Built for durability, recreation balls are made of soft synthetic materials for play on nearly any field. Typically, these balls are slightly heavier for beginner’s slower play, yet, competitors of all skill levels use these balls for practice and recreation on hard turf fields due to their resilience. Machine-stitching is the most stand-out visual difference between match balls and training balls and it offers a consistent touch for any player.
This is exactly the niche that American Challenge’s Brasilia soccer ball is supposed to fill. With a combination of materials that offer a range of different qualities, the Brasilia is able to transition seamlessly from dirt and turf to an indoor court or even on the street. This begins with a casing that is made of TPU. This provides the requisite durability needed while still offering some responsiveness. On top of that, the glossy finish actually benefits this ball in these settings rather hindering it.
I’ll be honest right out of the gate in saying that I don’t have any experience with Senda. But after looking at this ball, I will have to try one out soon! Senda brings a very classic look to its ball, giving you a throwback to days gone by. It has 32 panels and claims that it can be used outdoors, indoors, and on turf. It is hand stitched with premium leather and has four layers of hybrid polyester and cotton linings between the cover and the bladder to help it last longer. It is NHFS approved with its latex bladder, so it would be great for use in high school matches. And especially considering it’s low cost.
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.
Soccer balls also have various sizes that you can choose from, and what is best for you will depend on how old you currently are. Soccer balls come in different constructions in the inner bladder and the lining, which can contribute to their responsiveness on the field. Panels on a soccer ball are also important since they can influence a ball’s flight characteristics, and the control a player will have on the field. Like any other sporting equipment, picking the right soccer ball, if you are very meticulous, is something that will need some key points to consider.
Best of the Rest – The World Soccer Shop Heritage Ball was designed to have a vintage look with the 18 panel, brown leather design. It probably won’t feature in any competitive matches but is a great all-around ball for a casual kickaround. As the official ball of the NCAA it is not a surprise that the Wilson Avanti NCAA Official Championship Soccer Ball is a top seller.
Huge fan of Bend-It, I would not consider buying any other brand of ball. I have 4 or 5 different styles that have been used and abused during club training and off-season indoor games. It's fun watching another coach pick it out of a crowd of balls to check the brand. I've even had a pro player pick this ball out of a crowd to use in group training sessions (Go STL FC!!)
Crafted by Adidas, the Telstar 18 is the official ball of the FIFA World Cup. Drawing inspiration from the company's first World Cup match ball, which debuted at the 1970 tournament in Mexico, the new ball reimagines the 12 black panels on an otherwise white design. Fun fact: the iconic original black and white ball was made that way to be more visible for black-and-white TV viewers, and it was dubbed the "star of television."