One of the aspects I like about soccer is that is a very gear-limited game.
A ball and a space to play is all that is needed to play. As you advance, a pair of shoes becomes more important – but it’s still about the player and not the gear.
At our club and in our state association, U8 age group and below use a Size 3 ball. In U10 and U12, the Size 4 is used.
As Aidan will move to the Four with certainty for the fall season, and Evan will move to the Four if or when he starts our club’s Pre-Academy program, I’m in the market for two quality Size 4 balls.
In just a few years of play, we have had several balls pass through our house already. There’s a lot of variety of play in balls under $20. Some have slick covers that don’t have a good touch. some have a lot of neoprene or other padding under the top cover of the ball. Some have virtually none. Most noticeable when playing, some perform like a beach ball while some are feel more like a rock.
With both of the kids dedicating more time to playing, I want to stay on the right foot with a ball that plays as “true” as possible.
The options I’m considering:
Select Numero 10 ($24.99): I’ve seen a few Select balls around at our practices and pickup games I’ve attended. You can’t find them at the Big Box Sporting Goods Stores and you don’t see them on the professional pitch (except in Denmark and some parts of Latin America). But the balls I’ve used have a nice solid feel to them and the right weight. Of course, they have a number of different balls all under the “Numero 10” banner – at different price points. Are they materially different?
Select Royale ($39.99): This is Select’s first “Step up” ball from the Number 10. Looks like it has a lot of the same characteristics of the Number 10.
Nike Premier Ball ($39.99): This is Nike’s upgrade ball versus the $16-20 ball you see in Sports Speciality retailers. I’ve seen the size 5 version of this class of ball with some high school teams.
Nike Club Team Ball ($29.99): One step down from the Premier. Looks like it has normal panel shapes instead of the rounded ones on the Premier.
Adidas FIFA 2012 NFHS Club Ball: I don’t know anything about this ball, but it seems to be based on their
What are your favorite balls for practice and match use in size 4? What characteristics do you look for when buying a ball?