Which is the Right Size Soccer Ball for me?
The first step in buying a soccer ball is to determine the correct size of ball for your age group. Many soccer competitions and leagues have different ball size requirements. It would be best to check with the organisers or your coach as to which is the correct size of ball you should be purchasing. Generally, soccer balls mainly come in three different sizes that range from size 3 to size 5.
Overview of Ball Size Based on Age Groups
Size 3 Balls – the smallest soccer balls and are designed generally for children under the age of 8. Size 3 soccer balls weigh between 310 to 340 grams and have a circumference of 58.5 to 60 cm.
Size 4 Balls – used for players between the ages of 8-12. Size 4 soccer balls weigh between 340 to 370 grams and have a circumference of 63.5 to 66 cm.
Size 5 Balls – international standard match ball for all ages 13 and older, including adults. Size 5 soccer balls weigh between 400 and 450 grams and have a circumference of 68.5 to 71 cm.
Interesting Information on Soccer Balls*
Soccer balls have four segments: the cover, panels, lining, and bladder. Look for quality materials and examine the photos in item listings to make sure you don’t detect any damage.
Soccer ball covers:
Soccer balls typically have a synthetic leather cover. Polyurethane balls are made of a synthetic material that feels much like leather and have a good feel when in play. Being scuff and water resistant, they are also very durable. For practice, you will probably want a PVC ball as they are the least expensive. While they offer less feel and softness compared to polyurethane balls, they have the greatest durability.
Soccer ball panels:
Panels are the different sections that make up the outside covering of the ball. Soccer balls used in professional matches typically have 32 panels. However, some leagues use soccer balls with 18 or 26 panels. Soccer balls with fewer panels curve more easily when kicked.
Soccer ball lining:
Soccer ball lining, which is inserted between the ball cover and bladder, provides the ball with its shape, feel, control, and structure. Made out of cotton and/or polyester, higher quality balls have more layers of lining compared with lower quality balls.
Soccer ball bladders:
Soccer ball bladder is the inside section of the ball that holds the air and is usually made from latex or butyl. Soccer ball bladders made with butyl have a good feel and retain air better than those made with latex bladders. While soccer balls with latex bladders have a softer, more responsive feel and provide more surface tension, you will need to re-inflate them at least once a week.
Stitching also plays a part in determining the quality of a soccer ball. Hand stitched soccer balls have tighter and stronger seams compared to machine stitched soccer balls but they also cost more. High quality soccer balls use five-ply polyester or similar thread for stitching and some are reinforced with Kevlar. Lower end soccer balls usually have their panels glued together onto the lining. These have a harder feel and should only be used for practice.* Information from eBay Australia’s Soccer Gear Buying Guide