The origin of the game, being vaguely linked to the ancient Greeks playing with a round ball with their feet, according to FIFA, data recovered from a military training manual in China in the 2nd or 3rd century, B.C. From there, the ball has evolved into the standard FIFA regulation soccer ball that we use today. Soccer strategies have developed through the ages, and so has the soccer ball, from the sphere made entirely of vulcanized rubber by Charles Goodyear in 1855, to the Jabulani, the official ball of the FIFA World Cup 2010. Although it received mass criticism from the players, the Jabulani was a mark of scientific progress.
The dimensions of this regulation ball are governed by one law, namely, Law 2, that gives the ball a very specified manner of appearance. The size of the balls are categorized into 5, the last 3 of which have been tabulated below.
Soccer Ball Size Details
|Ball Size||Age||Ball Circum.||Diameter||Weight|
|Size 3||under 8||23"-24"(61-62cm)||7¼"-7½"||11-12oz(320-350gm)|
|Size 4||8-12||25"-26" (63.5-66cm)||8"-8¼"||12-13oz(350-390gm)|
|Size 5||12 and up||27"-28"(68-71cm)||8½"-9"||14-16oz(400-450gm)|
Standard Soccer Ball Dimensions
Size 1: Also known as a Mini-Ball, the size 1 soccer ball does not exceed 17" (43 cm) in circumference. It shares the same design as that of a size 5 ball, including the 32 paneled (12 regular pentagons and 20 regular hexagons). Made mostly out of PVC, it is used for promotional purposes, and also for developing ball-control skills in players (hence known as a skill ball).
Size 2: Size 2 does not exceed 22" (56 cm) in circumference or 10oz (280gm) by weight. It is used for promotional purposes, as training balls for children around 4 years of age, or even by professionals and other individuals for honing their ball-handling skills. Mostly made of synthetic materials, this ball is softer to feel and easy to clean.
Size 3: The size 3 balls are the smallest of the three balls that are meant for official use. Intended for young players below 8 years of age, they contain 32 panels and are made of either synthetic materials like polyurethane or PVC. This ball is used for Olympic Handball, which is similar to soccer, but requires the use of the hands rather than the feet, to handle the ball.
Size 4: A size 4 ball is just smaller than the regulation ball, but with the same material used as the regulation ball. The air pressure to be maintained for the size 4 soccer ball is 0.4 - 0.6 atm at sea level.
Size 5: What used to be an 18 - 26 paneled ball, is now, according to FIFA rules, made of 32 panels. This is the size suitable for use by players above 12 - 13 years. Air pressure is generally mentioned on the ball itself, and is maintained within 0.9 - 1.1 atm at sea level.
The primary method of the selection of a soccer ball is by age. There are three main sizes of soccer balls, and they all have a standard size, weight, and optimum air pressure.
Of these, FIFA uses size 5 balls after their thorough inspection is done. Size 3 is used in team handball, while size 4 is used in futsal, an indoor variant of the game. For size 4 and size 5 balls, the materials used are either high-end synthetic, polyurethane or plain PVC. In that respective order, the first being the costlier but with a better feel, and PVC being the cheapest and most uncomfortable. Remember that all soccer balls being made of elastic material, will expand slightly after periodic refilling of air. It is therefore advisable to reduce the air pressure in the ball after use, to help preserve it longer.