As always with Nike balls, the Merlin has an excellent feel, particularly when passing. The ball is also great for shooting due to Nike’s 4-panel construction, 360-degree sweet spot technology and the soft polyurethane outer material. It won’t deviate too much in the air due to the thermally-bonded pentagonal panel layout, so it’s perfect for training as well as games.
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.
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.
For those taking their game to the next level, it’s important to train with a ball similar to what is used for your matches. Your passing, shooting and general foot skills will be different for lighter soccer balls made with a premium bladder like latex. Try out an NFHS approved ball which is used for some club, high school, and college teams. To be NFHS approved, the soccer ball needs to:
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