Soccer Ball Size 5 101
Type of Use
There are basically three different types of use in soccer and for each there is a specific kind of ball.
Premium or professional balls are the highest quality and most expensive soccer balls you can get.
They are geared toward — and built specifically for — international tournaments (like the FIFA World Cup or the CONCACAF Gold Cup) and international and domestic professional club competitions (like the Champions League and the MLS or the Premier League).
Match balls are high performance balls (for all types of playing grounds and geared toward all age groups and standards of play) and the second most expensive soccer balls there are.
They are built for use in soccer matches (like high school or college team ones) with high quality materials that assure their reliability and top performance.
While conforming to all ball regulations in terms of weight, size and shape, match balls usually come with some type of approval stamp on them, such as “FIFA Approved”, “FIFA Inspected” or “NFHS”.
Training balls are highly durable balls (for every playing surface, age group and skill level) and the least expensive of the three main types of soccer balls.
These tough balls are built for use in training or recreational sessions with specific materials to withstand extended periods of use and rough grounds like clay, asphalt or concrete.
In their construction, lower quality components such as PVC are used for the casing — many have molded panels, instead of stitched ones — and they normally come with four or fewer lining layers.
For each age group there’s a different ball size. That happens mainly for two reasons: to prevent injuries and to allow proper skill development. Depending on your age, or your team’s, you will need a ball that suits your needs.
Size 5 balls are the most often used. FIFA mandates that this size be used by those that are 11 years old and up.
Size 4 balls, which are simply a little bit smaller, are aimed to be used by individuals between 8 and 11 years old.
Size 3 balls, which are even smaller, are used from the time players begin playing until they reach 8 years old.
RELATED: Check out our article on soccer ball sizes to learn more about the matter.
Material & Construction
Butyl bladders are cheaper, have a greater ability to keep their shape and are more efficient at retaining air for longer periods of time.
Their downside is that they might not provide an optimum touch and responsiveness, but the focus here is durability, to be able to withstand repetitive use on a daily basis. That’s why training balls are commonly equipped with this type of bladders.
Latex bladders are more expensive, offering the best bounce, feel, touch and responsiveness, although at the sake of poorer air retention capability. They’re used in match and premium soccer balls.
Lining is the element of a soccer ball that is placed in between its bladder and its casing. It’s responsible for the ball’s shape and structure and, along with the casing, plays an important role as far as controllability is concerned.
The higher number of lining layers a ball has the higher its quality will be.
The cover or casing is the outermost part of a football. It does the crucial job of protecting the inner bladder while providing the best possible feel and assuring durability.
PVC is the least expensive and the most resistant and durable of the two. It’s used in the making of the cover of soccer balls, street soccer balls, indoor soccer balls and futsal balls. These kinds of balls are usually harder than their PU counterparts.
Since it’s more affordable and lasts longer, this synthetic resin is also commonly used for scuff-resistant training balls. Not surprisingly, that’s what the majority of training ball covers are built with.
PU is a more costly material. It’s used in premium match ball and official match ball covers.
This sort of covering means two things: 1) PU balls are softer, nicer to control and they offer a better responsiveness when touched or kicked, and 2) they don’t stand up quite as well to a beating like the PVC-based ones do.
Nevertheless, a glossy coating can be used to reduce scuffing and water absorption on softer PU balls.
Rubber or plastic covered balls, on the cheapest side of things, might better stand the test of time on rough surfaces, but they are harder to play with due to their worse responsiveness and feel.
The panels are the several segments that compose a ball’s cover. The total amount of these segments, the way they are constructed and bonded together affect a football’s flight.
Fewer panels represent a lower amount of seams, allowing for soccer balls to become closer to perfect spheres, decreasing their water uptake, making them faster and allowing them to curve more and better.
More panels help increase controllability which might be more useful for training or practice purposes.