Whether they are big or small, a lot of us enjoy playing with our soccer balls.
A great case in point is that particular occasion where you saw a toddler trying their best to kick a tiny-looking soccer ball as far as they possibly could.
Or that moment during your evening stroll when you came across a young group of teenage lads jostling for a much larger ball in a serious 5-aside match.
Love for this sport is almost unparalleled, but it is quite disheartening to know that plenty of people who participate in the game lack knowledge about some of its core specifics.
One particular area that I’m keen to discuss today is the different sizes of a soccer ball, especially because I’ve noted that this topic isn’t covered very well online or spoken about within traditional media.
So, let’s begin with a quick summary…
Soccer balls exist in a number of sizes, as five different numerals are used to distinguish the proportions of each ball from one another. In the order of smallest to largest, the classifications are size 1, size 2, size 3, size 4 and size 5.
I’m now going to provide a more detailed explanation of the aforementioned sizes, with specific reference given to the dimensions and typical use cases of each one.
Soccer ball size breakdown
Here’s a simple table that provides easily digestible information on the measurements of each soccer ball size:
|Ball Size||Circumference||Weight||Age Range|
|Size 1||18 to 20 inches||7 ounces||3 year olds and below|
|Size 2||20 to 22 inches||8 to 9 ounces||3 to 5 year olds|
|Size 3||23 to 24 inches||11 to 12 ounces||5 to 8 year olds|
|Size 4||25 to 26 inches||12 to 13 ounces||8 to 12 year olds|
|Size 5||27 to 28 inches||14 to 16 ounces||12 year olds and above|
As I had stated earlier on in the article, a size 5 has the largest diameter and circumference of them all.
Now, let’s look closer at each size in turn.
Soccer balls that come in this size are typically referred to as “mini soccer balls” and they are mainly kept in the home as a nice souvenir piece.
Alternatively, they can be used to entertain young kids under 3 years old, as they are easy enough to roll along a carpet or kick around in the living room without causing damage to household appliances.
But mini soccer balls have performance uses too, so have a read of that article which I’ve linked to if you want to learn more about the sort of skills you can hone by frequently using one.
The next one up is size 2.
A soccer ball of this magnitude may be too large for a child under 3 years to play with, which makes it more suitable for those within the 3 to 5-year-old age bracket.
This size is quite ideal for children who have demonstrated a burgeoning interest for the sport.
It’s big enough to practice with, yet compact enough to help with improving a child’s technical ability as emphasis can be placed on improving elements such as:
- ball control
- first touch
This is the smallest soccer ball that can be used in competitive play and it’s a size that’s largely used among children who range from as low as 5 years to as high as 8 years of age.
One thing to note is that this ball is equally suited for indoor and outdoor play.
However, players must be really careful not to kick it too hard within the home because it weighs quite a bit more than the smaller sized soccer balls.
This is the official size for futsal balls, which are used for indoor soccer tournaments.
Kids from 8 to 12 years of age tend to use this medium-sized ball, especially when they lack the physical attributes that are needed to be able to handle a larger size 5 ball.
It’s a great option for children looking to refine their dribbling skills before they make the step up to the next level.
Lastly, we have the size 5.
This ball is suitable for any person above 12 years of age, and that includes adults and professional players too!
Naturally, there are a lot more questions to answer about this size of soccer ball than the others.
And this is partly due to the fact that a much broader demographic of people utilise them.
So, I’ll try and cover a few queries about this size before moving on to the next sub-topic of the article.
Is size 5 the official soccer ball size?
Size 5 soccer balls are the standard soccer ball size that is used all across the globe, with every professional league making use of soccer balls that fit within this classification.
How wide is a size 5 soccer ball?
Now, because the size 5 soccer ball can be equated to a standard soccer ball that is used by the professionals, it is relatively easy to pinpoint the height and width dimensions of one.
According to the International Football Association Board (IFAB) Laws of the Game, the circumference should have a circumference of between 68 centimetres and 70 centimetres.
Which means that the diameter or width of a size 5 soccer ball should be in the range of 22 centimetres to 23 centimetres (8.6 inches to 9 inches).
Are all size 5 soccer balls the same?
Not all size 5 soccer balls are created to be identical.
In fact, there are distinct differences in colour that are worth mentioning.
You probably recall the black and white soccer balls that were used a long while back in time.
These days, soccer balls come in all sorts of shades and tones, from red to orange to pink and even yellow and green!
More so, the pentagonal ball design that featured prominently on past iterations is no longer present, as manufacturers go for much more sophisticated patterns.
And another factor to bear in mind relates to ball physics, as some soccer balls are better equipped for curving than others.
Why are soccer balls different sizes?
Ultimately, it’s all about the playing experience.
Size variations for soccer balls exist to give every participant the opportunity to derive maximum enjoyment out of the sport that they adore.
It really is that simple.
A greater number of individuals get to experience soccer in a fun and exciting way when a soccer ball is categorically tailored to their needs.
For instance, a 9-year-old will probably cherish the time they spent playing with a size 4 ball than a larger size 5 one, because the latter would be heavier to kick about.
That child would avoid injury due to the fact that their body is better equipped handle the stresses and strains brought about by striking and controlling a medium-sized ball that is lighter to the touch.
I’ve embedded an informative video below that should be able to guide your own size choice:
What size of soccer ball is suitable for a 9 year old?
Well, a child that’s nine years of age hasn’t yet reached their teenage years.
So, you wouldn’t want to get them a standard sized soccer ball that’s identical in diameter and circumference to the ones professional players use.
Such a ball would be too large for their feet, which may present problems especially when it comes to kicking the soccer ball with power and over great distances.
Instead, as a buyer you’re better off purchasing a size 4 ball for your nine year old.
Players in the age range of eight to 12 typically have the required level of strength and skill to fare much more comfortably with a size 4 ball.
A ball of this size is slightly smaller and shouldn’t pose as much of a challenge to play with.
Now you should be fully aware of the soccer ball sizes that prevail in the world of soccer today.
From the smallest option (size 1) to the largest (size 5), each choice serves a specific purpose that makes the game a much more engaging leisure activity for the different types of people that play it.
So, don’t worry if you decide to go for something closer to the former, because there are benefits to practicing with a small soccer ball too!
As a final word, I’d encourage you to check out this post on the games you can play with a soccer ball.
There’s likely to be a great activity in there that tickles your fancy!