The game of soccer has evolved greatly over the years and the ball has evolved with it. In days past, defenses played with as many as six men back. Then things changed around the 1950s to allow when many teams played four forwards at one time! Now, we are in a period where we see (sometimes) one natural forward in a team. The changes that have happened in the game have oftentimes been a result of the changes to the soccer ball itself. Through its many changes, it has allowed teams to change strategies.
Sizing is very important in selecting a soccer ball. For the purposes of this article, I will mostly concentrate on size 5 outdoor soccer balls, but I will quickly go over the various sizes and let you know what they are used for. Size 1 soccer balls, or skill balls (also known as mini balls), are primarily used by youth players that are just being introduced to the game. These are typically 1-3-year-olds. Another use for Size 1 balls is for older players to learn to juggle. It is much harder to juggle a size 1, so instead of using a hacky sack, they use a skill ball. This is done because the texture and materials are similar. Size 3 balls are slightly bigger than size 1 and are used for ages four through seven. They do this so that the ball isn’t too big in comparison to the players. Size 4 balls are used for age eight through eleven. Size 4s are smaller than size 5, which is used for everyone past the age of eleven. This is the same size that the professionals use. Making sure that you have the proper ball is just as important as picking out which materials one has.
These balls were add on items and they were a great price. I got four of them because I started coaching U8 soccer. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on balls let me get ruined or actually find their way home with one of my players, these were a perfect fit. We are only halfway through the season and they’ve held up great, they’ve even used them as the game ball on a couple occasions. I would recommend this to any soccer coach.
When it is about quality, these are almost same as premium match soccer balls but obviously not the same. To be exact, you can say official match soccer balls are positioning between premium match balls and training soccer balls regarding quality. That means these balls also offer an excellent level of air retention, shape, water absorption, curve, and performance. Although usually, they are not as durable as training balls but as a whole, they are very much durable.
In terms of durability, you can’t really go past Select. The polyurethane cover on the Numero 10 is tough enough to withstand dog bites and general wear and tear, but still feels nice and soft when kicked. Although this ball is a bit more expensive than other replicas, it comes with a two year warranty for peace of mind when buying. It also retains its bounce very well over the years – perfect for practising volleys and clearances.
Update: While this ball was ruined in 3 days of use, the customer service team contacted me quickly and offered to send another product to try from this company. I thought this was very generous and warrants another try. With 3 kids now in soccer, I will update this review upon receipt of the next ball. (I added a star to the rating because they seem to want to stand by their company.)
The downside? They’re expensive. Like, really expensive, depending on which one you get. Whether you really need one depends on your budget and how you’re going to be using your ball. For example, I use official match balls for practising freekicks because they fly through the air really nicely. However, I don’t use them for training because if I lose my ball I’ll be set back $100-$300.