As always with Nike balls, the Merlin has an excellent feel, particularly when passing. The ball is also great for shooting due to Nike’s 4-panel construction, 360-degree sweet spot technology and the soft polyurethane outer material. It won’t deviate too much in the air due to the thermally-bonded pentagonal panel layout, so it’s perfect for training as well as games.
Another type of soccer ball that some players may find to be useful is the indoor soccer ball. Indoor balls are designed to have less bounce and rebound to them, making it possible to control the ball on a tighter court or field. The cover of an indoor ball is also the strongest of any category, so it can withstand play on turn, hard court surfaces, and impacts with walls.

However, in Goff’s wind tests, he and his team noticed that the Telstar 18 had a little more resistance at high speeds, and predict that the ball will go about eight to nine percent less distance down the pitch on long kicks. This means that Manuel Neuer, the goalkeeper for Germany who was considered to be the x-factor that brought Germany the win in 2014, might not have quite as much of an impact clearing balls from the goal this time around Goff says. “You’d see him just kicking the ball way, way down the pitch, and [this World Cup] you might notice that some of those kicks aren’t quite as long as before,” Goff says.


If you’re working on headers, then your forehead won’t feel like it is being repetitively hit with a meat tenderizer thanks to the design of this ball. That soft touch also translates to a reasonably authentic movement when working on crosses or shots. There is a reasonable bend that allows players to wrap a leading ball around a defensive line, curve a shot around a wall, or work on accurate passing. Control skills off of the chest or knee feel close to authentic as well.
This size ball, the smallest aside from mini-balls not used for real practices or games, weighs 10 oz. and can be used for players under 8. The No. 3 ball is only 24 inches in circumference and thus doesn't come up as high on the leg as an adult model. You don't need to provide a match-quality ball for your young player, write the authors of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coaching Youth Soccer."
Crafted by Adidas, the Telstar 18 is the official ball of the FIFA World Cup. Drawing inspiration from the company's first World Cup match ball, which debuted at the 1970 tournament in Mexico, the new ball reimagines the 12 black panels on an otherwise white design. Fun fact: the iconic original black and white ball was made that way to be more visible for black-and-white TV viewers, and it was dubbed the "star of television."
When looking for the right ball for your child, you may come across a reference to different sizes of soccer balls. These sizes can vary a bit from product to product but most do conform to certain league standards. A size 1 ball is also known as a mini ball and is typically between 18 and 20 inches in circumference. This size is perfect for toddlers and early walkers to help them develop footwork skills and ball control. A size 3 ball, or a junior ball, is usually between 23 and 24 inches around. This is the type of ball that most peewee soccer teams use as it is designed for children 8 years and younger. As your child grows and continues with their soccer team, they will eventually need a size 4 ball which is 25 to 26 inches. This is known as a youth ball and is ideal for children between 8 and 12 years of age. Finally, the size 5 or adult ball is 27 to 28 inches in circumference. This is the size of the soccer ball used by professional athletes and is suitable for anyone age 13 years or older.
Built for durability, recreation balls are made of soft synthetic materials for play on nearly any field. Typically, these balls are slightly heavier for beginner’s slower play, yet, competitors of all skill levels use these balls for practice and recreation on hard turf fields due to their resilience. Machine-stitching is the most stand-out visual difference between match balls and training balls and it offers a consistent touch for any player.
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