|AI-2000 -Type of high end synthetic leather material used to make the outer covers on soccer balls. For more information on soccer ball construction|
|BAR – The IS Metric unit of pressure equal to one million Dynes per square centimeter. One Bar is equal to 14.5038 pounds per square inch (PSI) . It is also nearly equivalent to one atmosphere of pressure.|
|Bladder – Used to retain the air in an inflatable ball. Usually made of latex or butyl. For more information click here.|
|Buckminster Soccer Ball or BuckyBall – The American architect Richard Buckminster Fuller came up with the design when he was trying to find a way for constructing buildings using a minimum of materials.The shape is a series of hexagons, pentagons and triangles, which can be fitted together to make a round surface. The modern football is essentially a Buckminster Ball consisting of 20 hexagonal and 12 pentagonal surfaces. When they are sewn together and inflated they make a near perfect sphere. For more information on the history of the soccer ball|
|Butyl Bladders – Type of material used in the construction of ball bladders. Retains air longer than bladders made from latex.|
|Carbon Latex Bladders – Type of material used in the construction of ball bladders. Retains air longer than bladders made from latex. Carbon is added to the latex to plug some of the microscopic holes that are in pure latex bladders.|
|Circumference – Measurement of the outer dimension of the soccer ball. Type of testing used in approving a soccer ball for FIFA match use. Assures that the ball will is with in the minimum and maximum specifications of circumference. For more information on FIFA soccer ball testing specifications|
|Cover – The surface of soccer balls or coverings are made up from synthetic leather and not full grain leather because leather has a tendency to absorb water causing the ball to become very heavy. Synthetic leather is typically made from PU (polyurethane)|
and PVC (poly vinyl chloride). For more information on soccer ball construction
|DART (Dynamic Acceleration Response and Touch) – casing system used in some Nike soccer balls|
|FIFA Approved – Since January 1, 1996 only those outdoor soccer balls (footballs) which have been tested and meet the demanding quality criteria, bearing either of the official markings ‘FIFA Approved’, ‘FIFA Inspected’ or ‘International Matchball Standard,’ are allowed to be used in FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association www.fifa.com ) competition matches and competition matches under the auspices of the six continental Confederations. For more information on soccer ball approvals|
|FIFA -Fédération Internationale de Football Association at www.fifa.com|
|FIFA Inspected – Since January 1, 1996 only those outdoor soccer balls ( footballs) which have been tested and meet the demanding quality criteria, bearing either of the official markings ‘FIFA Approved’, ‘FIFA Inspected’ or ‘International Matchball Standard,’ are allowed to be used in FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association www.fifa.com ) competition matches and competition matches under the auspices of the six continental Confederations. For more information on soccer ball approvals|
|Football – THE GAME or THE BALL otherwise known as a soccer ball or futbol. Not to be confused with American football.|
|Futbol – THE GAME or THE BALL otherwise known as a soccer ball or football.|
|Impranil® – Adidas’s Fevernova soccer ball uses a special foam layer with tiny gas filled balloons imbedded in a syntactic foam. The foam is based on an abrasion resistant polyurethane made by Bayer. For more information on the Fevernova ball and other soccer ball innovations, click here.|
|International Match Ball (IMS) – Since January 1, 1996 only those outdoor soccer balls ( footballs) which have been tested and meet the demanding quality criteria, bearing either of the official markings ‘FIFA Approved’, ‘FIFA Inspected’ or ‘International Matchball Standard,’ are allowed to be used in FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association www.fifa.com ) competition matches and competition matches under the auspices of the six continental Confederations. For more information on soccer ball approval|
|Korean Ducksung -Type of high end synthetic leather material used to make the outer covers on soccer balls.|
|Latex Bladders – Type of material used in the construction of ball bladders. Retains air less longer than bladders made from butyl. However; latex bladders tend to have a better “feel” than balls with butyl bladders.|
|Leather – Early soccer balls (footballs) were made with leather outer covers. However; the balls would absorb water and become very heavy. Synthetic leather materials are used in today’s balls because they do not absorb as much water. For more information on the history of the soccer ball|
|Leatherite – Synthetic leather usually PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) or PU (Poly Urethane).|
|Lining – Multiple layers of lining are placed between the cover and the bladder. These layers are composed of polyester or cotton bonded (laminated) together to give the ball strength, structure and bounce. Professional soccer balls usually have four or more layers of lining. Promotional or practice balls are often constructed with less layers of lining. The lining helps the ball retain it’s shape and bounce over the life of the ball. For more information on soccer ball construction|
|Loss of Pressure – Type of testing used in approving a soccer ball for FIFA match use. Assures that the ball will not loose a certain amount of pressure over time.|
|MSB – Machine Stitch Ball or Machine Stitch Technology|
|Microfiber – Type of synthetic leather developed to look and feel like leather. Uses micro strands of fiber to simulate the grain structure of leather. High end soccer balls use microfiber for the outer cover.|
|NFHS – National Federation of State High School Associations at www.nfhs.org|
|NFHS Approved – Since the 1999-2000 school year, soccer balls used in interscholastic competition in sports for which the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) writes playing rules are required to have the NFHS authenticating mark. For more information on this authenticating mark|
|Panels – The different segments that make up the outside of the ball — varies for each soccer ball design. For more information on soccer ball construction|
|PERIMETER BALANCE TECHNOLOGY (PBT) – Puma’s bladder balance technology used on their new Shudoh ball with dimples.|
|Pig’s Bladders – Used to retain the air in very old inflatable balls. Today, typical bladders are made of latex or butyl. For more information on the history of the soccer ball|
|Porvair – Type of high end synthetic leather material used to make the outer covers on soccer balls.|
|PSI – A measurement of pressure in the American system. By way of comparison, the weight of the atmosphere (one atmosphere) is 14.7 pounds per square inch, at sea level. In the IS Metric system, pressure is measured in Bars. To covert PSI to Bars, take the PSI figure and multiply it by 0.0689476.|
|PU – Poly Urethane – Type of high end synthetic leather material used to make the outer covers on soccer balls|
|PUMA AIR LOCK’ (PAL) – Puma’s bladder air valve technology used on their new Shudoh ball with dimples.|
|PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride – Type synthetic leather material used to make the outer covers on soccer balls. Usually used on practice type soccer balls because it is less scuff resistant than balls made with PU synthetic leather material.|
|Rebound – Type of testing used in approving a soccer ball for FIFA match use. Assures that the ball will bounce to the specified minimum and maximum height at a certain temperature and ball pressure.|
|Shape and Size Retention – Type of testing used in approving a soccer ball for the “FIFA Approved” mark. Assures that the ball will keep it’s shape, pressure and size after subjecting it to 2000 simulated kicks against a metal plate. A machine is used to simulate the kicks at the specified speed and distance.|
|Soccer Ball – THE BALL otherwise known as a football or futbol. It is the ball used in a soccer match (duh).|
|Sphericity – Measurement of how “round” the soccer ball is. Type of testing used in approving a soccer ball for FIFA match use. Assures that the ball will not deviate more than the specified percentage from the mean value.|
|Stitching – The highest quality balls are stitched with a polyester or similar thread. 5-ply twisted polyester cord is the material of choice in stitching together a soccer ball. Hand sewn balls have tighter and stronger seams. Kevlar® reinforced polyester stitching is also used on some balls. For more information on soccer ball construction|
|Syntactic – special foam layer with tiny gas filled balloons imbedded within. Used exclusively in Adidas’s Fevernova soccer ball.|
|Synthetic Leather – Simulated leather used in the outer cover of soccer balls.|
|Teijin Cordley – Type of high end synthetic leather material used to make the outer covers on soccer balls.|
|TPU – Thermo Poly Urethane – Type of synthetic leather material used to make the outer covers on soccer balls.|
|Types – Soccer balls are generally categorized into four types, Professional Match, Match, Practice and Promotional balls. For more information click here|
|Water Absorption – Type of testing used in approving a soccer ball for FIFA match use. Assures that the ball does not absorb over the specified amount of water weight.|
|Weight – Measurement of how much a soccer ball weighs. Type of testing used in approving a soccer ball for FIFA match use. Assures that the ball weight is with in the specified range.|
Questions about buying Soccer Balls
The following questions are typically asked by people that want to buy soccer balls:What size soccer ball should I buy? The first step in purchasing soccer balls is determining the proper size(s) to buy. Many soccer leagues have different size requirements, so be sure to check with your coach or organization to find out which size ball to buy. Soccer balls for match use come in three different sizes which range from size 3 to size 5. For more information on soccer ball sizes
What is the difference between a high quality soccer ball and a low quality soccer ball? When purchasing soccer balls, many people buy according to the price of the ball. If a ball is expensive, that meant that it is a high quality ball and if it was a low costing ball, the ball is a low quality. That is not always true. Many players, coaches, clubs and even professionals do not know what type of ball to buy for their particular needs. Please go to the following Soccer Ball World page to start learning about the construction of the various types of soccer balls,
When I buy a soccer ball at a local store, how do I know if I am buying a good soccer ball? Ball material information on the packaging of the balls is minimal at best. Marketing hype is hard to understand. So people are very frustrated when buying soccer balls for their clubs, teams or own use. Parents of soccer players have always asked me about what type and where to buy soccer balls for their up and coming star. “Go to the local store and pick out one that is on sale” I would tell them. The only recommendation I could make was to check out soccer balls that I previously used and knew they were good quality. After researching the web, I could not readily find information on how to be an “informed buyer” of soccer balls. So SoccerBallWorld.com has been developed to help players, coaches, team mangers and soccer ball buyers learn about the soccer ball. To get started on the soccer ball buying guide at Soccer Ball World,
What are the different types of soccer balls? Should I buy an expensive one, a middle priced one or a cheap one? What kind of balls are adequate for my needs? Most soccer balls can be divided into three different categories, professional match balls, match balls, and practice balls. The type you need of course depends on how and where you want to use the soccer ball. For more information on types of soccer balls,
What about ball longevity? Will the ball last very long on a hard pitch, concrete or dirt? The material used in the soccer ball’s cover is the biggest factor in how long the ball will last on rough surfaces. A ball with a rubberized material cover will typically last longer on rough surfaces than a ball made from synthetic leather.
Many stores have a very large selection of soccer balls. How do I pick out the best ball for my money? First know what type of soccer ball is best for your needs and how much you want to spend. Also, research what materials make up the best soccer balls. Of course you can use Soccer Ball World as a buying guide. .
Where is a good place to buy soccer balls? At Soccer Ball World of course! We have taken great care in providing you with the best soccer balls and accessories for your money.
Are children used to make the soccer balls that you sell? No, the manufacturers guarantee that child labor has not been used to make their balls. They are approved by IPEC’s I.L.O (International Program for the elimination of Child Labor and Human Rights Requirements) and have passed their control visits.
General Soccer Ball Questions:
- Why do I always have to pump up even expensive balls? Many balls use bladders made out of latex. Natural Latex Rubber bladders offer the softest feel and response, but do not provide the best air retention. Micro pores slowly let air escape. Balls with natural rubber bladders need to be re-inflated more often than balls with butyl bladders. Even after one or two days, the latex bladder will leak enough air so that you will have to inflate the ball back to recommended pressure. Some balls use carbon-latex bladders in which the carbon powder helps to close the micro pores. Soccer balls with carbon latex bladders usually increase air retention to approximately one week. Of course, check the ball for punctures that may cause the air to leak out.Soccer Balls with Butyl bladders offer an excellent combination of feel and air retention and can be found in most middle to upper priced balls. Air retention is significantly increased to weeks and months instead of days compared to balls with latex bladders.
- How does a ball curve when you kick it? For the answer to this question and others relating to the physics of a soccer ball
- What are the requirements of a soccer ball used in matches? Requirement information for soccer balls are usually found with the officiating organization that the match or game is played under. Contact the organization that runs the game that the soccer ball is going to be used in. To learn more about the soccer ball laws of FIFA and NFHS
- How do I take care of my soccer balls? To learn about proper ball care including treatment, cleaning and inflation.
- How Do I inflate my soccer balls? Soccer balls lose air pressure over time. Sometimes over a few days (soccer balls that use butyl bladders keep air pressure longer than balls that use latex bladders). Be sure to check the pressure frequently to make sure the ball is properly inflated. Therefore, invest in a good ball pump, have a supply of inflation needles and use a low pressure gauge to measure for proper inflation. Before you first inflate a soccer ball, place a couple drops of silicone oil or silicone lubricant spray or glycerin oil into the valve. You can purchase one of the oils or spray at your local hardware store. Using one of the lubricants will improve the life of the valve and lubricate the valve for easy insertion of the inflation needle. Always moisten the inflation needle before you insert it into the valve. Preferably, use some silicon oil, silicon spray or glycerin oil to moisten the needle. However; most people use spit…yuk, but that is not recommended.
- What does the FIFA APPROVED, FIFA INSPECTED, and INTERNATIONAL MATCHBALL STANDARD (IMS) logos mean on a ball? These logos mean that the ball meets all the requirements specified by FIFA. To learn more about the different FIFA football approvals
- What does the NFHS logo mean on a ball? Since the 1999-2000 school year, soccer balls used in interscholastic competition in sports for which the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) writes playing rules are required to have the NFHS authenticating mark. To learn more about the NFHS authentication mark
- Why do some soccer balls get bigger over time? Many soccer balls do tend to get larger over time. Especially lower quality balls! This is due to the pressure of the bladder against the linings and cover. Over time the material and stitching may stretch out causing the ball to become larger. Also, soccer ball abuse may cause the stitching to loosen and the ball to expand.
Soccer Ball World Questions
- Physics FAQ
- Physics 2
- Spinning Ball
- Ball Drag
- Turbulent Air
- Drag vs. Speed
- How To Curve A Football
- The Physics of Football Article
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Physics of Soccer Balls
- Beckham Goal
The following article was first published in Physics World magazine, June 1998 pp25–27.
The Physics of Football
Bill Shankly, the former manager of Liverpool football club, once said: “Football is not about life or death. It is more important than that.” This month at the World Cup in France, millions of football fans will get that same feeling for a few, short weeks. Then the event will be over, and all that will remain will be a few repeats on television and the endless speculation about what might have happened. It is this aspect of football that its fans love, and others hate. What if that penalty had gone in? What if the player hadn’t been sent off? What if that free kick hadn’t bent around the wall and gone in for a goal?
Many fans will remember the free kick taken by the Brazilian Roberto Carlos in a tournament in France last summer. The ball was placed about 30 m from his opponents’ goal and slightly to the right. Carlos hit the ball so far to the right that it initially cleared the wall of defenders by at least a meter and made a ball-boy, who stood meters from the goal, duck his head. Then, almost magically, the ball curved to the left and entered the top right-hand corner of the goal – to the amazement of players, the goalkeeper and the media alike.
Apparently, Carlos practiced this kick all the time on the training ground. He intuitively knew how to curve the ball by hitting it at a particular velocity and with a particular spin. He probably did not, however, know the physics behind it all.
Aerodynamics of sports balls
The first explanation of the lateral deflection of a spinning object was credited by Lord Rayleigh to work done by the German physicist Gustav Magnus in 1852. Magnus had actually been trying to determine why spinning shells and bullets deflect to one side, but his explanation applies equally well to balls. Indeed, the fundamental mechanism of a curving ball in football is almost the same as in other sports such as baseball, golf, cricket and tennis.
Consider a ball that is spinning about an axis perpendicular to the flow of air across it (see left). The air travels faster relative to the center of the ball where the periphery of the ball is moving in the same direction as the airflow. This reduces the pressure, according to Bernouilli’s principle. The opposite effect happens on the other side of the ball, where the air travels slower relative to the center of the ball. There is therefore an imbalance in the forces and the ball deflects – or, as Sir J J Thomson put it in 1910, “the ball follows its nose”. This lateral deflection of a ball in flight is generally known as the “Magnus effect”.
The forces on a spinning ball that is flying through the air are generally divided into two types: a lift force and a drag force. The lift force is the upwards or sidewards force that is responsible for the Magnus effect. The drag force acts in the opposite direction to the path of the ball.
Let us calculate the forces at work in a well taken free kick. Assuming that the velocity of the ball is 25-30 ms-1 (about 70 mph) and that the spin is about 8-10 revolutions per second, then the lift force turns out to be about 3.5 N. The regulations state that a professional football must have a mass of 410-450 g, which means that it accelerates by about 8 ms-2. And since the ball would be in flight for 1 s over its 30 m trajectory, the lift force could make the ball deviate by as much as 4 m from its normal straight-line course. Enough to trouble any goalkeeper!
The drag force, FD, on a ball increases with the square of the velocity, v, assuming that the density, r, of the ball and its cross-sectional area, A, remain unchanged: FD = CDrAv2/2. It appears, however, that the “drag coefficient”, CD, also depends on the velocity of the ball. For example, if we plot the drag coefficient against Reynold’s number – a non-dimensional parameter equal to rv D /µ, where D is the diameter of the ball and µ is the kinematic viscosity of the air – we find that the drag coefficient drops suddenly when the airflow at the surface of the ball changes from being smooth and laminar to being turbulent (see right).
When the airflow is laminar and the drag coefficient is high, the boundary layer of air on the surface of the ball “separates” relatively early as it flows over the ball, producing vortices in its wake. However, when the airflow is turbulent, the boundary layer sticks to the ball for longer. This produces late separation and a small drag.
The Reynold’s number at which the drag coefficient drops therefore depends on the surface roughness of the ball. For example, golf balls, which are heavily dimpled, have quite a high surface roughness and the drag coefficient drops at a relatively low Reynold’s number (~ 2 x 104). A football, however, is smoother than a golf ball and the critical transition is reached at a much higher Reynold’s number (~ 4 x 105).
The upshot of all of this is that a slow-moving football experiences a relatively high retarding force. But if you can hit the ball fast enough so that the airflow over it is turbulent, the ball experiences a small retarding force (see right). A fast-moving football is therefore double trouble for a goalkeeper hoping to make a save – not only is the ball moving at high speed, it also does not slow down as much as might be expected. Perhaps the best goalkeepers intuitively understand more physics than they realize.
In 1976 Peter Bearman and colleagues from Imperial College, London, carried out a classic series of experiments on golf balls. They found that increasing the spin on a ball produced a higher lift coefficient and hence a bigger Magnus force. However, increasing the velocity at a given spin reduced the lift coefficient. What this means for a football is that a slow-moving ball with a lot of spin will have a larger sideways force than a fast-moving ball with the same spin. So as a ball slows down at the end of its trajectory, the curve becomes more pronounced.
Roberto Carlos revisited
How does all of this explain the free kick taken by Roberto Carlos? Although we cannot be entirely sure, the following is probably a fair explanation of what went on.
Carlos kicked the ball with the outside of his left foot to make it spin anticlockwise as he looked down onto it. Conditions were dry, so the amount of spin he gave the ball was high, perhaps over 10 revolutions per second. Kicking it with the outside of his foot allowed him to hit the ball hard, at probably over 30 ms-1 (70 mph). The flow of air over the surface of the ball was turbulent, which gave the ball a relatively low amount of drag. Some way into its path – perhaps around the 10 m mark (or at about the position of the wall of defenders) – the ball’s velocity dropped such that it entered the laminar flow regime. This substantially increased the drag on the ball, which made it slow down even more. This enabled the sideways Magnus force, which was bending the ball towards the goal, to come even more into effect. Assuming that the amount of spin had not decayed too much, then the drag coefficient increased. This introduced an even larger sideways force and caused the ball to bend further. Finally, as the ball slowed, the bend became more exaggerated still (possibly due to the increase in the lift coefficient) until it hit the back of the net – much to the delight of the physicists in the crowd.
Current research into football motion
There is more to football research than simply studying the motion of the ball in flight. Researchers are also interested in finding out how a footballer actually kicks a ball. For example, Stanley Plagenhof of the University of Massachusetts in the US has studied the kinematics of kicking – in other words, ignoring the forces involved. Other researchers, such as Elizabeth Roberts and co-workers at the University of Wisconsin, have done dynamic analyses of kicking, taking the forces involved into account.
These experimental approaches have produced some excellent results, although many challenges still remain. One of the most critical problems is the difficulty of measuring the physical motion of humans, partly because their movements are so unpredictable. However, recent advances in analyzing motion with computers have attracted much attention in sports science, and, with the help of new scientific methods, it is now possible to make reasonably accurate measurements of human motion.
For example, two of the authors (TA and TA) and a research team at Yamagata University in Japan have used a computational scientific approach coupled with the more conventional dynamical methods to simulate the way players kick a ball. These simulations have enabled the creation of “virtual” soccer players of various types – from beginners and young children to professionals – to play in virtual space and time on the computer. Sports equipment manufacturers, such as the ASICS Corporation, who are sponsoring the Yamagata project, are also interested in the work. They hope to use the results to design safer and higher performance sports equipment that can be made faster and more economically than existing products.
The movement of players was followed using high-speed video at 4500 frames per second, and the impact of the foot on the ball was then studied with finite-element analysis. The initial experiments proved what most footballers know: if you strike the ball straight on with your instep so that the foot hits the ball in line with the ball’s center of gravity, then the ball shoots off in a straight line. However, if you kick the ball with the front of your foot and with the angle between your leg and foot at 90° (see left), it will curve in flight. In this case, the impact is off-center. This causes the applied force to act as a torque, which therefore gives the ball a spin.
The experimental results also showed that the spin picked up by the ball is closely related to the coefficient of friction between the foot and the ball, and to the offset distance of the foot from the ball’s center of gravity. A finite-element model of the impact of the foot on the ball, written with DYTRAN and PATRAN software from the MacNeal Schwendler Corporation, was used to numerically analyze these events. This study showed that an increase in the coefficient of friction between the ball and the foot caused the ball to acquire more spin. There was also more spin if the offset position was further from the center of gravity. Two other interesting effects were observed. First, if the offset distance increased, then the foot touched the ball for a shorter time and over a smaller area, which caused both the spin and the velocity of the ball to decrease. There is therefore an optimum place to hit the ball if you want maximum spin: if you hit the ball too close or too far from the center of gravity, it will not acquire any spin at all.
The other interesting effect was that even if the coefficient of friction is zero, the ball still gains some spin if you kick it with an offset from its center of gravity . Although in this case there is no peripheral force parallel to the circumference of the ball (since the coefficient of friction is zero), the ball nevertheless deforms towards its center, which causes some force to act around the center of gravity. It is therefore possible to spin a football on a rainy day, although the spin will be much less than if conditions were dry.
Of course, the analysis has several limitations. The air outside the ball was ignored, and it was assumed that the air inside the ball behaved according to a compressive, viscous fluid-flow model. Ideally, the air both inside and outside the ball should be included, and the viscosities modeled using Navier-Stokes equations. It was also assumed that the foot was homogeneous, when it is obvious that a real foot is much more complicated than this. Although it would be impossible to create a perfect model that took every factor into account, this model does include the most important features.
Looking to the future, two of us (TA and TA) also plan to investigate the effect of different types of footwear on the kicking of a ball. Meanwhile, ASICS is combining the Yamagata finite-element simulations with biomechanics, physiology and materials science to design new types of football boots. Ultimately, however, it is the footballer who makes the difference – and without ability, technology is worthless.
The final whistle
So what can we learn from Roberto Carlos? If you kick the ball hard enough for the airflow over the surface to become turbulent, then the drag force remains small and the ball will really fly. If you want the ball to curve, give it lots of spin by hitting it off-center. This is easier on a dry day than on a wet day, but can still be done regardless of conditions. The ball will curve most when it slows down into the laminar flow regime, so you need to practice to make sure that this transition occurs in the right place – for example, just after the ball has passed a defensive wall. If conditions are wet, you can still get spin, but you would be better off drying the ball (and your boots).
Nearly 90 years ago J J Thomson gave a lecture at the Royal Institution in London on the dynamics of golf balls. He is quoted as saying the following: “If we could accept the explanations of the behavior of the ball given by many contributors to the very voluminous literature which has collected around the game…I should have to bring before you this evening a new dynamics, and announce that matter, when made up into [golf] balls obeys laws of an entirely different character from those governing its action when in any other conditions.” In football, at least, we can be sure that things have moved on.
C B Daish 1972 The Physics of Ball Games (The English University Press, London)
S J Haake (ed) 1996 The Engineering of Sport (A A Balkema, Rotterdam)
R D Mehta 1985 Aerodynamics of sports balls Ann. Rev. Fluid Mech. 17 151-189
Soccer has been played in various forms though out history. Many sites on the world wide web have information on the history of football or soccer and who invented the original soccer ball. Of course, here at Soccer Ball World, we will concentrate on the history and evolution of the soccer ball.
Click on the titles below to go directly to that section:
- Early Ball History
- Balls in the 1800’s
- Goodyear’s 1855 Soccer Ball
- Soccer Balls in the 1900’s
- First World Cup Soccer Ball with team pictures
- Synthetic Soccer Balls
- The Buckminster Soccer Ball
- History of the World Cup Official Match Balls
- Adidas Finale – UEFA Champions League Finale Balls 2001-2015
- The European Championship Match Balls 1984-2015
- Official match balls of the Olympic Games
- Adidas Questra family
- 2000 and beyond
- Adidas Pelias 2 – Official Match Ball for all FIFA events in 2005 in Europe
Early Soccer Ball History
Through out history, humans have enjoyed kicking a ball or something like a ball. South American Indians were known to use a light elasticized ball. However; rubber was not to be practically manufactured until a few thousand years later.
According to historical references and legend, early balls ranged from human heads, stitched up cloth, animal and human skulls to pig or cow bladders.
During the Ts’in and Han Dynasties (255 BC-220 AD), the Chinese played ‘tsu chu’, in which animal-skin balls were dribbled through gaps in a net stretched between two poles. Certain ancient Egyptian rites are said by historians to have similarities with football, and both the ancient Greeks and Romans also played a game that entailed carrying and kicking a ball.
According to pre-medieval legend, an entire village would kick a skull along a path to a nearby village square. The opposing village would in turn attempt to kick the skull to the first village’s square. Wow, that probably caused more riots than in modern soccer games.
A Medieval custom was to take pig bladders used from live stock killed in preparation for winter sustenance and inflate them. They would play a game using their feet and hands to keep the “ball” in the air. Sounds like hacky sack to me.
The animal bladder balls were eventually covered with leather for better shape retention.
Balls in 1800’s
In 1836 Charles Goodyear patented vulcanized rubber. Prior to this, balls were dependant on the size and shape of the pig’s bladder. The more irregular the bladder, the more unpredictable the behavior of the ball was when kicked. However; it would not be until the twentieth century until most balls were made with rubber bladders.
In 1855, Charles Goodyear designed and built the first vulcanized rubber soccer balls (footballs). The following picture shows the Charles Goodyear ball that is on display at the National Soccer Hall of Fame which is located in Oneonta, NY, USA.
For more information on the Charles Goodyear oldest soccer ball, click here
In the 1862, H.J. Lindon developed one of the first inflatable rubber bladders for balls. Tragically his wife previously died from lung disease. Reportedly from blowing up many hundreds of pig’s bladders. Lindon was probably inspired to develop the inflatable rubber bladder because of the ill effects of blowing up pig’s bladders. The balls with the rubber bladders ensured that the ball remained hard and oval. Lindon also claimed to have invented the rugby ball but did not patent the idea. In those days, the round ball was preferred because it was easier to kick and the oval ball was easier to handle.
In 1863 the newly formed English Football Association met to hammer out the laws of the game. No description of the ball was offered in the first set of rules. When the rules were revised in 1872 it was agreed that the ball “must be spherical with a circumference of 27 to 28 inches” (68.6 cm to 71.1 cm). That rule remains in today’s FIFA laws. Very little has ever been written about the ball, probably because it has remained very much the same over the years. The official size and weight of the ball was first fixed in 1872. It was changed ever so little in 1937 when the official weight was increased from 13-15 oz to 14-16 oz. The Encyclopedia of Association Football (first published in England in 1956) says as follows “According to the Laws of Football, the ball must be spherical with an outer casing of leather or other approved materials. The circumference shall not be more than 28 in., nor less than 27 in, while the weight at the start of the game must not be more that 16 oz., nor less than 14 oz.” The Laws of the Game as published in 2001 say exactly the same thing as to size and weight. What has changed drastically over the last 30 or so years is the material the ball is made of and the shape of the panels that make up the ball.
Match Ball used in the FA Cup Final of 1893
Wolves 1 Everton 0
Mass production of soccer balls started as a direct consequence of the English Football League that was founded in 1888. Mitre and Thomlinson’s of Glasgow were two of the first companies to mass produce soccer balls during that time. They touted that the key element in a quality football was how well it could retain it’s shape. Strength of the leather and the skills of the cutters and stitchers were the main factors in producing a football that would retain it’s shape. The top grade covers were made with leather from the rump of a cow while lower quality balls were made from the shoulder. Advances in ball design came with the development of interlocking panels instead of the previously used leather sections that met at the north and south poles of the ball. The balls were then produced with a more acceptable round shape.
Soccer Balls in the 1900’s
Official FC Barcelona Museum 1899 Eight Panel Ball
1900 Eight Panel Ball – Picture from Jacques Barralon
1910 Soccer Ball
By the 1900’s bladders were made with stronger rubber and could withstand heavier pressure. Most balls produced by that time used rubber bladders. The balls were made from inner tubes covered with heavy brown leather. These balls would bounce easier and yet could be kicked. Most balls had a tanned leather cover with eighteen sections stitched together arranged in six panels of three strips each. Each section was stitched together by hand with five-ply hemp and a small lace-up slit was on one side. All of the stitching was done with the ball cover inside out. Once completed, the cover was reversed with the stitching on the inside. An un-inflated bladder was then inserted through the slit. A long stem neck (aperture) extending from the bladder was used to inflate the ball. Once inflated, the tube was inserted through the 15 cm slit and then the opening was laced up tight. You can imagine how often that these soccer balls had to re-inflated. Even during a game.
These balls were good for kicking but was painful when heading due to the heavy stitching and the water absorption characteristics of the leather. Water absorption of the leather during rain made the ball very heavy and caused many head injuries. Other problems of the old leather balls were the various quality of cowhides used. Footballs varied in thickness and quality and the leather often degraded during the match.
1929 Soccer Ball
1937 Soccer Ball
The soccer ball may have even played a part in the outcome of the first world cup in 1930. Argentina and Uruguay could not agree on which ball to use. So they decided to use an Argentinean ball the first half and a ball supplied by Uruguay in the second half. As it turned out, Argentina was ahead at halftime 2-1using their soccer ball. However; Uruguay came back to win the match in the second half 4-2 using their ball!
Click on the picture below see a larger picture of the ball used in the final match of the first world cup and cool USA and Uruguay first world cup team pictures.
1930 World Cup Soccer Ball of “Tiento”
During World War II there were further production enhancements. The addition of a carcass made of strong cloths between the bladder and outer cover made controlling the shape easier, provided damping, and made the ball stronger. However; soccer balls played a crucial role in the outcome of matches due to the ball actually bursting during a game. The reason for the low quality balls just after World War II was blamed on the poor quality of the leather covers.
Water absorption was improved by using synthetic paints and other non-porous materials to coat the leather. Also, a new type of valve was invented that eliminated the laced slit on soccer balls.
1950 Soccer Ball
In 1951 a white ball was first permitted to help spectators see the ball easier with the advent of floodlights. White soccer balls were un-officially used as early as 1892. The leather was simply white washed to produce the white ball. Orange balls were also first introduced in the 1950’s to help see the ball in the snow.
1950 era 18 panel ball (pictures from Francisco Aquino)
Different countries favored different types of soccer balls in the early days of international soccer. This caused much controversy. FIFA standardized the size, weight and type of balls with the introduction of an international board.
“There can be no game of football without a ball and the better the ball, the better the game.”
Information on the footballs or soccer balls used in the some of the world’s football leagues is provided.
Click on the titles below to go directly to that section:
- MLS Official Match Ball 2017
- MLS Official Match Ball 2016
- MLS Official Match Ball 2015
- English Premier League Official Match Ball 2016 2017
- Serie A Official Match Ball 2016 2017
- La Liga Official Match Ball 2016 2017
- English Premier League Official Match Ball 2014 2015
- Serie A Official Match Ball 2014 2015
- La Liga Official Match Ball 2014 2015
This page will be updated with more of the world’s football league match balls in the near future!
See Also: History of the Soccer Ball
“There can be no game of football without a ball and the better the ball, the better the game.”
Information on the latest soccer ball designs and news is provided.
Click on the titles below to go directly to that section:
- 2013 Confederations Cup Official Ball
- Nike Maxim
- Nike Seitiro Premier
- Nike Total 90 tracer – EPL Official Match Ball
- Official Women’s World Cup Match Ball: SpeedCell
- Jabulani – Official World Cup 2009 Ball
- Teamgeist II with Goal Line Technology
- Teamgeist Germany, 2006 Adidas “2006 World Cup Germany” Match Ball
- Adidas Pelias 2 – Official Match Ball for all FIFA events in 2005 in Europe
- Official Olympic Balls – Official match balls of the Olympic Games which includes the Gamarada and Pelias soccer balls.
- Euroballs 1988 -2012 – Official Match balls of the UEFA Euros 1988 through 2012 tournaments. Learn about the 1996 Questra Europa and 2000 Adidas Equipment Terrestra Silverstream and more.
- Adidas Questra family – The Questra Olympia, Europa, and Apollo balls are explained.
- Adidas Roteiro – Official Match Ball of UEFA EURO 2004
- Adidas Fevernova™ 2002 and Women’s World Cup 2003
- Adidas Finale – UEFA Champions League Finale Balls 2001-2015
- Nike Geo Merlin Vapor
- Nike Total 90 Aerow HI-VIS Balls
- Puma Shudoh and MLS Match Ball
- Mitre ISO Ball
Nike Geo Merlin Vapor
The English Premier League, the Brazilian League, the Spanish League, the US National Team, the Brazilian National Team, the Korean National Team, the Portuguese National Team, Inter Milan, PSG, PSV, Hertha Berlin, and 1860 Munich and many more all use Nike’s Geo Merlin Vapor as their official ball. Nike indicates that the ball is faster, rounder and FIFA approved, it delivers the latest in Nike design and innovation.
Developed around the DART (Dynamic Acceleration Response and Touch) casing system. Nike indicates that “the Geo Merlin Vapor has everything from a softer touch to explosive speed. It is deadly accurate yet still extremely durable. With more explosive power coming off the boot, improved softness and touch and excellent shape retention, the Geo Merlin Vapor is the top of the line”.
- Outer Casing (Cover) – 1.2 mm Teijin PU is a micro-fiber based, high-solid polyurethane with a fused panel design (double hex panel design).
- Inner Layer 1 – 2.0 mm compressed Polyethelene
- Inner Layer 2 – Cold Vulcanized Latex Rubber
- Inner Layer 3 – German Polyester Support Fabric
- BLADDER: Carbon latex 6-wing bladder and AirBloc II valve system.
Features exclusive Nike Geo Balanced Technology for equalized pressure dispersion for consistent response and ball flight.
Nike Total 90 Aerow
Designed to reduce drag, for better accuracy and increased velocity. COVER: Hand-stitched, high performance PU with linear grooves for consistent, sustained flight. Exclusive Geo Balanced technology with six double-hex panels. Exclusive E foam for greater stability, durability and performance in cold weather. BLADDER: Special 6-wing carbon latex with Air Block II air retention system. FIFA Approved.
Standard Version – Red and Black Stripes
LFP Version – Blue and Black Stripes with the LFP logo on it
Copa America Version – Gold and Black Stripes with Copa America Logo on it
Premireship Version – Blue and Black Stripes with the Barklycard Premireship Logo on it
New! Total 90 Hi-Vis soccer ball – Designed specifically to aid soccer players in the low light conditions common throughout the English winter, the Nike Total 90 Aerow Hi-Vis has been developed with leading sports-vision scientists.
Nike’s team of dedicated sport-vision scientists have determined that yellow is the most visible casing colour to the human eye in lower light conditions and have combined this with the optimum contrasting colour, dark blue.
According to Nike: “The Nike Total 90 Aerow Hi-Vis ball represents a significant visual contrast and will enable the players to maintain visual effectiveness and attain optimum performance levels.”
The U.S. National Men‘s team made its debut performance with Nike’s Total 90 Aerow Hi-Vis ball against Jamaica on Wednesday November 17, 2004 . The ball is being used during the winter months in all English Premier League and Spanish Liga Primera games during the 2004-05 season. With the distinctive yellow base and contrasting blue stripe, the ball has gotten solid reviews from the players in the US camp. The ball is also used in some of the German Budesliga matches.
Nike Seitiro Premier Hi Vis
The Nike Seitiro features NIKE RaDaR technology, which stands for Rapid Decision and Response. It is a lab and field tested standard of visual performance that allows players to see the ball better. Validated on pitch with some of the best athletes in the world, the combination of ball casing color, graphic design, and contrast creates an optimal visual signal on the pitch. What does this all mean? It means that NIKE RaDaR allows players to make faster decisions on the pitch and stay ahead of the pace of the game.
The Nike Seitiro continues the tradition of Control, Accuracy, and Touch that is intrinsic to Nike footballs. A micro-textured casing design delivers confident accuracy and aerodynamic stability as airflow is equalized over the ball surface. The premium foam layer ensures consistent control and a soft touch in all conditions. Finally, due to GEO II balanced technology, the Nike Seitiro boasts an even transfer of energy throughout all panels, a 360 degree sweet spot that forces the ball to respond with power no matter where it’s struck.
COVER: Micro-textured TPU for improved control. Geometric Precision distributes pressure around the ball for a consistent, accurate and powerful strike.
Nitrogen-expanded foam for shape retention and durability. Perfectly round shape ensures the ball flies fast, far and true.
BLADDER: Six-wing carbon latex for explosive acceleration. FIFA approved.
Nike Seitiro Premier
Nike Seitiro Premier LFP
Puma Cellerator Shudoh or MLS Match Ball
List Price: $99.00
Material: Dimple PU
Features: 6 wing latex bladder, ‘PERIMETER BALANCE TECHNOLOGY’ (PBT) and ‘PUMA AIR LOCK’ (PAL) system
Profile: Top competition ball with “Dimple CW” -Puma claims the “Dimple CW System is for unbeatable control and straight trajectory. The dimples cause less drag and more lift than a regular surface which provides further, higher and faster shooting speed”.
“The FIFA-approved, patented ball ensures maximum trajectory, precision, and increased shooting speed by adapting the physics designed for golf balls. The dimpled surface area gives the ball the positive flight characteristics of a golf ball: consistency and length of trajectory. The dimples create an air pocket of “positive turbulence” around the ball in flight, which translates to superior distance, maximum speed and unparalleled accuracy.”
The Cellerator Shudoh is used in Europe by the Scottish Football Association, Serie A power Lazio, the Bundesliga’s VFB Stuttgart and by France’s AS Monaco.
The MLS Match Ball is similar in design and of course used in MLS matches.
Mitre ISO Final Football
List Price: $89.95
The official match ball of prestigious FA Cup, the unique 26 panel ISO design delivers what Mitre claims as the world’s fastest football. Recorded at 114mph.
Mitre claims “Every ISO ball is precision engineered to within 3 grams of its ideal weight and to 3mm of its optimum size. Every ISO ball will perform exactly the same, giving players striking confidence and total consistency through out the game.
The aerodynamic superiority of the ISO ball delivers unmatched accuracy. From the edge of the box you can consistently hit the top corner – if you’re good enough. The ISO is straight and true, exactly as players want it.”
The deep seams are intended to help reduce drag and improve spin so you can bend it around the extra man in the wall. Japanese microfilm technology ensures a good grip for keepers and the MAXLOC3 air retention system provides lasting performance.
Mitre balls are used in the FA Cup competition as well as the footballs to be used by England teams at all levels.
Do the newly developed balls help kicking accuracy?
Peter Brancazio, a physics professor emeritus from Brooklyn College and author of the book SportsScience, is not convinced any newly developed ball can make much of a difference.
“Sounds like a lot of marketing talk to me,” he said. “The accuracy of the kick really depends on the player’s ability to put their foot on the right spot on the ball. No technology is going to help you do that.”
Soccer Ball World believes that ball accuracy will improve if you go from using a low quality ball that is warped or “out of round” to a high quality ball that is round. An out of round ball will tend to curve uncontrollably and cause the soccer ball to miss the intended target.
See Also: History of the Soccer Ball
“There can be no game of football without a ball and the better the ball, the better the game.”
Many soccer balls have various organization “approvals” imprinted on them. Such as the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) These approvals assure that the ball will perform according to the organizations’ specifications. The testing procedures and designations offer many benefits to those who buy soccer balls (footballs) including guaranteed quality, value for money and better playing performance.
In the past, many balls made by different manufactures varied in quality when used in matches. Now soccer balls with the organization’s official approval logo imprinted on them, adhere to a higher standard of quality and are more consistent in how they perform during matches.
Manufacturer’s usually pay a licensing fee to use the official “approval” logos on the balls. Each licensed manufacturer or brand name can state in their marketing campaigns that the balls are approved for use in matches sanctioned by the approval organization. The FIFA approval mark assures that the balls have been tested for proper ball trajectory, shape, balance, bounce, water absorption and velocity at a independent laboratory. Only the pressure of the ball need to be checked by the referee. The referee can be assured that the ball meets the size and weight requirements stated in the organization’s soccer rules or laws. For more information on the soccer ball laws or rules, click here.
For additional information on the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) approval requirements including ball testing specifications, click here
For additional information on the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) authentication mark including ball testing requirements, click here
1 FIFA Magazine, Footballs, more than just stitched leather – FIFA – The Mark of Quality 28-Feb-1998
Soccer balls vary in design and construction. In this section of Soccer Ball World, the construction and design of the soccer ball is described. This includes the various materials used, types, sizes and weights of soccer balls. The following topics are reviewed:
- Construction of the Ball – The various parts of the soccer ball are explained. Typical materials used on the different parts of a soccer ball and how they are put together are also detailed.
- Types – The different types of soccer balls are detailed. Use this section to also learn about the typical materials that are used on the different types of soccer balls. This will help you determine what soccer ball is best for your application and skill level.
- Sizes and Weights – The various sizes of the soccer ball are shown and explained. Different age groups use different ball sizes and weights. Determine what size of ball is right for your game or buying needs.
Find out about the latest designs and top balls from various brand names in the Developments section.
The four main components of a soccer ball are the cover, the stitching, the lining and the bladder. Understanding these components and their options will help you in choosing the perfect ball to meet your playing and quality needs.
For information on how the ball is put together, click here.Elements of Soccer Balls and Materials used in Production
- Surface, Casing or Cover
- Internal Linings (Polyester or Cotton)
- Bladder (Latex or Butyl)
The surface of soccer balls or coverings are made up from synthetic leather and not full grain leather (as used in the past) because leather has a tendency to absorb water causing the ball to become very heavy. Synthetic leather is typically made from PU (polyurethane)
and PVC (poly vinyl chloride).
There are many variations of synthetic leather used in the construction of soccer balls. They range from AI-2000, Japanese Teijin Cordley, Microfiber, English Porvair, Korean Ducksung, Leather Art Pakistan Synthetic Leather, and PVC (poly vinyl chloride). Best soccer balls used in competition and by professionals are produced by using AI-2000, Cordley, Ducksung, Mircofiber or other types of PU synthetic leather. Promotional soccer balls or practice balls are usually constructed with Polyvinyl Chloride(PVC) or rubber (molded or stitched) covers.
Some indoor soccer ball covers are made with a felt material similar to what is used on a tennis ball.
- The number of panels — the different segments that make up the outside covering of the ball — varies for each design.
- A 32-panel ball is the most common and is the type used in most professional matches. The soccer ball is essentially a Buckminster Ball consisting of 20 hexagonal (six sided) and 12 pentagonal (five sided) surfaces. Also known as a truncated icosahedron except that it is more spherical, because the panels bulge due to the pressure of the air inside.
When they are sewn together and inflated they make a near perfect sphere. For more information on the Buckminster ball and the history of the soccer ball, click here.
- Other traditional designs are 18 and 26-panel constructions, used in various professional leagues, including Major League Soccer (until 2002), Scottish and English leagues.
- Fewer panels generally means the ball can be curved more when kicked because of less stability to the cover. For more information on how a soccer ball curves when kicked, click Here
Panels can be either stitched, glued or thermally molded together:
- The highest quality balls are stitched with a polyester or similar thread. 5-ply twisted polyester cord is the material of choice in stitching together a soccer ball. Hand sewn balls have tighter and stronger seams. Kevlar® reinforced polyester stitching is also used on some balls.
- High-end balls are hand-stitched, while most mid-priced balls are machine-stitched.
- Lower-end, practice balls generally have the panels glued together onto the lining.
- These offer a harder feel and are generally less expensive than stitched balls.
- Thermally Molded – The new World Cup 2010 Jabulani Ball and the Roteiro ball have panels that are thermally molded together.
The last stitch
Many enquiries have been made about how the last stitch is made. Check out the following video:
Material thickness plays a vital part in the quality of hand-sewn soccer balls. Multiple layers of lining are placed between the cover and the bladder. These layers are composed of polyester and/or cotton bonded (laminated) together to give the ball strength, structure and bounce. Professional soccer balls usually have four or more layers of lining. Promotional or practice balls are often constructed with less layers of lining. The lining helps the ball retain it’s shape and bounce over the life of the ball.
Many soccer balls include a foam layer for added cushioning and ball control.
The bladder in a soccer ball holds the air. Bladders are usually made from latex or butyl. Compared to latex bladders, butyl bladders retain air for longer periods of time. Latex bladders tend to provide better surface tension. However; butyl bladders offer the excellent combination of contact quality and air retention. Futsal ball bladders are filled with foam to limit the bouncing capability of the ball since they are used on a hard flooring.
Most balls use butyl valves for air retention, with higher end balls using a silicone-treated valve for superior performance. Silicone treated valves are used on some balls for smooth insertion of the inflating needle and added protection from air loss. When you first receive a ball, a good idea is to put a few drops of silicon oil in the valve. This will provide easier needle insertion and better air retention.
Natural Latex Rubber bladders offer the softest feel and response, but do not provide the best air retention. Micro pores slowly let air escape. Balls with natural rubber bladders need to be re-inflated (at least once a week) more often than balls with butyl bladders (stay properly inflated for weeks at a time). Some balls use carbon-latex bladders in which the carbon powder helps to close many of the micro pores. Latex bladders are used in balls because of the following characteristics:
A- It gives proper bounce.
B- It feels softer.
C- Same angle re-bounce characteristics.
Butyl bladders offer an excellent combination of feel and air retention and can be found in most middle to upper priced balls.
PU – Some manufacturers use bladders made from polyurethane.
The first stage is to roll out the material to be used for the outing casing of the ball. The casing is usually made from several layers of synthetic foam-filled leaves (panels), which are glued (laminated) together to produce a tough, smooth exterior.
The leaves are cut into the exact amount needed to make one ball. Then the panels are pre-printed with any brand names and graphics before being cut. All logos would be printed at this point in the process. Printing is typically accomplished by silk-screening onto the cover material. After printing, the material may have another layer of clear urethane (or another proprietary material) applied over the printing for protection.
The number of individual panels required are then cut out, and holes are pre-punched in preparation for stitching. The stitching is performed by turning the ball inside out, so none of the stitches show on the outside. A different type of needle is used to complete the stitching of each panel, which effectively makes the final knot ‘disappear’.
The stitched ball is then reversed, the bladder inserted and inflated. One stitcher can usually do four balls in one day.
Check out how the 2010 Official World Cup Jabulani ball is produced.
Then another process begins for those soccer balls seeking either NFHS Authentication, FIFA Approved, FIFA Inspected or International Matchball Standard (IMS) status. That process is the independent laboratory testing required to achieve one of these hallmarks. For a more detailed look at the approval types and testing procedures, click here.
“Love your ball, be the ball, sleep with the ball.”
quoted from one of my crazy soccer coaches
As with any product that you buy, taking good care of your soccer ball will prolong it’s life.
There is nothing complicated about taking care of a soccer ball. Just use common sense.
Do not stand or sit on your soccer balls. Do not kick your good match soccer balls excessively hard against a wall. They can become warped and your ball will wobble when kicked.
Buy a good quality ball using Soccer Ball World as your buying guide and take good care of it. Your soccer balls will then have a long life.
Remove excessive dirt from the ball after use. Use a damp cloth to wipe the ball clean. If needed, use some mild soap or some type of synthetic leather cleaner to remove excessive dirt or stains from the ball. Be careful when using detergents to clean the ball. Never use harsh detergents. Outer coverings and stitching on some balls may be adversely affected by concentrated cleaners.
Reframe from excessively spraying soccer balls with high pressure water spay. Water may penetrate into the ball.
Do not play with a wet ball during freezing temperatures. The water on the ball could freeze and cause injuries.
Play on turf, grass or smooth surfaces . Rough surfaces such as gravel, asphalt or concrete can be very abusive to a typical soccer ball. Premature excessive wear and cuts on the outer cover will occur due to abrasion when the ball bounces or skips across rough surfaces.
Use Proper Air Pressure
Do not over or under pressurize a ball. Use the manufactures recommended air pressure that is printed on most balls. Most soccer balls have a pressure rating of 6 to 8 lbs. or 0.6 or 0.8 BAR. It is recommended that you use a pressure gauge to measure the exact amount of pressure in a ball after inflating and before use.
BAR or PSI or LBS?
Some soccer balls have recommended pressure values indicated in BAR while others have the values indicated in PSI or LBS. To convert the pressure values, use the following formulas:
To convert BAR (KGS) to PSI (Lbs.):
Answer = 14.5037 X The amount of BAR(KGS)
For example: A soccer ball has a recommended pressure of 0.6 BAR labeled on it. To convert BAR in Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI), multiply 0.6 times 14.5037. The answer is 8.7 PSI or Lbs.
To convert PSI (Lbs.) to BAR(KGS):
Answer = .068948 X The amount of PSI(Lbs.)
For example: A soccer ball has a recommended pressure of 7.9 Lbs. (PSI) labeled on it. To convert Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI) into BAR, multiply 7.9 times .068948. The answer is 0.545 BAR.
Inflating a Soccer Ball
Soccer balls lose air pressure over time. Sometimes over a few days (soccer balls that use butyl bladders keep air pressure longer than balls that use latex bladders). Be sure to check the pressure frequently to make sure the ball is properly inflated. Therefore, invest in a good ball pump, have a supply of inflation needles and use a low pressure gauge to measure for proper inflation.
Before you first inflate a soccer ball, place a couple drops of silicone oil or silicone lubricant spray or glycerin oil into the valve. You can purchase one of the oils or spray at your local hardware store. Using one of the lubricants will improve the life of the valve and lubricate the valve for easy insertion of the inflation needle.
Always moisten the inflation needle before you insert it into the valve. Preferably, use some silicon oil to moisten the needle. However; some people use spit…yuk, but that is not recommended.
Manufacturers recommend that you reduce the air pressure in your match balls after a game to reduce the amount of stress on the ball seams or stitching. Be sure to inflate the ball back to proper pressure before the match.