balls vary in design and construction. In this section of Soccer
Ball World, the construction 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
Sizes and Weights
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
Find out about the latest designs and top
balls from various brand names in the Developments
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
A- It gives proper bounce.
B- It feels softer.
C- Same angle re-bounce characteristics.
offer an excellent
combination of feel and air retention and can be found in most
middle to upper priced balls.
- Some manufacturers use bladders made
How Most Hand Stitched Soccer Ball Parts are
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
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.