When shopping for a new soccer ball, you may have noticed that there are different sizes and weights available in your local athlete’s store. It can be overwhelming to have so many choices, but these soccer balls are actually sized differently for a reason. Well, a number of reasons, actually—if you include individual league standards and the purpose of use. But, let us focus on the most common reason soccer balls differ in size: the player age group—mainly the younger players.
Why so many sizes?
Let us explain each soccer ball’s weight and size and their recommended age groups to better understand the reason behind these sizes.
The Skills Balls
A size one soccer ball has an 18″-20″ circumference and weighs 200-205 grams. Because of its mini size is usually used as a souvenir or promotional ball with the players’ or clubs’ logos that can be sold or given away. Because of its size, this ball is perfect for your little tots to kick around. But just because this size is designed for little soon-to-be-athletes and promotional purposes do not mean it can’t be useful for youth and adult players. Many soccer players, even professional ones, use smaller balls to practice their footwork and ball control skills. Hence, this ball size is referred to as a skills ball.
Size 2 is also referred to as skills ball. It has a circumference of 20″-22″ and weighs 210-280 grams. This is an ideal size to introduce your little athletes ages 3-5. It is also commonly used for training purposes—ball control and handling and footwork. Many soccer players notice that dribbling and juggling get easier on size five after practicing on a size two ball.
The Junior Level Ball
Weighs 300-320 grams and has a circumference of 23″-24″; this size three ball is best suited for players ages 5-8 years old. This size is the smallest ball used in competitive matches in junior-level soccer games. Some adult players also use this size for skills training as well.
What Size is for Youth?
Size 4 is ideal for players ages 8-12 years old. It has a 25″-26″ circumference and weighs 350-390 grams, designed for youth soccer games. While it is only a bit smaller than the standard and regulated ball, youth soccer players find this size and weight much easier to control and maneuver.
This is also referred to as a transition ball—from the junior ball to a full-size soccer ball. It sets a crucial step in the player’s development.
The Standard Size for Soccer
And finally, the official ball size for professional soccer games is a size 5. It has a weight of 410-450 grams and a circumference of 27″-28″. This size is ideal for players 12 years and older, including professionals. Because this ball is too heavy, it is not meant for younger players who are learning the game—and it will be difficult for them to maneuver and control the ball, and there is a risk of injury.
The highest quality and expensive soccer balls in this size category carry the “FIFA-Approved” stamp. When you see the stamp on a size five soccer ball, it means the ball has undergone rigorous testing for its sphericity, circumference, weight, rebound ability, water absorption, loss of pressure, shape, and size retention.
Why Size and Weight Are Important in Soccer Ball
Soccer ball sizes are designed to fit the players’ age and skill level. It affects the development of younger players and not to mention their safety. It could cause more pain or injury to a 5-year-old if he was hit by a size five soccer ball than a size three would.
Players ages 12 years and up can basically use any size. For skill training purposes, they can use the smaller sizes; and for official matches, they use the standard FIFA-approved size 5. But little and young children should never use a ball that is too big for them. They may have difficulty kicking and manipulating a size 4 and 5 soccer ball; consequently, they may also damage their tendons and ligaments.
Using the correct size of soccer ball helps improve your child’s skill development, and most of all, it promotes safety, especially for the younger players.
Of course, it takes a lot of time practicing for players to be skilled, but they should also feel comfortable as well as confident with the ball they are using. They should feel like they are capable of controlling the ball. If the soccer ball size is not appropriate for the child’s age group, it is much harder to develop and improve touch, technique, and skills. This is why parents and coaches must pay extra attention to the players’ age group they are coaching; ensure that they are using the correct ball size