New! 2018 FIFA® World Cup Russia Telstar Mechta Ball: Get your own official knockout stage ball, designed with a new red color to represent the host country. While the Telstar Mechta features an intensified look, it has the same high-quality construction as the Telstar 18 ball used in the group phase. Mechta means “dream” or “ambition” in Russian, honoring both players’ and fans’ FIFA World Cup ambitions.

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This time there is no stitching to attach the panels, but they are thermally bonded. This is the interesting part. First, we wanted to see how it performs in the air for a free kick. You will find a decent, predictable trajectory. Although when you are knuckling, the result mainly depends on your skill and the air direction, a ball plays a vital role as well to help your process of a successful knuckle shot.
However, in Goff’s wind tests, he and his team noticed that the Telstar 18 had a little more resistance at high speeds, and predict that the ball will go about eight to nine percent less distance down the pitch on long kicks. This means that Manuel Neuer, the goalkeeper for Germany who was considered to be the x-factor that brought Germany the win in 2014, might not have quite as much of an impact clearing balls from the goal this time around Goff says. “You’d see him just kicking the ball way, way down the pitch, and [this World Cup] you might notice that some of those kicks aren’t quite as long as before,” Goff says.
However, in Goff’s wind tests, he and his team noticed that the Telstar 18 had a little more resistance at high speeds, and predict that the ball will go about eight to nine percent less distance down the pitch on long kicks. This means that Manuel Neuer, the goalkeeper for Germany who was considered to be the x-factor that brought Germany the win in 2014, might not have quite as much of an impact clearing balls from the goal this time around Goff says. “You’d see him just kicking the ball way, way down the pitch, and [this World Cup] you might notice that some of those kicks aren’t quite as long as before,” Goff says.

Whatever ball you decide to purchase try to prolong the life of the ball by taking care of it. Don’t let your players stand on the ball or try to change the shape. Don’t leave them outside between practice sessions as prolonged exposure to sun or rain will damage the surface of the ball and dramatically reduce its life. Always try to keep balls clean after play by wiping them down with a damp cloth.

This size ball, the smallest aside from mini-balls not used for real practices or games, weighs 10 oz. and can be used for players under 8. The No. 3 ball is only 24 inches in circumference and thus doesn't come up as high on the leg as an adult model. You don't need to provide a match-quality ball for your young player, write the authors of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coaching Youth Soccer."


This makes such a cute gift for a toddler or baby! I love the fox design. I bought this for my 1 year old for Christmas and he loves it. It comes deflated and comes with a small air pump and it’s super easy to inflate. I also like that it’s made of a sturdy material if a baby or toddler bites into it, they aren’t going to get a chunk out of it (like they might with foam toys). It doesn’t bounce, but it’s fun to kick around and won’t hurt too much if kids are throwing it around and it happens to hit someone on accident. (I would know because my 3 year old loves to throw it at his little brother, lol.)
This year, the ball shouldn’t have that kind of impact on which team wins the World Cup. In wind tunnel tests, Goff found that Telstar 18 has a very similar aerodynamic profile to the 2014 Brazuca ball, which flew without the wobbles of the Jabulani. The Jabulani was the first ball to have six seams and despite having a roughened surface, it was too smooth, says Goff. When the Brazuca was released, it had 68 percent more seams than the Jabulani to help change the airflow around the ball. The Telstar 18 is even more improved. Instead of transitioning to laminar flow in the middle of free kicks, Goff found that the Telstar 18 goes through its drag crisis at a lower speed of 38 miles an hour.
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
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