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."
The downside? They’re expensive. Like, really expensive, depending on which one you get. Whether you really need one depends on your budget and how you’re going to be using your ball. For example, I use official match balls for practicing freekicks because they fly through the air really nicely. However, I don’t use them for training because if I lose my ball I’ll be set back $100-$300.
Weighing 14 to 16 oz., a No. 5 ball is the largest-sized ball, and players 12 and older can feel like grownups upon graduating to this size, also used by adults. Its circumference is 27 to 28 inches. Prices can start at $15 for a cheap training ball and up to $150 for a match quality ball, especially if it is a special edition issued in conjunction with the World Cup or Olympics.
While this ball is absolutely adorable and feels like it's a good quality, I'm disappointed with the one I received. It has little chips in the design—there are a few little white marks in the sections that are orange. Also, there is some sort of sticky stuff on the ball, almost like residue from an old sticker. I can probably remove it with Goo-Gone... I'm just not thrilled that it seems to be used or at least bought and returned. While I'm sure my nephew will love it for his 1st birthday party tomorrow, I'm mildly embarrassed to give it to my brother and his wife because of the appearance. If the party weren't tomorrow, I'd return / exchange it. Frustrating!
The history of soccer balls date back to ancient times. From a couple centuries BC to about 200 AD, the Chinese used balls made from animal skins in a game called 'tsu chu', in which players had to pass them through a net stretched between two poles. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and even the Egyptians are recorded to have enjoyed a similar game that involved kicking a makeshift ball.