“I kind of feel sympathy for the players and especially the goalkeepers that have to get used to a new ball,” Goff says. So far the Telstar 18 has received criticism from a few goalkeepers that played with it starting in November, unhappy with how it moves in the air and the way the surface feels. Goalkeepers, unlike every other player on the pitch, have to predict where the ball will go in order to block it, while also not having the freedom to run around the field to adjust as the ball flies. That means goalies often have the most complaints about a new design. “Every time there’s a World Cup and a new ball the goalkeepers complain, because they’ve been given a new ball,” says Goff.
Changes in temperature will also affect the inflation level of the soccer ball. Extreme heat or extreme cold will alter the shape of the bladder and this will affect the integrity of the soccer ball. Although it doesn’t seem like you could reach an extreme temperature that could do this to a soccer ball, just leaving a ball in your trunk or the back of a van on a hot Summer’s day will do it.
A radically new configuration reduced the amount of panel touch points forming a smooth and perfectly round exterior that improved accuracy and control. Prior to the Teamgeist, the surface of World Cup match balls had notable differences depending on where a player would strike the ball due to seams, ridges and other imperfections where panels come together. The revolutionary propeller design of the Teamgeist minimized corners and created a smoother surface for improved play. The ball was designed with traditional colors of the German flag and was accentuated with the golden color of the World Cup trophy.