When it comes to soccer balls, not all are created equal. Sure, there are countless colors and a multitude of materials available, but one of the largest areas of difference among soccer balls is sizing. This variation serves a purpose, though, as it allows more individuals to experience the game with the same amount of fun and excitement. A six-year-old child will most likely find more enjoyment playing soccer with a ball proportionate to his or her size rather than with an adult-sized ball.
There are four different soccer ball sizes, with 1 being the smallest and 5 being the largest. Each have their own dimensions, as seen in the graphic below, and each are used best for a specific drill, age group or league.
Size 5 soccer balls will be best suited for any players ages 12 and older, including adults and professionals. They have a circumference of 27″-28″ and weigh approximately 410-450 grams. For match play, the best soccer balls of this size category will carry the “FIFA Inspected” or “FIFA Approved” stamp, meaning that they have undergone proper testing for circumference, roundness, rebound, weight, water absorption, loss of pressure, shape and size retention. These “FIFA Inspected” soccer balls can be a higher price point, so some may consider using them for match play only.
A size 4 soccer ball is used primarily by youth players in the 8-12 age range. The dimensions of a size 4 ball are 25″-26″ in circumference and 350-390 grams in weight. This decrease in size is beneficial for this age group as it allows players to get accustomed to their skill set. For example, players of this age might find difficulty in practicing their dribbling skills or ball control if they choose to use a size 5 ball, as it may be too large and too heavy for efficient training.
A size 3 soccer ball is typically best suited for children ages 8 or younger. Measuring 23″-24″ in circumference and weighing roughly 300-320 grams, this soccer ball size is the smallest that you’ll see in competitive play. This small youth ball is a great option because it encourages proper ball handling for youngsters and is properly proportioned to most kids at this age group.
Also referred to as “minis,” size 1 soccer balls have a circumference of 18″-20″. While some may benefit from skill training with these sized soccer balls, their main purpose is for general entertainment and collection. Many souvenir balls with player logos or club designs will be size 1 for their ease and collectability.
Finding the right soccer ball size based on age group can be beneficial, but remember that size can also vary by league standards. Make sure to check with your coach or league official to be sure that you’re purchasing the right ball.
Now you’re ready to play!