What Size Soccer Ball do I Need? Soccer Ball Sizes Explained

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

What do the different soccer ball sizes mean? The beautiful game is the most popular sport in the world and one of the most important pieces of equipment to play this sport is the soccer ball itself.

Using the right soccer ball size is crucial for optimal player development and in this blog, I will explain the different soccer ball sizes, why using the right ball is so important, and explain what soccer ball size you need based on your current situation.

Soccer Ball Sizes

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The Purpose of Using the Correct Size Soccer Ball

The main purpose of having different ball sizes is to ensure the safe and smooth development of youth soccer players as they grow in age and skill level. As younger players get more used to using the smaller sized balls, and as they grow in age and skill level, they can begin to transition to larger sized balls.

Using the right size soccer ball ensures players develop proper ball handling skills without becoming discouraged by not being able to handle the full sized ball. Matching the appropriate ball size to the age of the player is typically recommended until the child becomes a teenager and by that time they are ready, or soon to be ready, to play with a standard-sized ball.

One important thing to mention is that training with smaller-sized balls is not only beneficial for younger players as using different-sized balls can also help more advanced and older players improve their footwork, ball control, confidence, and overall skills on the ball.

Soccer Ball Sizes

Soccer Ball Size Chart

Not all soccer balls are created equal. Soccer balls come in various designs, colors, and materials, but the most important difference is the sizing of the balls, which also affects its weight.

Although you may be able to separate the soccer ball sizes by level, it is a bit more common to separate the ball sizes by age.

Size 1 Soccer Balls

The size 1 soccer ball, also known as mini balls, is the smallest soccer ball with a circumference of 18 to 20 inches and they are perfect for promotional purposes, general entertainment, and collection gifts.

Any player can benefit from training with a size 1 ball, such as youth soccer players aiming to move up to a bigger size ball or even more advanced players looking to improve their skills and coordination with a smaller ball.

Size 2 Soccer Balls

A step up from mini balls, size 2 soccer balls have a circumference of 21 to 22 inches. This is the first official ball that youth players between the ages of three and five will get to practice with.

Size 3 Soccer Balls

The size 3 soccer balls have a circumference of 23 to 24 inches and they are ideal for players between the ages of five and eight because it balances size and weight. The size 3 soccer ball is the smallest ball size that will be used during competitive play in youth soccer leagues.

Size 4 Soccer Balls

The size 4 soccer ball is the ideal ball for players aged eight to twelve and it has a circumference of 25 to 26 inches. This intermediate-size ball is suitable for pre-teen players who have outgrown the smaller sizes but need more time to be ready for adult-sized balls.

Size 5 Soccer Balls

Last but not least is the official full-sized ball, the size 5 ball. Size 5 soccer balls have a circumference of 27 to 28 inches and these FIFA-approved standard size balls are what you’ll see being kicked around matches for players aged 12 and older, including adults and professional soccer players

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Soccer Ball Size by Age Groups

To determine the appropriate soccer ball size, you should first consider the age of the player. Here is a breakdown of the recommended ball sizes by age group:

  • Ages 3 and under: Size 1 soccer ball
  • Ages 3-5: Size 2 soccer ball
  • Ages 5-8: Size 3 soccer ball
  • Ages 8-12: Size 4 soccer ball
  • Ages 12 and up (including adults and professional soccer players): Size 5 soccer ball

Image by Pascal Swier

Other Types of Soccer Balls

The world of soccer goes beyond grassy fields and regular training balls because there are so many different variations of the game, as well as new technology that is introduced yearly.

Now that you are familiar with the main soccer ball sizes, it is also important to discuss the different types of soccer balls.

Indoor Soccer Balls

Indoor soccer balls are used on harder surfaces, such as when playing pickup games on concrete or on a futsal court and they are usually smaller and heavier than regular soccer balls to reduce the bounce of the ball.

Beach Soccer Balls

Beach soccer balls are different than indoor and regular soccer balls and they are designed especially to be used on sandy surfaces.

Smart Soccer Balls

Smart soccer balls are exactly what they sound like, soccer balls that have smart technology inside of them, to help pair with apps and other features. These training balls are only beneficial for beginners or youth soccer players and they are not really useful for more advanced players.

Image by Janosch Diggelmann

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a soccer ball made of?

A soccer ball is made of 5 main parts:

  • The outer casing
  • The inner linings
  • The bladder
  • The stitching
  • The valve

How do you clean a soccer ball?

To clean a soccer ball, check out this full in-depth guide: How to clean a soccer ball

How do you inflate or deflate a soccer ball?

To inflate or deflate a soccer ball you have to use a soccer ball pump. You may be able to use household items, if you do not have a pump, but that is only recommended if you absolutely have to. That is why it is best to keep a pump inside of your soccer bag.

Conclusion

In conclusion, using the right soccer ball size is crucial for optimal skills development, especially for youth players. In this blog I covered the importance of using the right size soccer ball and provided a soccer ball chart based on age groups to help you find the perfect soccer ball for any situation.

If you are looking for a brand new soccer ball to invest your money in, then this blog, the best soccer ball, has you covered.

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