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.
This ball is a size 5 which makes it great for small children to play with. Batteries for the lights are included. While they do have a long lifespan, they are easy to replace when the time comes. The LED’s shut off after a minute of inactivity, which helps make the batteries last longer. Your child’s knowledge of cause and effect will increase as they realize the ball lights up after being hit or kicked.
If you’re working on headers, then your forehead won’t feel like it is being repetitively hit with a meat tenderizer thanks to the design of this ball. That soft touch also translates to a reasonably authentic movement when working on crosses or shots. There is a reasonable bend that allows players to wrap a leading ball around a defensive line, curve a shot around a wall, or work on accurate passing. Control skills off of the chest or knee feel close to authentic as well.
While using the soccer balls above, kids can learn an abundant amount of things and develop a variety of traits. The textures and vibrant designs of each soccer ball on our list can aid in visual and tactile stimulation. The materials used in each soccer ball can help to develop auditory sensory skills as each ball makes a unique sound when it is hit by a cleat.
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.
“We found that the grooves and pimples on the Telstar 18 ball are very orderly and a little bit flat,” says Alam. The pimples that texture the surface of the ball are not as raised as on the Brazuca, and the seams are narrower and shallower than they have been in the past. All of the elements of the ball—the increased seam length, the more regular pimple pattern, orderly pimple and seam shape—add up to a more symmetrical, balanced ball, Alam says. “We expect this ball to have better flight stability.” And since all 11 stadiums in Russia are at the same altitude, Alam says the ball should play the same way across all matches.
The most modern feature is an embedded NFC chip, which is found on the top of the ball. If you download a free app on iOS or Android, you can personally interact with the ball's exclusive content and location-specific challenges. You'll also be able to participate and enter competitions and World Cup-related challenges. Of course, you can record and upload your experiences for social media posterity.
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.