Soccer Ball Types – an In-Depth Guide

While so many of you find nothing about to consider before buying a soccer ball, there are others who are struggling to get the perfect ball based on their need.

Well, buying guide of a soccer ball is a broad subject and we discussed that in detail with some of the cool soccer balls reviews on this linked page. Here we are going to give you a comprehensive idea of different types of soccer balls and their usage.

Have you ever tried playing with a regular ball on the street or concrete? Did it perform well?

Evidently, that did not perform well.

Why?

Because it is not rocket science that a ball that needs to perform on concrete should be made so rough and tough that the surface of a street does not damage the ball quickly.

Sounds logical?

Making rough and tough is one part. Some other factors are involved with making a particular ball for a specific purpose.

So, how many types of soccer balls are there based on different purposes?

Generally eight. Yes, we will discuss about eight soccer ball types.

  • Premium match soccer balls.
  • Official match balls.
  • Training/Practice match balls.
  • Turf soccer balls.
  • Indoor soccer balls.
  • Futsal balls.
  • Beach balls.
  • Street soccer balls.

So what are they? And what are their differences?

Let’s dig deeper.

Premium Match Soccer Balls

It is not rocket science that these are used in international level matches and the top leagues around the globe like Italian Serie A, La Liga, English Premier League, Bundesliga, etc.

But the main characteristic of these balls is the quality that is approved by the soccer governing body that is FIFA. These balls have to pass the testing procedure of FIFA which is the most updated and currently the complete process of testing a ball.

If you are wondering what does FIFA actually test, I mean what are the criteria that they consider, I would suggest you go to the link above and read the PDF thoroughly if you want to know every bit of the detail.

But in short, here are the factors they mostly judge. Circumference, sphericity, rebound, water absorption, weight, loss of pressure, shape and size retention, balance, materials, curve, trajectory, and overall performance of the ball.

So what sizes are these balls? Undoubtedly they are size 5 balls. If you are not sure about soccer ball sizes, read our article here.

No doubt that they are made out of the highest quality materials. Their cover is made from synthetic leather or premium quality polyurethane in most of the cases.

Who makes these premium balls? Almost every renowned brand makes these premium balls like Adidas, Nike, SELECT, Puma, and more.

Official Match Soccer Balls

Well, this sounds confusing, right?

Probably you are wondering about the difference between the premium match soccer balls, and official match soccer balls.

Not to worry! We are going to clear it out for you.

When it is about quality the premium match balls and official match balls are almost the same, but not the exact same. In terms of quality, official match balls stay between a premium match balls and practice balls.

The quality of the materials that are used to make an official ball is similar to the quality of a premium match balls, but the construction can be different in case of official match balls. These offer almost same shape, curve, trajectory, water absorption, rebound, etc.

In terms of durability, the practice balls are the most durable ones. But official balls are not that far behind when you talk about their durability.

Mostly college and high school tournaments use official balls and they are NFHS, and NCAA approved.

If you are interested to know the criteria NCAA and NFHS consider to approve a soccer ball, here is the list.

  • The circumference of the ball should be in the range of 27 – 28 inch. That means not less than 27 inches and not more than 28 inches.
  • The pressure of the soccer ball should in the range of 8.5 – 15.6 PSI.
  • The shape of the ball should be spherical.
  • Before starting the game the weight must in the range of 14 ounces to 16 ounces and the weight must not exceed 16.75 ounces when used or wet.
  • There is no restriction on the color of the ball but the cover should be leather or synthetic leather, and any materials used should not harm the players.

Training/Practice Soccer Balls

You might be thinking these are the lowest quality balls than their premium match and official match balls. Yes true, in terms of quality the materials are a bit lower in quality but when it is about durability these are taking the first place.

Look, when you buy a ball for practicing purpose you will want to have that ball usable for a longer period of time. That is why they are made with the materials that ensure durability.

What about performance? Well, performance is not like official match balls or premium balls, that is expected. You won’t have to spend the same high/moderate amount of money like official balls. Most of the good training balls are real dart cheap varying around 15-30 dollars.

Majority of the practice balls are made out of PU covers and butyl bladders though. Some practice balls are made of PVC covers and latex bladders that are responsible to ensure durability.

Most of the time these balls have four or less than four layers of lining.

These are tougher balls than premium and official balls but usually less responsive. But for the practicing purpose, the responsiveness is quite ok.

Nowadays to improve your skill you will find some smart soccer balls like Adidas miCoach. This is a smart ball with Bluetooth sensor inside. You will have a mobile app that is compatible with iOS 7+, Android 4.3+ and Windows 10. Using that app and ball you can track the flight, spin, power, trajectory, etc as the sensor inside sends these data to your mobile app via Bluetooth. You can find the detailed review of this smart ball at our soccer balls reviews page. Now just a video of Adidas miCoach ball.

Turf Soccer Balls

Turf balls are tough. Yes, they are tough and durable and particularly made to be playable on the hard surface where there is no grass. These are mostly hand-stitched balls and have traditional 32 panels to ensure the durability. Pakistan is the leading hand-stitched ball manufacturer country in the world.

See? You probably wanted to buy a regular soccer ball to play on the hard surface but that will not be a good choice. Because you have the option to buy turf ball for that specific purpose.

Indoor Balls

As the name suggests there is some kind of soccer balls that are used for an indoor soccer game. Interestingly the cover of this type of balls is not from the materials that are used to make any other type of balls. Instead, in this case, it is like a tennis ball felt.  You can find every size that is available for standard balls meaning size 1, size 2, size 3, size 4 and size 5.

The main objective of making these ball is to adjust the bounce and responsiveness as they are used to play on a hard surface and an indoor environment.

Futsal Soccer Balls

Well, the main difference between a futsal ball and all other balls is that a futsal ball is filled with foam whereas other balls are filled with air.

Why so?

To keep the bounce low futsal balls are made in this way. Not only this. These are size 4 balls although the weight is mostly the same as standard balls.

These mini balls are helpful to improve your skills as it requires good control to handle effectively.

Beach Soccer Balls

When you play beach soccer do you wear soccer cleat?

No, right?

That is why the main consideration during making a beach soccer ball is the comfortability of your foot.  These are made out of the materials that confirms the highest comfort when you kick a ball barefooted.

As you play on the sand and under a shiny sun the color of this balls are also bright to ensure the clear visibility.

Not to mention these are water resistant balls to protect them from the water. The weight is not too light though but they don’t lose pressure.

Street Balls

The toughest balls among all. The cover of the balls is made to sustain longer on concrete.

No doubt the cover is made from super high-quality rubber and should have traditional 32 hand-stitched panels with the high-quality seam. The shape of these balls are also spherical and mostly they have three layers lining between cover and bladder to ensure toughness and durability.

Final Words

By now, you probably got the idea of all the major soccer ball types and their usage. When you decide to buy any ball first identify the usage. That means are you going to buy it for an official match, or practice? Is it going to be used on grass, or concrete or turf? After deciding the purpose search for that particular soccer ball type as the construction of the balls are different based on the usage.

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