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.
If you have a youth player for whom you are purchasing this soccer ball, then take note that the Size 3 ball in this series is closer to a Size 4 ball. The weight and feel is still accurate, so it is good for home practice and play. The sizing just might make it difficult to take this ball to practice for some players. It doesn’t come with a 32-panel design, but it does have the traditional hexagon panels over the entire cover of the ball. This allows players to work on some ball movement skills, as well as placement drills, with relative ease at home.
When a tournament is held (like the FIFA World Cup), the sponsor of the event will design a brand new ball. These are official match balls – they’re used by professionals during real matches. They are designed to the highest possible build quality, have textured surfaces to improve stability in flight, and feature thermally-bonded panels for durability.

It is a common misconception but, believe it or not, soccer was not actually invented in England. Although the sport, known across the pond as football, was revolutionized by the country in the mid-19th century, records actually trace its origin back over 2,000 years to ancient China. Called “association football” when it was played by the British 200 years ago, the terms “football” and “soccer” were both eventually derived from abbreviations of the longer name over time.
Adidas designs every World Cup ball, and on top of being a big seller for them, engineers at the company are constantly a little closer to the perfect ball, Goff says. The ideal soccer ball is a pimple-covered, perfect sphere, its surface just subtly textured enough to keep the airflow around the ball slightly turbulent. Unintuitive as this might sound, the ridges and pimples on the ball make it more aerodynamic, helping the ball to fly through the air more stably.
With the increased seam length, Goff says there was actually a risk that this ball would be too rough. “Very little changes in those textures can have noticeable aerodynamic effects,” he says. The fact that the Telstar 18 has almost the same drag curve as the Brazuca, with aerodynamic properties changing at about the same speeds, is impressive. “It has to be an engineering and technical challenge,” he says.
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