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.
Every four years there’s a new ball for the World Cup—and every four years players are unhappy with it. Maybe it’s too light and has too much lift, like the 2002 Fevernova. Or maybe it wobbles unexpectedly in the air, making it harder for goalies to predict its motion, like the 2006 Teamgist. Or maybe the ball suddenly changes speed, dropping out of the air and causing accidental handballs, like the 2010 Jabulani.