Every sport is fueled by passion, but none so more than soccer (or more commonly known as Football). Soccer fans are one of the most passionate about their sport and are deeply invested in the detailed development of the game. If you are new to soccer, you are more than welcome, for we are about to take a deep dive into a detailed guide of soccer ball sizes, what impact they have on the development of the game? Why are they important? And all else you need to know about the size difference of the soccer ball is right here.
Before heading on to the explanation guide, let us tell you a little about the history of soccer ball sizes. The soccer ball size specifications were first declared in about as early as 1863 by the World Football Association, but then, later on, it was revised by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) in 1872, to adapt the new evolution and it hasn’t been changed since. According to the standards it was specified that a size 5 ball should be used for the world cup, so, when the first world cup started at Uruguay in 1930, the standard soccer ball size was not so “standardized”. Each team brought along their ball because they were never satisfied with the quality of their opponent’s ball due to the variation in manufacturing procedures, and played one half with each.
Along the way, various techniques have been introduced to enhance the performance of the soccer ball, such as vulcanization by Charles Goodyear but there has been no change in the specification of the soccer ball sizes, whatsoever.
What’s the difference?
According to the standard specification of the soccer size ball, there are five types/sizes of the soccer ball, which are number 1-5. These balls differ in circumference, weight and air pressure, each gradually increasing as the size goes from number 1 to 5. Each specified for specific age groups, going all the way up to adults from age 3 and under, every size paving step-wise development of player skills and techniques. Size 5 ball is the largest, specified for adults and professionals.The size 4 is the second-largest and specified for youth players.The Size 3 is intended for Junior players. Size 2 is for kindergarten players, while size 1 is the smallest of all, used by all ages and is also known as the mini or promotional ball.
Why does it matter?
The soccer ball sizes are specified according to the development needs and safety requirements of different age groups. It is quite useful to determine the purpose and use of a ball, whether it is for professional need or fun, knowing which ball to choose is always important. A crucial step in the development of the players is that they must start with the lightest and smallest ball there is, to make things easier and safer according to their ability and strength at that certain age. Ignoring the specifications for age groups can cause a lot of problems, younger kids cannot play with a ball that is not specified and proportionate according to their capabilities, and in doing so otherwise might sustain muscle injuries. A bigger ball with more air pressure and weight requires force to be kicked around or manipulated for certain techniques and younger kids lacking such strength might damage their ligaments and tendons. A size 5 ball (a bigger one) would also hurt a lot more if a younger kid, whose directed to play with a size 3 (a smaller one), got hit by it, and it will not be of any use for efficient training of a younger age group. The ball size also matters because each league has specified a standard soccer ball size, which is necessary for participation. Not being able to play with a certain ball due to the age difference might sound like a restriction, which it is, but for the better, in fact extremely important for safety measures and proper development.
|Size 1||18 – 20 inches||205 grams||3 and under|
|Size 2||20 – 22 inches||205 grams||3 – 5 years old|
|Size 3||23 – 24 inches||300 – 320 grams||5 – 8 years old|
|Size 4||25 – 26 inches||350 – 390 grams||8 – 11 years old|
|Size 5||27 – 28 inches||410 – 450 grams||12+ years old|
Size 1 – Best soccer ball size for kids
Size 1 ball is the first ball size in the specified list, and it is also known as the mini or promotional ball. It is the smallest ball with the circumference size of 18-20 inches, for the age group of three and under but all age groups use it. Size 1 ball is not used for any organized matches, it is mostly for fun and entertainment purposes, as children of this age group cannot comprehend rules of an organized match, just like kicking a ball about for fun. While professionals players often use this ball to perfect their techniques, ball control and touch because a ball of this size is a lot harder to control than a bigger one.
Due to their small size, they are also ideal for showcase souvenirs, many fans around the globe collect these balls as famous league clubs sell them with their logos and team crests on them. They are also used by fans to collect their favourite team player’s autograph upon them.
Size 2 ball is not particularly different from the first ball. It is the second smallest ball with the circumference size of 18-20 inches with a fair weight of 250 and 280 grams, for the age group of three to five years old. Size 2 ball brings about the actual practice and development, as children of this age are in kindergarten, where they start playing organized matches. Just like Size 1 ball, this one too is often used by professionals players to perfect their techniques, ball control and touch because of it’s small size relative to the ones they usually play with.
This ball is also ideal for showcase souvenirs due to the ease os smaller size, many fans around the globe collect these balls as famous league clubs sell them with their club colours, logos and team crests on them. They can be used for autographs just the same, as the size is still quite ideal for a decoration piece.
Size 3 ball is where the league development begins. It is the smallest ball used for proper matches. It has circumference size of 23-24 inches and weighs about 300 – 320 grams, for the age group of five to eight. This is the perfect size ball to start proper league matches with for the intended age group due to its moderate size and weight, making it much easier for junior players to learn and improve their skills efficiently without putting extra efforts. It is not only useful for this age group but can also be used professionals players during practice matches. Junior-player coaches should always keep a size 3 ball to help improve and maintain the skills and confidence of younger players.
A size 4 ball is the second last step before moving on to the professional adult leagues. With a circumference size of 25 – 26 inches and weighing in at about 350 – 390 grams, it is the recommended ball for youth players age eight to twelve years. A ball of this weight and size is perfect for youth players of the intended age bracket to handle and hone their control and dribbling skills before moving on the professional game ball, which is slightly larger and heavier relatively making it a bit difficult for youth players to handle at this age. It is the last step of development and adjustment of skillset and tests the readiness of youth players before moving on to the professional game in the near future. It also highlights the importance of step-wise development rather than transitioning directly to the bigger ball.
Size 5 – Best soccer ball size for professionals.
And finally, the ball designed for and used by the professional players, the mighty Size 5 ball. It is the official ball used in the standard international matches and the World Cups. Size 5 ball is the largest ball with the circumference size of 27 – 28 and a decent weight of 410 – 450 grams. It is intended for adult players and professionals, to specify the age group, it is intended for players of all age above 12. All leagues above U12 use this ball for competitive matches. Size 5 ball often comes with a FIFA approved stamp, to verify that they are tested to approve its circumference size, roundness, water absorption, size retention, shape, rebound, and weight.
In the 1970 World Cup, Adidas presented the widely-known size 5 soccer ball, called the Telstar. It was the first run-through of a black and white, hand-sewn, 32 board soccer ball being used in a World cup. Adidas has supplied every soccer ball for the world cup ever since.
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