My Youth Soccer Guide

Selecting Soccer Balls
Factors to Consider

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?

Yeah… Really?

Well, maybe…but I just want you to know that I can give you good advice on choosing good quality soccer balls.

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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.
So, you don’t have to try many different kinds until you find the right one and spend too much money.

Factors to Consider

  1. Material – cover and bladder Click here to learn more
  2. Manufacturer Click here to learn more
  3. Size Click here to learn more
  4. Logo “FIFA approved" or "FIFA inspected” Click here to learn more
  5. Where to buy Click here to learn more

FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) - governing body of world soccer.

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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 bladder - makes the ball feel harder and heavier but is less expensive and retains the air a little longer
  • Latex - used in better quality balls; more expensive but the ball is softer, keeps its shape better and provides a great feel.

"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:

Almost every professional soccer game is played with either Nike or Adidas balls…and I don’t think it is due only to the marketing power.

I would suggest to you to consider Nike or Adidas as your first choice.


Soccer balls come in the following sizes:

  • Size 5 – ages 12 and up
  • Size 4 – ages 8 to 12
  • Size 3 – under 8

There are also sizes 1 and 2 known as Mini or Skill Balls.

FIFA Approval Logo

If a ball displays "FIFA Approved" or "FIFA Inspected" logo, you will be guaranteed quality and consistency of the very highest standard.

Soccer balls, to earn “FIFA Inspected” mark, must pass the six-point FIFA test:

  1. Circumference - must be consistent so that the ball will move predictably.
  2. Roundness - a slightly uneven seam can change the ball's shape.
  3. Rebound - does the ball bounce consistently.
  4. Weight - all balls must fall into a specified weight category.
  5. Water absorption - this test turns and squeezes the ball in a tank of water 250 times. FIFA Inspected balls must not absorb more water than adding 15% to the initial weight of the ball.
  6. Loss of pressure - a ball must retain most of the pressure for a 72-hour period.

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's cheaper.

The following online stores are the sites I shop at for any soccer gear I need.
Well, actually, for any soccer sons need (most of the time, sometimes I am lucky to get something for my self).

All these sites are reliable, safe and secure. At least I have never had a bad experience with any of them (so far).

World World Soccer Shop
Full line soccer equipment store with one of the biggest soccer inventory on the Internet. Easy to navigate. Worldwide orders shipment.

Eurosport" Eurosport
One of the biggest and most known of all online soccer stores. It offers everything that's associated with soccer. Worldwide orders shipment. Click Here for Eurosport Clearance Sale

WeGotSoccer" WeGotSoccer
Based on retail store in Raynham Massachusetts. It offers all types of soccer equipment including huge selection of soccer shoes. Sends orders only within the US.

Paragon Paragon Sports
Sporting goods store with decent selection of soccer cleats for men, women and kids. Sends orders only within the US. Free shipment on selected items.

Ebay" Soccer Equipment on Ebay (Suggested)
Very often you can really find a great bargain at Ebay for the same product that is sold at the "regular" stores, both on and off line.

Other Sporting Goods Stores
Sports Authority MC Sports Dick's Sports FogDog Sports
Sports Authority MC Sports Dick's Sporting Goods Sports Authority

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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