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“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.
The history of soccer balls date back to ancient times. From a couple centuries BC to about 200 AD, the Chinese used balls made from animal skins in a game called 'tsu chu', in which players had to pass them through a net stretched between two poles. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and even the Egyptians are recorded to have enjoyed a similar game that involved kicking a makeshift ball.
Weighing 14 to 16 oz., a No. 5 ball is the largest-sized ball, and players 12 and older can feel like grownups upon graduating to this size, also used by adults. Its circumference is 27 to 28 inches. Prices can start at $15 for a cheap training ball and up to $150 for a match quality ball, especially if it is a special edition issued in conjunction with the World Cup or Olympics.
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.