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“Had I seen the drag curve for Jabulani prior to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa I would have been calling FIFA and Adidas saying please don’t use this ball,” Goff says. The fact that the Jabulani became unpredictable and beach-ball-like during these long passes really helped Spain win in 2010, Goff says. The Spanish team relied almost entirely on short precise passes, without long kicks that became unstable with the Jabulani ball. “That was the perfect example of a team that really fit the style of play for that ball,” Goff says.
On the other hand, replicas (sometimes called training balls or gliders) are designed to be just like the official match balls but are much cheaper. Their panels are often stitched rather than thermally-bonded and are made of a different material. However, they’re not necessarily less durable than official match balls. So, they’re the recommended option for most players.
The new ball is a product of four years of design and testing, and looks are about the only thing it shares with its older relative. The original model was comprised of 32 individual panels that had to be hand-stitched together. The new one, manufactured in China and Pakistan, has just six panels that are machine-stitched around a newly designed latex bladder, ensuring a more stable performance from ball to ball.
My friend and I were kicking a soccer ball around the front yard. It was maybe 2007 and I was getting ready to leave for a couple weeks on a trial. Trying to be cute, I tried a handling skill where I flipped the ball up behind my back and then kick it with my heel so it comes back over my head again. So I kicked the ball too hard, it goes out into the street, and a truck promptly runs it over.

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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