Official Soccer Ball Size – The Parent’s Guide

Official Soccer Ball Size – The Parent’s Guide

BrineSoccer balls come in multiple colors and sizes so I want to point out what is the official soccer ball size as a guide to parents.

No doubt without a soccer ball there will be no game or training but what is the right ball for the kids to play with?

Will any soccer ball do?

No.

All soccer balls are not created equal and they come in different sizes as you will soon find out below. These ball sizes are designed for different age groups.

Even if you have the correct size you must also check if it has the right amount of air and weight.

All soccer ball sizes are set by FIFA, the world governing the body of soccer. In the US, the US Youth Soccer, NFHS (high school), and NCAA (college) also set their own requirements of the size of the ball.

NFHS and NCAA require that a size 5 soccer ball must be spherical, no more than 27 inches, and the pressure in the ball must be between 8.5 to 15.6 PSI (pound per square inch).

All FIFA approved, NFHS, and NCAA recommended match balls have their approval stamp on the side of the ball.

Why Do Official Soccer Ball Size Matters?

For various reasons, firstly for safety, especially for young players.

An adult size 4 ball can hurt a young player because it is big, heavy and also too hard to kick. Any young player below 6 can hurt her foot or when get hit by it.

I am speaking from experience here when I was a kid I played soccer a lot but one day someone pumped the ball too strong. During the match, my first kick on the ball was my last on that day, as I hobbled to the sideline.

It feels like I have just slammed my foot on a medicine ball!

The medicine ball can weigh more than 35 ounces.

Secondly, the right size ball can make the training fun for the kids thus learning drills faster in developing their skills because they can control the ball better.

Training with a wrong size can put your kid in a disadvantaged position because when he played in a match that uses the correct size he may find it difficult to adjust.

Besides, the wrong size ball will be too small or too big and will never be fun for your kids.

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The Official Soccer Size Guide

Soccer Ball SizeCircumferenceWeightAir PressureAge GroupComments
118 to 20 inchesAround 200 gramsDepend on user All ages
Toddler
- Mini ball
- Used as souvenir & gifts
- Advance skills training
220 to 22 inchesAround 250 gramsDepend on userAll ages
Toddler
- Mini ball
- Skills training
- Not popular size
323 to 24 inches300 to 320 grams8.5 to 15.6 PSI5 to 8 years oldKids below 5 years old can use
425 to 26 inches350 to 390 grams8.5 to 15.6 PSI8 to 11 years oldPrimary school
527 to 28 inches410 to 450 grams8.7 PSI12 and olderFor kids over 12 and adults

Most balls indicated their size on the side and the recommended air pressure  (PSI) is normally around the valve of the ball as shown in the image below:

psi-guide-on-ball

Match Ball Versus Training Ball

Match balls are used for a soccer match according to the right size and training balls are used for training and recreation.

Training balls are more durable as they are designed to be played in an almost any environment whereas match balls are built for high performance and not for durability.

Match balls are hand stitched and are a bit bouncier than the training ball which was stitched by machine.

The outer layer of the training ball is made of  PVC (polyvinyl carbonate) while the match ball is made of  PU (polyurethane) which makes the ball softer.

PU soccer balls have a glossy coating to reduce water absorption and scratching the surface of the ball but they have a better response off the foot than the PVC training balls.

Match balls can be 3 times more expensive than the training ball because they can withstand different weather conditions and withstand intense use under a short period of use.

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That is why you will find that match balls are not used for training as compared to the training,

When buying a soccer ball, it can be tricky to differentiate between the match ball and a training ball but the price will reveal which is which.

Choosing A Soccer Ball

Due to the price and its purpose, I would not recommend you to buy a match ball for your kid’s training, unless your kid’s training needs it.

If you are not sure if your kid can play with the recommended size it is best to start with a smaller sized ball and work up from there.

Now that you have some inside knowledge about ball specification it is always good to check the balls your kid’s team is playing with.

I hope you learned something today. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

====>Read About My Soccer Ball Review Here<====

What size soccer ball do you think you should buy for your kid?

 

Sources: US Youth Soccer | Wikipedia | FIFA

Images: Pixabay |

2 thoughts on “Official Soccer Ball Size – The Parent’s Guide”

  1. Thanks for sharing your expert advice on choosing the right soccer ball size for kids. The table you’ve provided has helped a lot to understand how it works when it comes to soccer balls. Much appreciated.

    • Thanks for pointing out the table Ivan, I am glad that you learn something from my post. Yes, the table is intended to simplify the information for my readers.
      Cheers,
      Fred

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