Soccer — or football as it's known around the world — is arguably the most loved sport on Earth. Although Americans still aren't as enamored of the sport as the rest of the world is, teams around the country are stealing hearts and minds, and Americans are getting into the game. For years, soccer has been a sport played by kids, college students, and ex-pats, but it's now being cheered in stadiums and watched on national TV.
The Telstar 18, the design for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, is as close to a perfect sphere as you can get. It has subtle pimples and six thermally bonded panels designed to avoid knuckling, which is the characteristic bobbing and weaving movement when a ball is kicked without spin. All 32 teams have been able to play with it since November in preparation for the tournament, which runs from June 14 to July 15. But despite its similarities to the old ball, players have grumbled about the Telstar 18. Compared to the last few World Cup balls, the Telstar 18 is very similar to the ball used for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It won’t fly quite as far down the pitch, and will wobble in the air a little differently, but aerodynamic testing suggests it will be more stable in the air overall.
Over time, many soccer balls tend to go out-of-round, especially if they are well-used. The Glider is designed to maintain its shape without losing air thanks to the firmness and consistency of the butyl bladder. Under regular use, we found that the air pressure was consistent enough that we didn’t need to add more air to the ball. If you play in organized soccer, then having consistency from the practice ball to the game ball is very important for skill development. The machine-stitched panels offer that experience for most players, even though the ball has the standard panel design.
A soccer ball can look awesome, but if it lacks good response you're never going to fall in love with it. Your game really comes down to how well your ball performs. One trick you can do in the store to test a ball's performance is to give it a spin in the air. A well-balanced ball should spin smoothly. That will mean smooth sailing on the field. If you can, try it out. Try several of them until you find the one that feels just right.
If you've ever noticed, a traditional soccer ball resembles a geodesic dome building. Such as the one designed by architect, Richard Buckminster Fuller. Thus the ball became called the Buckminster Ball. Or more simply, the "Buckeyball". The design is characterized by a pattern of twenty hexagon pieces, and twelve pentagon pieces, fitted together to create a perfect sphere. The soccer ball has undergone many design changes of various-shaped panels stitched together. But until the geodesic dome-like ball, it was never quite round enough to perform right. Manufacturers settled upon the modern thirty-two panel design, which enables the ball to roll and spin more evenly and smoothly. Which is probably why it's the most popular competition soccer ball on the market today. The Buckminister-style soccer ball was first sold in the 1950s, and debuted in the 1970 World Cup tournament.
This ball has a TPU cover that we wouldn’t describe as “highly durable” for rough play. Although it handles indoor turf, it won’t handle concrete, gravel, or court-based play like you have with futsal. This ball prefers to have a natural or artificial grass surface and that is about it. If you happen to impact a tree, run the ball on concrete, or have it bounce on a gravel driveway, the outer cover does tend to get scratched up pretty rapidly. The butyl bladder is of a higher quality than other balls at this price point, allowing the ball to hold its inflation pressure with an impressive amount of consistency.
It is also a good idea to clean your soccer ball after you have finished using it. Although regularly cleaning a soccer ball can be a time-consuming chore, it will extend the life of the ball’s cover. The grit, dirt, and debris that the ball can pick up on any pitch impacts the panels and stitching with every rotation. So clean it thoroughly and then allow it to dry for the best possible results.
Every four years there’s a new ball for the World Cup—and every four years players are unhappy with it. Maybe it’s too light and has too much lift, like the 2002 Fevernova. Or maybe it wobbles unexpectedly in the air, making it harder for goalies to predict its motion, like the 2006 Teamgist. Or maybe the ball suddenly changes speed, dropping out of the air and causing accidental handballs, like the 2010 Jabulani.
In June, 32 nations gather in Russia for soccer’s most prestigious international event. Now, you can get the ball that will be used throughout the tournament—the adidas 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Telstar Official Match Ball. The design is based on the original Telstar ball introduced in 1968, updated with pixelated detailing for a modern aesthetic and an all-new panel shape for superior performance. Step up your game with a Russia 2018 soccer ball today.