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.
The downside? They’re expensive. Like, really expensive, depending on which one you get. Whether you really need one depends on your budget and how you’re going to be using your ball. For example, I use official match balls for practicing freekicks because they fly through the air really nicely. However, I don’t use them for training because if I lose my ball I’ll be set back $100-$300.
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As per the kids who can use this ball, it is designed for users who’re 3+ years of age. Children can play with this ball, and when it is quite soft, they can learn the art of blocking as well as heading a soccer ball without hurting themselves. Finally, it comes in 4 different colours as in addition to Blue/Black, customers can purchase it in Orange/Black, Yellow/Black, and Orange/Blue colour combination.
When any object goes through the air, a thin cushion of air wraps around it that stays relatively still. This boundary layer is why you get dust trapped on your ceiling fan. At slower speeds, the air around a soccer ball moves smoothly over the surface and separates off the sides of the ball at its widest points. Imagine a ball moving from right to left across a clock, Goff explains, so traveling from the 3 to the 9. With laminar flow, the air flows over the surface and then flows off at the 12 and 6, which creates more drag in the air. Drag slows the ball down faster. At higher speeds, the air moves turbulently across the ball’s surface and peels off at the 2 and 4. The wind effectively wraps around the back. This turbulent flow has less drag, which means the ball keeps moving at high speed for longer.
This 12-oz. ball works for players between 8 and 12 years old and has a circumference of 26 inches, larger than a size 3 and smaller than the size 5. This age group tends to play on a field of about 30 to 50 yards, writes Deborah W. Crisfield in "The Everything Kids' Soccer Book," with a goal size of around 6 feet high and 18 feet long. Again, the scale for the U12s falls between that of the U8s and that of the older age brackets for the No. 4 ball and the game as a whole. Some leagues may limit the No. 4 ball to U10s instead of U12s, so check league rules before making a purchase.
2010 Jabulani Adidas This ball has 8 panels. A special variant was used for the final match, the gold Jo'bulani (picture on the left), which was named after "Jo'burg", a standard South African nickname for Johannesburg, site of the final game. The ball was notable for the controversy it attracted, with players and fans contending that its aerodynamics were unusually unpredictable.