Despite the similarities with the Brazuca, the few differences between this ball and what players have gotten used to over the last four years will have an impact on play, says Firoz Alam, an aerodynamics engineer at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, who has also performed wind tunnel tests on the Telstar 18. “When the player is making a short pass, they have to push a little harder, because at less then 60 kilometers per hour [or 37 miles per hour]it has more flight resistance than the Brazuca,” says Alam. The mid-range passes and corner kicks that gave the Jabulani so much trouble have been resolved. Compared to the Brazuca, the Telstar 18 is also more aerodynamically efficient in the 40-50 mile an hour range, so Alam says players will actually have to kick a little softer or they’re likely to overshoot. Over 55 miles an hour the two balls will feel very similar.
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.
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!
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2Xn84L3Kcs