How to Choose a Soccer Ball
Match Balls: Match balls must conform to the regulation standards of each league, they are designed for competition and high-level training. They are made of materials that offer superior performance and the best reliability in play. These balls can be used for indoor or outdoor games.
Mini Balls: Mini balls are best for skill-building drills but are never recommended for match play.
Training and Recreational Balls: Training and Recreational balls and built to handle games played on many different surfaces. They are usually constructed with a PVC casting and very durable and are less expensive than match balls.
Soccer Ball Vocabulary
Soccer Ball Cover:
The cover is the outer casing of a soccer ball. The type of cover you need will depend on your skill level and the surface you will be playing on.
Here are the most common types of soccer ball covers:
• Polyurethane balls are softer than PVC balls and offer a better touch.
• Their reliability and preferred feel make them ideal for competitive play.
• They may scuff more easily than balls with PVC covers.
• Some have a special TPU coating that prevents abrasions and water absorption.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC):
• These are often used in long-term training.
• They offer the most durability.
• They are more resistant to scuffs than PU or synthetic-covered balls.
• Since PVC is harder and more inflexible than PU, the balls are more difficult to control.
• Some have a special glossy coating to minimize water absorption and abrasions.
Soccer Ball Panels: When you see a soccer ball, you will see different patterns of panels on the ball’s cover. These covers can be machine-stitched, bonded, or even hand-stitched, and different shapes have different aerodynamic qualities. While the number of panels varies, most balls have 32 panels. While a greater number of panels provides greater control, fewer panels make the ball more aerodynamic for greater speed.
Soccer Ball Stitching: Stitching is key in determining the durability and quality of a soccer ball. Thermal bonding fuses the panels together for a perfectly spherical shape and optimal flight pattern. Hand stitching provides strong seams and increased durability. Machine-stitched balls may be less expensive but may not be as durable or tightly constructed as hand-stitched or thermally bonded balls. They may also be more expensive than hand- or machine-stitched balls.
Soccer Ball Maintenance
You can extend the life of your soccer ball by following a few simple steps:
• Avoid standing or sitting on your ball to prevent damage to its pressure system and structure.
• Don’t use your soccer ball on uneven or hard surfaces, such as gravel or concrete surfaces, as they can easily be scuffed or punctured.
• Check your soccer ball’s pressure before and after play to ensure optimal performance.
• Most soccer balls have a recommended pressure rating, so be sure to inflate your soccer ball with the appropriate amount of pressure.