This was one of the few soccer balls that came our way that didn’t come inflated out of the box. How well the ball is inflated will depend on the long-term viability of the butyl bladder in this ball. When properly inflated with the correct needle, the air can be held for weeks, or even months, at a time. Compared to latex bladders, which need to be inflated about once per week on average, this Nike soccer ball offers a minimal maintenance experience. As a practice and play ball, the Nike Pitch Premier League Soccer Ball offers players a number of options that can help them improve their skills.
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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.
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.
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.
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!
Adidas says its design was motivated by Russia's urban landscapes. It uses textured graphics and a metallic sheen to bring a modern look to the classic design. The ball is made of six panels of thermally bonded TPU and about 15% silicone. The materials allow for better trajectory, accuracy, responsiveness, and low water absorption. It also feels well-padded and slightly lighter than previous match balls.
Although the length of kick may end up being a little shorter, the changes make the Telstar 18 more balanced, says Alam. On other balls, Alam and his team have found that there is a difference in how the ball flies based on where it’s kicked in relation to the seams. His tests have found that the Telstar 18 ball doesn’t have as much variation. The total length of seam of the Telstar 18 is 14.1 feet, 3.28 feet more than on the Brazuca. With the longer seam, and more symmetric panels, no matter how the ball is turned there is the same amount of seam exposed. “The other two balls were not like that, they were significantly different,” he says.
We found that the feeling of this ball was a bit harder than other soccer balls at this price point. This doesn’t affect the performance of the ball, as the movements were accurate and authentic when struck. The weight does tend to affect the foot and ankle over time, causing a bit of soreness after continuous play. It also features a machine-stitched construction that is accompanied by an internal nylon-wound carcass so the ball has an improved level of durability compared to other soccer balls at this price point.
Using a wind tunnel, Goff has researched the flight properties of the Telstar 18, drawing its drag curve to discover where the ball might dip and swerve in the air, similar to the knuckleball free kicks favored by Cristiano Ronaldo “Even if aerodynamically the Telstar 18 isn’t that different from the Brazuca, it’s still going to wobble a little bit differently because the panel shapes are different,” Goff says.
From the players at the World Cup to the best clubs in the world battling it our for the Champions League title, the little round thing at the center of the field is an Adidas soccer ball. The 2014 World Cup Brazuca soccer ball became an instant winner, with the unique panel design that helps the ball fly straight, far, and accurate. The UEFA Champions League match ball features a star panel design, helping the stars on the field play at the top level. These soccer balls are considered some of the best in the world. When looking for a lower price on a match ball, the Adidas Competition soccer ball uses a traditional panel design to deliver the best touch and play. The Adidas Top Training soccer balls are perfected to help retain air and shape while taking a pounding during a touch training session. The Adidas Top Replique and Replique soccer balls perform well as a trainer or quick game. The Adidas UCL Capitano is a great ball to always have on hand for a game with friends.