You've never needed a size 3 soccer ball so bad now that your kid loves playing soccer. Congrats you did your job and made your kid fall in love with the game and now it's time to get them that ball but you need to know more about it like is it the right size for them? What's it's made of? What should I be looking for? How much do they cost and where can you buy one? Well here are all those things plus more to help you parent of the year.
You're going to want a ball that is quality, will last and most importantly they will love so consider all the things below but if you have a chance to get one they will also love to look at because of it's design then go for that as well without sacrificing quality. Oh I almost forgot to mention, I hope you weren't too attached to any of your lamps, vases, picture frames or light fixtures in the house.
You can see for yourself but a size 3 soccer ball is typically for those under the age of 8 and the circumference of the ball is 23 to 24 inches. If your ball looks a little off and you're not sure why try measuring it either with a old school plastic ruler from side to side or better yet if you have a measuring tape that is flexible like the ones tailors use when measuring clothes you will be able to fit all around the ball to triple check it's accuracy.
If your kid is approaching 8 years old and you feel they can handle the size 4 then go for it, in a few months they may be turning that age anyways so feel free to step up tot he 25 to 26 inch ball in a size 4, they won't even know the difference.
Valve - Where you insert the needle top pump it up, stay away from those gimmicky build in pumps, moisten the needle and pump.
Lining - Protects the bladder from having direct contact with the panels where the force of the ball is constantly being absorbed.
Bladder - The rubbery protective skin that holds the air in evenly making up the shape of the ball.
Panel - The panels make up the outer layer of the ball protecting the easier puncture layers. This is the thickest of the layers providing padding and absorption for the whole ball.
Cover - The cover seals all the panels together while coating the outside the ball with a thin layer of protective solution.
This make up is not exclusive to the size 3 soccer ball but it is the make up of almost all outdoor balls. Futsals, beach balls and some indoor balls will not be made up exactly as this one but will have slight variations that are unique to the weather and surface of the different ways soccer is played around the world.
1. Quality All Weather Materials - This should go without say but make sure the ball doesn't have a cheap plastic feel to it, the stitching is tight and not already coming apart and finally be sure the panels are tightly together and not peeling or coming undone even before you buy it. Pay a little bit more now for a high end quality ball to avoid headaches later.
2. Name Brand - Stick to what's withstood the test of time by buying reliable and trusted name brands. You may see a good deal of a knock off ball but in the long run it's just going to cause you more problems when you have to return it or buy a new ball in a months time. You can't go wrong with Adidas, Nike, Puma and Diadora, stick to these and you will get a quality ball that you can rely on.
3. Not Warped - If the ball is already starting to look like a pear and is missing that nice even sphere shape all around then keep shopping around. Not only will the ball not roll true and frustrate you and kid but you will buying a new ball in matter of weeks, do it right the first time and stay away from balls that already look like they've been run over by a car.
4. Good Bounce To It - Give the ball a good pump at the store or ask the person there to pump it up and drop it from you hands about waist height and see if the ball just dies with no bounce or if it pops up to about knees or higher. Anything that just dies isn't pumped enough or doesn't have quality materials to give it a nice bounce. Stay away from these types of balls as you go on your size 3 soccer ball search.
5. Feel on the Foot - You always want your kid to feel comfortable with the ball and see how it feels on the foot by dribbling it around or juggling it. Think of some foot skills they are already good at and have them try it on the new ball, if they can't do the ones they already know on the ball or they just don't mesh well with the roll and feel with the ball try another one.
1. Plastic Cheap Balls - Those shiny, bright plastic looking balls may look nice from a distance but be careful of picking the ball that looks better than it really is. Brighter does not mean better, give it a full inspection of weight, stitching, bounce, durability, shape and brand, it may look nice on the car ride home but in about 2 weeks you'll be right back at the store buying another one.
2. Off Brand Balls - Ya I know those fancy Italian name balls you've never heard of look and sound great but be careful about buying some cheap knock offs that just don't do the trick. Stick the Nike, Adidas and Pumas of the world and you will come home with a happy child not one that's asking you why you are so damn cheap!
3. Your Kid Hating How It Looks - I know it shouldn't matter but to them it does, and we all know they are in charge. It's important they love their ball so see if you can find a quality made name brand ball that also makes them happy by looking nice on the eye that they can show off to their friends and most importantly love themselves.
4. Ball That Can't Hold Air - If you notice the ball is fully pumped and it is easy to push into it or that a little air comes out with every squeeze consider moving onto another ball. A balls ability to hold air is important to last an entire practice, game and season.
5. Seams Coming Apart - Check the stitching in between each panel of the ball for a tightly sewn seams. First just do the eye test and expect it then look to gently pull them apart with your hands to see how well the ball is made. Balls that are produced in bulk (a size 3 soccer ball is no exception) tend to have poor stitching so inspect it yourself before picking the right one.
1. Nike - When you are the official ball supplier of the English Premier League you know your ball can take a beating. Proven high quality balls year after year for both training and games.
2. Adidas - If it's good enough for the World Cup it's good enough for me! Adidas has been the official ball of the worlds most popular sporting event for close to 100 years. Many pro teams use these balls as well so Adidas is another leader in this industry.
3. Puma - The official ball of La Liga in Spain Puma has been a great manufacturer of balls along with other soccer related gear so it is very trusted in the soccer circles. Neymar just signed a new shoe contract with them leaving Nike so that should tell you of their credibility in the industry.
4. Diadora - One of the oldest and trusted in only football. Shoes, track suits, jerseys and balls. Can't go wrong with a classy Diadora anything really, if you stumble upon a retro track suit on the shelves consider yourself a winner.
5. Umbro/Mitre - Nothing flashy about these two soccer specific brands that will never win a beauty contest but you can rely on their quality. Not a home run by any means but will do the trick, kind of like the pick up truck of the soccer brand world.
1. I'll always recommend going in person if you can. Or at least try it out in person then go home and buy the same one online. Of course if you are in the middle of a world pandemic or going outside just isn't an option feel free to check out online resources like these below to get the size 3 soccer ball you've been looking for.
Why not just buy them a size 5 ball and be done with the size 3 soccer ball for any other ball for the next 15 years? Well do you buy them a helmet, bike or backpack that doesn't fit them just because it will one day? Probably not but there's even a more important reason that has to do with confidence and skill acquisition at younger ages.
Several studies have shown that varying the size of the ball as an adult can help with skill acquisition by training the mind to adapt to different variables but as a child it can have the opposite affect. Long story short no you shouldn't let an 8 year old train with a size 5 ball, the time will come but until then use the age appropriate ball.
Nope. All ball pumps come with standard universal size needles that will pump a size 1 mini ball all the way up to a size 5 adult ball and everything in between. Getting a quality pump and needle may not seem like the priority right now but believe me after your kid (not you of course) breaks a few needles you will wish you had all the best quality materials to get a simple ball pumped.
Have one permanently chained up in your garage and one portable one you or your kid can carry in their bag, when you can't find the portable one you'll understand why one is permanently chained in the garage. Oh and make sure to get more than a handful of needles, trust me you will thank me later.
Prices like anything of course vary but a typical size 3 ball ranges anywhere from $10 to $40. Anything under $15 you are going to want to steer clear of just in case. Shoot for anything that is a name brand (Nike, Adidas, Puma etc) and above $25 is your best bang for you buck while getting quality.
I get it your kid will only use it for maybe a year and you want to buy it cheap before you move onto the bigger ball but spend a little bit more right now and be good for long term.