Soccer Ball Sizes Explained

History of Soccer Ball Size

In 1863 the first soccer ball size specifications were completed by the Football Association and then revised in 1872 by FIFA. They remain unchanged since this date.

Charles Goodyear had already introduced Vulcanization to treat the rubber and improve the performance of the soccer ball while since then there have been many improvements to the performance of a soccer ball.

FIFA World Cup Soccer Balls

The FIFA World Cup has been using a size 5 soccer ball since the very first World Cup in Uruguay in 1930 however a little known fast is that there were two balls used in that FIFA World Cup, with each team bringing their own size 5 soccer ball and with one half played with each. Since the soccer ball sizes, standards, and specifications were not very “standardized” back in 1930 (due to quality, control and accuracy during manufacture), both teams consistantly complained about the performance of the opposite team's ball.

In the FIFA World Cup 1970, adidas introduced the widely-known ball, the Telstar. It was the first time a black and white, hand sewn, 32 panel soccer ball was used in a World Cup. adidas has supplied every soccer ball for the FIFA World Cup ever since.

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Size 5 soccer ball dimensions
Size 4 soccer ball dimensions
Size 3 soccer ball dimensions
Size 1 soccer ball dimensions

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Soccer Ball Sizes

Soccer ball size corresponds to player age, but ball size for youth soccer leagues can differ by location and league standards. In general, here are the appropriate sizes for age groups:

  • Size 5 (Adult/Professional): Ages 12 and older
  • Size 4 (Youth): Ages 8-12
  • Size 3 (Junior): Ages 8 and younger
  • Size 1 (Skills): All ages - best for developing footwork skills and ball control

Reasons For Different Soccer Ball Sizes

The reason for the different soccer ball sizes is mainly for the development of young players. It is the soccer federations around the world that have set these soccer ball size standards to follow. One main reason is that the size of the soccer ball can impact the development of young players and their safety. For example, a 5-year-old getting hit with a soccer ball size 5 ball would be hurting a lot more compared to a size 3 ball (much smaller).

Another reason for the soccer ball sizing standards is that a young child will have a difficult time manipulating and kicking around a larger soccer ball, so they are allowed to play with the smaller balls. Finally, the other reason is that kids can actually hurt their ligaments and tendons if they start kicking a larger ball then what their body is prepared for.

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