Soccer (or football in many countries) is one of the most popular sports in the world, though it’s been slow to “gain footing” in the U.S. But thanks to global stars like Pelé, who briefly played for the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League, the sport is gaining fans among Americans. If you’re thinking about starting to play, you will need cleats, shin guards, and of course a ball. Sounds easy: Lots of big brands offer a variety of soccer balls. But which one should you get? StudyFinds checked out expert reviews to find the best soccer ball to kick off your game.
Once you get playing, play smart – there’s a science to scoring a goal! A Japanese study researched how to best kick the ball: “The point of impact on the ball matters. For a straight ball trajectory, aim close to center, otherwise, aim off-center — for a curved ball trajectory, aim closer to the near side of the ball, and for a knuckle ball, aim closer to the far side,” advises study author Karol Kimachi.
But soccer isn’t only played with one’s feet. And that can make it more dangerous. If a player chooses to use their head instead of a foot to hit the ball, a move known as a “header,” they’re putting themselves at risk for a concussion. The more headers, the higher the risk.
To minimize injuries, we recommend you play it safe, warm up first – and find a ball that works well for you. To help you with that, StudyFinds reviewed 10 expert websites and put together a list of the top five best soccer balls for 2023. Are we missing your favorite? Please let us know in the comments.
The List: Best Soccer Balls, According To Experts
1. Select Numero 10 Soccer Ball
Select’s Numero 10 got the most expert recommendations. It’s the top pick for Soccer Handbook and Team Sports Mania. “This ball offers an amazing flight in the air,” Team Sports Mania writes in its review.
According to Soccer.com, “the Select Numero 10 is a top-of-the-line ball that can be used for match play or practice” and is “a great all-around ball made with high-quality materials. It’s made with polyurethane (PU) and neoprene foam for a soft touch” and is further “ideal for youth football and high school matches.”
Soccer Handbook mentions how you’ll playing like a pro. “The Select Numero 10 complies with the regulations of FIFA International Match Standard (IMS), the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS), and the NCAA. This has helped it become the de facto training ball for many teams. […] The Select Numero 10 combines a solid rebound and durable construction to make it an excellent choice for individuals or teams.”
2. Adidas Al Rihla Pro
This was the official ball of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar! “The adidas Al Rihla Pro is the best soccer ball on the market right now,” Soccermodo says about its favorite. It “is probably the best match ball that the German sporting goods brand has created in the last few years.”
“Designed to travel faster and maintain speed in the air, it’s considered to be the fastest ball in tournament history,” writes Soccer.com, for which the Al Rihla is the “best premium match ball.” “It’s made with a seamless speedshell polyurethane (PU) skin for great touch and durability, and it has a durable rubber bladder for excellent air retention.”
According to Shoot the Soccer, “almost 80% of its buyers recommend this ball to buy. Their feedback about the ball is positive, saying it’s the fastest and best soccer ball ever.”
3. Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball
If you’re just looking for a great ball to kick around in your backyard, Wilson’s Traditional Soccer Ball is an excellent – and wallet-friendly – choice. According to Soccer Handbook, “While it is not an official game ball, it is one of the best and most affordable balls for training at home or on the pitch.”
Shoot the Soccer calls this Wilson model one of the best machine-sewn soccer balls. “Machine stitching makes it feel soft, easy to head, and a suitable choice for young or beginner players who find it difficult to play with heavy balls. It is well-built and long-lasting, as per our personal experience.”
The Miami Herald even picked this ball as their overall best: “The Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball is unique in its design, with its white and black panels evoking the classic soccer ball appearance that we all loved growing up. […] This soccer ball is versatile and can be used on any field type, ranging from the streets to your backyard to an actual soccer pitch. Its different size options make it perfect for footballers of all ages.”
4. Wilson NCAA Match Soccer Ball Vivido
Our second Wilson pick is a bit pricier – after all, it’s an official match ball! “The Wilson NCAA Vivido Soccer Ball is the official soccer ball of the Men’s and Women’s NCAA College Cup Championships,” says Soccer.com. “Built for competition, the ball has VST (Visual Spin Technology), which uses color variance for superior spin detection and ball tracking. The 20-panel design provides optimized geometric striking zones for better ball control and precision, making it a top pick for this list.”
Its bright colors make it “easy to spot the ball in bad weather,” according to Ball Athlete. Also, “the ball has a fybrid technology. That means it has 20 fused panels for improved sphericity and minimal water intake.”
When comparing it to the traditional model, though, Shoot the Soccer says, “Both of these balls are almost the same in performance, but Wilson Traditional was a bit low in price, and customers’ feedback was a bit more favorable than Wilson NCAA.” It just depends if you want to pay for a professional-level ball or not.
5. Adidas MLS Club Ball
This ball is truly eye-catching. “When it comes to a wide range of design options, the Adidas MLS Soccer Ball stands out from the rest of the crowd, with ten different ball designs to choose from,” writes the Miami Herald. “You don’t have to worry about performance with the MLS soccer ball because FIFA has certified its quality. It also comes in various sizes to ensure that both children and adults have a great time.”
According to Soccermodo, the colorful ball “features a 100% TPU, machine-stitched cover with a textured surface and butyl bladder for best air retention and more efficient pressure maintenance. All of this to give it a better control and a softer touch.”
This choice also comes at a much lower price point than many of the options listed.
- Soccer Handbook
- Miami Herald
- Shoot the Soccer
- Ball Athlete
- Team Sports Mania
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.