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.
While this ball is absolutely adorable and feels like it's a good quality, I'm disappointed with the one I received. It has little chips in the design—there are a few little white marks in the sections that are orange. Also, there is some sort of sticky stuff on the ball, almost like residue from an old sticker. I can probably remove it with Goo-Gone... I'm just not thrilled that it seems to be used or at least bought and returned. While I'm sure my nephew will love it for his 1st birthday party tomorrow, I'm mildly embarrassed to give it to my brother and his wife because of the appearance. If the party weren't tomorrow, I'd return / exchange it. Frustrating!
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2Xn84L3Kcs