Despite the similarities with the Brazuca, the few differences between this ball and what players have gotten used to over the last four years will have an impact on play, says Firoz Alam, an aerodynamics engineer at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, who has also performed wind tunnel tests on the Telstar 18. “When the player is making a short pass, they have to push a little harder, because at less then 60 kilometers per hour [or 37 miles per hour]it has more flight resistance than the Brazuca,” says Alam. The mid-range passes and corner kicks that gave the Jabulani so much trouble have been resolved. Compared to the Brazuca, the Telstar 18 is also more aerodynamically efficient in the 40-50 mile an hour range, so Alam says players will actually have to kick a little softer or they’re likely to overshoot. Over 55 miles an hour the two balls will feel very similar.
Today, soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world. Championships and league cup events are some of the biggest social and athletic events of the year in many countries. This sport is also one of the most demanding athletically as it requires the use of almost every muscle in a player’s body at once. Playing soccer in a league or just for fun is a great way to receive a cardiovascular and aerobic workout. It can lower your body fat and increase flexibility and endurance. The health benefits of this sport are exponentially higher than some others due to the constant switching between walking, running, and sprinting which improves muscle tone and bolsters bone strength.
This ball also comes in sizes 5, 4, and 3 and ships at one pound exactly, and it does not appear to come inflated. This soccer ball ships within the US and is not eligible for international shipping. For the low price and quality of this ball, it is totally worth the value because the exact ball that the pros use is around $100, and this pro soccer ball replica is a fraction of the price.
Although the length of kick may end up being a little shorter, the changes make the Telstar 18 more balanced, says Alam. On other balls, Alam and his team have found that there is a difference in how the ball flies based on where it’s kicked in relation to the seams. His tests have found that the Telstar 18 ball doesn’t have as much variation. The total length of seam of the Telstar 18 is 14.1 feet, 3.28 feet more than on the Brazuca. With the longer seam, and more symmetric panels, no matter how the ball is turned there is the same amount of seam exposed. “The other two balls were not like that, they were significantly different,” he says.
Our main intention of discussing the different types of balls is to educate you so that you can buy the right product. For example using practice balls on the street will bring you no good but some awful experiences as the ball will not last long. Similarly, an indoor soccer ball is not good to play on a beach. Keep this in mind when buying, and using a ball.
On the other hand, replicas (sometimes called training balls or gliders) are designed to be just like the official match balls but are much cheaper. Their panels are often stitched rather than thermally-bonded and are made of a different material. However, they’re not necessarily less durable than official match balls. So, they’re the recommended option for most players.
As always with Nike balls, the Merlin has an excellent feel, particularly when passing. The ball is also great for shooting due to Nike’s 4-panel construction, 360-degree sweet spot technology and the soft polyurethane outer material. It won’t deviate too much in the air due to the thermally-bonded pentagonal panel layout, so it’s perfect for training as well as games.
If you’re working on headers, then your forehead won’t feel like it is being repetitively hit with a meat tenderizer thanks to the design of this ball. That soft touch also translates to a reasonably authentic movement when working on crosses or shots. There is a reasonable bend that allows players to wrap a leading ball around a defensive line, curve a shot around a wall, or work on accurate passing. Control skills off of the chest or knee feel close to authentic as well.
Of everything that we have analyzed about these soccer balls, one of the biggest things that you can look at for is the external material of the ball. TPU seems like it is the standard in durability for soccer balls in this price range. Machine stitching is another thing that you want to make sure that you have, as it appears that some balls that are stitched otherwise can split open and leak. In any case, make sure that you have your own soccer pump so that you can always be sure that your soccer ball is properly inflated.
To be honest, this ball’s a bit like a classic car, in that it’s awesome – when it works. The Jabulani is prone to valve issues, although they can be fixed. If you need something durable, we wouldn’t recommend this ball. However, if you’re looking to add an awesome ball to your collection – and you’ve got the cash – consider grabbing a Jabulani before they go extinct.
Please note, there are only 3 sizes available for this model; size 5, size 4, and size 3. So it is crucial that if you are looking for size 2 or size 1, then this is not an option for you. So, choose the right size before buying so that you don’t regret after receiving the purchase. If you are not sure which size means what then click here to read our guideline.
The secret to the authentic movements on a rebound with this ball is the inclusion of an SBR foam layer underneath the PU cover. This allows the power of a pass or shot to be transferred with more accuracy. It keeps the ball somewhat soft to the touch, but creates a realistic movement which allows players to develop an ability to start reading the game with accuracy without the need to purchase an expensive premium match soccer ball. It comes in all of the standard sizes and offers 4 unique design options, allowing players of any age or ability to begin working on their soccer skills.