Selecting Soccer Balls
Selecting soccer balls that are right for you could be difficult sometimes. Why?
Because it’s hard to establish an opinion about soccer ball until you play with it.
I have played with all of them (OK’…not all… but a lot of them).
First I played all levels of soccer in Europe and now I still play (try to play…age, you know) organized soccer in Arizona’s league for…amateurs. Doesn’t it seem like I am blowing my own horn way too much here?
Well, maybe…but I just want you to know that I can give you good advice on choosing good quality soccer balls.
Based on my experience, reviews from soccer players I know and from my teenage sons and their team-mates, I have gathered all the information you will need to select a soccer ball that is right for you.
Factors to Consider
FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) - governing body of world soccer.
No more leather soccer balls! They used to be the best. Not any more. Leather was replaced (1994-Adidas Questra) by synthetic material called Polyurethane (PU)
The main difference is water absorption and the new material provides a “softer touch”. There are probably more differences but I don’t want to get too technical.
After all…who cares? Right?
Basically you should look for a ball with a cover layer made of PU.
It offers great touch and feel for the ball. You have a better sense of where the ball is and what it will do. This improves your control. The material is lovely: the ball will bounce off your shoe, which can add power.
PVC Plastic - Yes, they still make soccer balls using this material.
And that’s good.
They are very cheap and adequate for the youngest players (I would say-up to 10 years of age). The PVS ball is light (some of them feel like a volleyball) and more durable then PU ball. However PVC doesn’t offer a great feel for the ball and if striked hard…it flies unpredictably.
The inner portion of a soccer ball, which holds the air. The bladder’s type of material plays a big role in soccer ball characteristics-specially in the “feel of the ball”.
But don’t worry. There are only two types:
"Butyl bladders are great for lazy equipment managers because they only have to pump them up every few weeks. But butyl is harder to kick and doesn't play as well as latex. Latex balls are nicer to head and have better flight characteristics."Paul Dolan, an Umbro representative, who played for Canada's national soccer team
Choose only brand name manufacturers like: Nike, Adidas, Puma, Brine, Umbro. These are the best.
But two names really stand out in today’s world:
I would suggest to you to consider Nike or Adidas as your first choice.
Soccer balls come in the following sizes:
There are also sizes 1 and 2 known as Mini or Skill Balls.
Soccer balls, to earn “FIFA Inspected” mark, must pass the six-point FIFA test:
Balls having the "FIFA Approved" mark must pass the above six-point tests at a more stringent level and also 7th test for shape and size retention.
I hope the above information gave you enough “buying power” to shop for a soccer ball with lots of confidence.
Where to buy soccer balls ?I've been buying soccer gear online for over three years now. There are many advantages of purchasing soccer equipment (and not only) on the Internet over traditional shopping at the retail stores. It's more convenient and easier but most of all...it's cheaper.
The following online stores are the sites I shop at for any soccer gear I need.
World Soccer Shop
Soccer Equipment on Ebay (Suggested)
Other Sporting Goods Stores
They all provide large selection of all kinds of soccer gear. Often, they offer many types of promotions, sales and discounts. Send orders only within the US.
Click here to get detailed information about all these stores.
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