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In 1937, the regulation soccer ball put on a little weight, increasing from 13-15 ounces to 14-16 ounces. Soccer balls used to be made exclusively of leather. Not so these days! Current technologies have come up with leather-like synthetic materials that are softer, more lightweight, water-proof, and perform as well if not better than leather soccer balls. As for the look, early soccer balls were tan but difficult to see from the stands; although white leather-washed soccer balls are known to have been used. White soccer balls replaced their tan predecessors in the 1950s, and were composed of 18 panels. Black spots were added to allow soccer players to track the ball's swerve. Today's soccer balls come in an array of colorful designs and styles to suit every player.
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.