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.
In the end, the winner was fairly clear to us. Amongst all of these soccer balls, it appears that the best in this case, was the last one that we looked at Adidas MLS Top Glider Soccer Ball. When comparing all of the products side by side it just appears that in terms of design, gameplay, and durability that this one stood out amongst the rest. It has a ton of great reviews and positive customer feedback, so it appears that the vast majority of soccer players and customers were really happy with this ball.
The new ball is a product of four years of design and testing, and looks are about the only thing it shares with its older relative. The original model was comprised of 32 individual panels that had to be hand-stitched together. The new one, manufactured in China and Pakistan, has just six panels that are machine-stitched around a newly designed latex bladder, ensuring a more stable performance from ball to ball.
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.
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Whatever ball you decide to purchase try to prolong the life of the ball by taking care of it. Don’t let your players stand on the ball or try to change the shape. Don’t leave them outside between practice sessions as prolonged exposure to sun or rain will damage the surface of the ball and dramatically reduce its life. Always try to keep balls clean after play by wiping them down with a damp cloth.
Controlling the game is everything. From touch, shape, and movement, to flight of the ball, the construction of your soccer ball can impact how well you command the pitch. Competitive soccer players usually have different types of soccer balls for training, match day or just to kick around. See the options below for choosing the right adidas soccer ball for your favorite type of play.