Shopping for a soccer ball can be confusing. There is an extensive variety of different types of soccer balls, including leather soccer balls available and you may not know the differences between a butyl bladder or a latex bladder. You may not know the advantages and disadvantages a soccer ball has when it has a butyl valve or a multi-layered lining. An uneducated shopper may not know which soccer balls will be likely to retain air, which will be likely to absorb water and no longer meet the (fifa) regulations. Some soccer balls are more likely to retain their shape, size and ball pressure over time. Some soccer balls will have a more predictable bounce. Some soccer balls meet NFHS testing regulations and some don’t. The following information is intended to help you learn the different advantgages you receive when you purchase a higher-end soccer ball.
Soccer ball size 5:
Available Panels: 32, 18, 12, 6
Circumfrence: 68 – 71 cm
Weight: 400 – 450 gm
Desired ball pressure: 0.8
Soccer ball size 4:
Available Panels: 32, 18, 6
Circumfrence: 64 – 66 cm
Weight: 320 – 350 gm
Air Pressure: 0.9 – 1.1
Soccer ball size 3:
Available Panels: 32, 18
Circumfrence: 61 – 62 cm
Weight: 320 – 350 gm
When you first purchase a soccer ball that is not inflated; it is a good idea to do the following: Palpitate the uninflated soccer ball; for a few minutes with your hands to soften it. Coat the valve with some silicone oil or glycerin oil. This will assist you with inserting inflating needles easily and it will help keep the ball from losing air. These oils will also extend the healthy life of the soccer ball valve. Lubricating inflating needles with silicone oil or glycerin oil before inserting them is also a beneficial procedure. Insert the inflating needle gently. Being too rough with this procedure can damage or puncture the bladder. Inflate the ball to about 2/3 of the recommended air pressure level and leave it inflated at that pressure level for about 5 minutes before inflating it to the desired air pressure.
FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) FIFA testing ensures soccer balls that are approved to be used in (Internationale de Football Association) competition matches meet strict requirements. The circumfrence must prove to be well-balanced. The sphericity must prove to have adequate in-flight stability. The Rebound must prove to bounce in a predictable manner. The water absorption levels are tested to assure the ball does not become too heavy when it is wet. The weight must prove to be within the pre-approved standards in order to assure consistent playing. The ball pressure is tested to assure the ball is not losing pressure over time or during play. Shape and size retention are tested to assure the ball will remain a high quality ball even after challenging usage.
How to care for a leather soccer ball: It is ok to clean them with water, mild detergents or synthetic leather cleaners. Never use harsh detergents. Rinse thoroughly after using mild detergents. Do not spray soccer balls with a high pressure sprayer. Do not play with a wet ball during freezing temperatures. Do not sit on or stand on soccer balls. Do not repeatedly bounce them off of hard surfaces of any kind. Do not play on concrete, gravel or asphalt. Keep the ball inflated to the manufacturers recommended specifications. Check the air pressure frequently. NFHS National Federation of State High School Associations NFHS testing ensures soccer balls that are approved to be used in interscholastic high school competitions meet certain requirements in the following categories: Spherical The exterior must be leather or another type of suitable weather resistant material. A soccer ball picture can help you determine whether or not a ball is leather or a man made weather resistant material. The circumfrence must be between 68 cm and 70 cm. The weight must be between 396 g and 453 g. The ball must be inflated to a level that meets the manufacturer’s recommendations.
The construction of a soccer ball:
Bladder: The soccer bladder holds the air. Most soccer bladders are constructed with latex or butyl. Soccer balls that have a latex bladder are likely to bounce further. Soccer balls that have a butyl bladder are much more efficient than latex balls at retaining the proper air pressure Futsal ball bladders are filled with foam to limit bouncing ball capabilities since they are used on hard floors.
Valves: Higher-end soccer balls are constructed with butyl valves. A ball valve such as the butyl valve, especially if it is treated with silicone or glycerin oil will be extremely effective at retaining air. Lining:
Linings are generally constructed from polyester and/or cotton. Multi-layered linings are more likely to retain their shape and bounce over time. Higher-end ball linings are generally constructed with 4 or more layers. Covers: Modern day leather soccer ball covers are generally made from synthetic leather, which is made from PU, (polyurethane) and PVD, poly vinyl chloride. Natural leather has been replaced with this product because it absorbs too much water and becomes too heavy. Sometimes PU,(polyurethane) is used as a highly effective weather resistant cover. The 32-panel cover is the most common. It is acceptable for use in professional matches. It consists of 20 hexagonal panels and 12 five-sided panels.
Covers that have a higher number of panels will be more likely to have close to a perfectly rounded exterior. Stitching: High quality covers are usually stitched together with panels that have pre-drilled holes and polyester thread. The most desireable soccer ball threading material is 5-ply twisted polyester cord. Hand sewn balls tend to have stronger and more secure seams. Mid-priced balls are likely to be machine stitched. Inexpensive soccer balls typically have seams/panels that are glued together and onto the lining. When you are shopping for a soccer ball, you should consider what type of performance you are needing from the ball. If you are needing a ball that will stay properly inflated, have balanced flight, multi-layered backing that will ensure even and predictable ball kicking, ball bouncing and rebounding you may need to purchase a high-quality ball. You will be obtaining a leather soccer ball that will perform extremely well during soccer practices and soccer games and will last for a very long time.
Written by: Dawn Perucca