But it’s Just a Ball

What type of soccer ball is best? This is my question of the hour. I am asking because I recently saw one in motion during a soccer tournament. My cousin is a semi-professional player and invited me to come along and experience her athletic prowess one weekend. Her passion rubbed off on me and I went eagerly. When I saw the ball, I asked about the brand and cost; she said she didn’t have enough time to explain the different kinds before the game. She wanted to concentrate and get her bearings. She wasn’t much for a detailed conversation. I got it, but I wanted to know more as it is in my nature to inquire. I would make time later to ask her or research the issue online. I wondered about the differences in the equipment and why on earth a ball would vary. Isn’t it just a ball like a baseball, a football, a volleyball, or a basketball? It depends on the game but within a particular one, why does it matter what kind you use? Is this a profound question? I doubt it, but here is what I found.

You don’t just use any ball. You want one that controls the game the way you want. Each one has a different shape, touch, and movement. Its construction will yield different results that suit particular players. As the experts claim, “it matters how you command the pitch.” Playing professional soccer, being in a youth league, or just practicing in a field are different kinds of experiencing. A match is not just a time to kick around the ball – and during a match, you want to think that you’re playing with the best soccer ball in the world. Recreational fun is not as demanding. A tournament demands a more expensive durable ball while an everyday model can be of any soft synthetic material adaptable to most playing fields. Kids in grade school have to make due with cheaper equipment.

Pro balls yield a consistent touch. My friend tells me that when passing, shooting, and employing her general foot skills, she likes a lighter ball made of premium latex. Clubs, older teens, and college groups feel the same way. They demand more than mere spherical ball. It has to have an outside leather casing that is waterproof. The typical circumference is 27 to 28 inches and the ideal choice is 14 to 16 ounces when the game begins. Elite players are very particular. Balls at this level must be the highest quality so they can produce a predictable “flight pattern.” I read that official matches use threadless, seamless, beveled-edge models. As I said earlier, control is paramount and it comes from many factors such as weight, shape, water absorption, and above all rebound performance. This is it in a nutshell.

I find it amusing that I am an expert on a subject not familiar to me. Know you know, too. If you are a soccer player or fan, no doubt you can add more to my personal inquiry. I would love to hear from you.