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.
Built for durability, recreation balls are made of soft synthetic materials for play on nearly any field. Typically, these balls are slightly heavier for beginner’s slower play, yet, competitors of all skill levels use these balls for practice and recreation on hard turf fields due to their resilience. Machine-stitching is the most stand-out visual difference between match balls and training balls and it offers a consistent touch for any player.
“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.
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGp37du0xbQ
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