform customers about it, considering it something like a production secret. It is known, however, that modern elite-level balls have a maximum of 4 layers.
Taking advantage of the fact that it is possible to check the internal structure of the ball only by opening it, the cunning manufacturers of low-grade balls manage to hide the terrible quality of the tire due to more internal layers.
Camera. Latex or butyl?
Considerable attention is paid to the cameras of footballs, which are their “core”. They are made of either latex or butyl. It cannot be argued that one of these materials is definitely better than the other, however:
- Elite-level balls most often have latex chambers. Which, however, have one significant drawback – they have to be pumped up more often.
- Butyl is also used to make valves, however, the most expensive balls are equipped with silicone valves.
How to pump footballs correctly?
In order to properly pump a soccer ball, you do not need to be a qualified engineer or mechanic. It is enough to have an easy-to-use pump for a soccer ball with a special needle.
The only important recommendation in this regard is the use of oil for inflating balls. A couple of drops of such oil before pumping the projectile will ensure smooth penetration of the needle into the valve and prevent it from drying out, which will allow maintaining optimal pressure for much longer, and this, in turn, will favorably affect the durability of the ball.
The ball should be lowered by removing the needle from the pump and inserting it into the valve without exerting extra effort. If the air does not escape through the needle, press the ball on the sides parallel to the needle location to prevent damage to the camera.
important! In no case should you completely lower the balls, the panels of which are connected using thermal seam technology. In order to prevent deformation of the internal structure and seams, the projectile must constantly maintain a spherical shape.
How to check the pressure in the ball?
Manufacturers’ recommendations regarding the pressure in the chambers are usually indicated on the tire of the ball. They should be followed exactly. There are special devices for monitoring the pressure in the balls, they are called pressure gauges.
The following are the generally accepted pressure standards for footballs of different sizes:
- Size 5 – pressure 0.8-1.0 bar
- Size 4 – pressure 0.6-0.8 bar
- Mini football ball – pressure 0.5-0.7 bar
In which country do I make the best soccer balls?
Soccer ball producing countries such as Pakistan, China, Vietnam and Thailand are among the leading exporters in this industry.
However, one should not take the country from which this ball came as an important criterion when buying it. Leading brands fully control the production process, so the quality of the branded Adidas ball from Vietnam should not be questioned. Focus mainly on the purchase of branded products – this is the key to a quality purchase.
Match Ball Replica VS Copy. The main myth.
A very important point. Many buyers are afraid to buy soccer balls with the inscription Match Ball Replica because they think that this is not a quality product, a copy, a stick, etc. Wrong! Replicas manufacturers call their balls, which repeat the design of the most expensive ball in the series, but the replicas are branded products. Adidas company produces 5 ball models in one design.
- The most expensive is called OMB (official match ball) – for holding games at the highest level.
- The second in terms of cost and quality is the Competition Match Ball Replica – for conducting training sessions of professional teams.
- The third is the TopTraining Match Ball Replica – for matches and training at the semi-pro level.
- The fourth is the Capitano Match Ball Replica – a ball for amateurs and beginners.
- The fifth is a souvenir Mini Match Ball Replica of the 1st size.
All manufactured balls, except OMB (official match ball) Adidas calls Match Ball Replica as they repeat the design of the senior ball. All of them have characteristics characteristic only of them, but they are all manufactured in branded factories. Do not confuse them with copies that intentionally indicate the brand name with an error.
It is quite simple to distinguish a branded ball. Each branded ball has an article assigned to it by the manufacturer. It is enough for you to drive such an article into Google and check whether such a ball actually exists in the company’s lineup.
Let’s recall the main aspects that you should focus on when selecting a soccer ball:
Guided by the recommendations set out in this article, you will certainly be able to pick up a great ball that you will be pleased and comfortable to play with. We wish you to send him to the opponents’ goal as many times as possible!
Watch the video presentation of the Flight soccer ball from Nike
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