Types of Soccer Balls
Need help with soccer ball sizes? View our Soccer Ball Size Guide
Premium Match Ball
A Premium Match ball will usually be FIFA approved, as are most “Match Balls”. FIFA approval or certification is the highest ranking a soccer ball can achieve. The approval indicates that the ball meets the standards of the international governing body of soccer, FIFA, and has passed numerous testing requirements and guidelines. These rigorous tests include shape, air retention, performance, water absorption, and flight. These types of balls are the official match balls for the UEFA European Championship, Copa América, Champions League, English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, Major League Soccer. All Premium Match balls will be size 5.
A Match ball still maintains high quality and a match-worthy standard. A Match ball is very similar to a Premium Match ball; however, the construction of the ball is slightly different. Some high school and college teams use match balls, which are often NFHS or NCAA approved. Therefore, any match or event hosted by one of the above organizations will require an approved Match ball. A Match ball will typically be a size 5.
An NCAA Match ball will meet the following requirements: the circumference must be between 27” and 28”; the weight of the ball must be between 16 ounces but not less than 14 ounces, and the outer layer must be leather or approved synthetic. NFHS approved Match balls have very similar, but more relaxed requirements, as an NCAA Match ball.
Training balls are built to be extremely durable and long-lasting. The purpose of a Training ball is for it to be used on a variety of field types and surfaces. They generally can be used for any skill level. Generally, they will be machine stitched and have a harder outside shell or layer. The internal material of the ball will also be thicker and stiffer, providing the longevity of the ball. The downside is the ball will be heavier and harder than a Match or Premium Match ball. The purpose of a Training ball is to make sure it will last during its rigorous use.
The amount of Training balls available on the market is wide-ranging, due to the multi-use that comes with a Training ball. The quality of a Training ball will also vary, dependent upon price and company. It is also important to note that Training balls range from size 3 to size 5. It is important to select the right quality for your level of play and intended use. The price of the ball does not always reflect quality. This also applies to the company. Look at various Training balls to find the best for you or your player.
A Futsal ball is a very specific type of soccer ball. It is generally smaller in size, but the weight is generally heavier. Typically a Futsal ball is a size 4. The heavier weight of the ball makes it bounce less, and in turn, designed better control during quick play on hard surfaces. The material of the Futsal ball is also different than traditional soccer balls because they are typically made with felt or suede. This provides the ball with for more friction, which in turn is used for hard playing surfaces.
A Streetball should be made from durable materials to withstand the demands of playing on cement or concrete. In fact, some Street balls will have material that grips to the surface, allowing for increased skill and control. When purchasing a Streetball, one must be careful to do many marketing strategies indicating they the ball is made for Street, but really they are just traditional soccer balls. Look for tough, long-lasting, and durable material in order to differentiate between a Streetball and a non-Street ball. Generally, they are found in size 5.
A Beachball can be found in a variety of colors and designs. Typically, they are very similar to traditional soccer or training balls. The big difference between them is that a Beachball will have softer material for its construction. The outside of the ball will have softer synthetic material, making it easier on the feet. A beach ball will also generally be more water-resistant. They are generally found in size 5.
An Indoor ball is designed to stick closer to the ground and have less bounce back. This is generally due to the indoor fields used, which consist of turf or hard surfaces. The fields are also usually smaller and consist of walls. This is another reason for the ball to have less bounce. Typically, an Indoor ball will be made of felt or suede-like material, providing for better control of the ball on the playing surface. It will also assist in making the ball move quicker across the playing surface.
A Mini ball is usually a size 1 or at times a size 2. These types of balls are generally novelty items. However, many times they are used to assist in advancing skill, touch, and joggling. They can also be beneficial for kids still not old or big enough to handle a size 3 ball.
What about different soccer ball sizes? View our Soccer Ball Size Guide.