Welcome to the wonderful world of a size 4 soccer ball. That ball you or your kid will use for a few years before it disappears into the black hole of garage corners never to be seen or used ever again. But those years are important so you need the size 4 and the good news is it won't break the bank. Not all balls are created equal and this one is no different.
You're going to need to choose the right ball for the age group you are working with but I mean you could continue to use that size 3 or move onto a size 5 right away but the three will be too easy for them and the 5 too challenging considering their size and age. In every sport equipment slowly progresses from small to senior size and soccer is no different, go get yourself a size 4 soccer ball today and your kid will thank you when they aren't the only kid at practice with the wrong ball.
If you need help on figuring out the dimensions, where to buy one and all the things to consider when picking the right one then you've come to size 4 soccer ball heaven. To sum it all up stick to name brands, spend under $30 and make sure the ball look sand feels right on the foot, now that we go the basics down let's dive into all the details shall we?
Pretty straight forward here but a size 4 soccer ball is about 25-26 inches in circumference and created for those learning and playing the game between the ages of 8 and 12. Once a player passes that 12 year old threshold then they will move onto the size 5 ball which they will use from that age moving forward. The difference in size is slight but progression that every player goes through, looking back at your playing days you probably don't even remember playing with a smaller ball.
Be sure not to mistake the size 4 for the 3, 5 or the Futsal ball, I know that may seem obvious but even to a seasoned player the difference can be missed. When buying your next size 4 soccer ball feel free to bring a size 3 or 5 with you to compare to be sure you're picking up the right one, asking the person that works there can be hit or miss so let's hope it's clearly labeled on the box or ball.
Is it for kids? adults? or Futsal? or a combination of all three? Hold on first and foremost know what aged person you are getting this ball for. The simple answer here is YES, a Futsal ball is the same size as a youth (8-12 years) old outdoor ball. Although the 25-26 inch circumference may be the same these balls are still significantly different and it is worth knowing those differences when buying and using the ball you're looking for.
A Futsal although the same size (4) is weighted bottom heavy to stay close to the ground with little to no bounce to it. The outer layer is also a more durable canvas like material that can take a real beating and is made for function to fashion. When deciding which is which consider all these factors and be able to tell the difference between the two.
Valve - The valve is typically a small whole lined with a white or black rubber type material that is designed for the needle of a pump to go in to pump the ball up or remove air if necessary. There is only one valve on the ball and it is flush with the panels on the ball not to interfere with when the ball is hit in that area throughout a match.
Lining - The lining is a soft protective layer that protects the bladder of the ball (where the air goes) and allows the outer panels to sit on top of. This layer is there to get the ball an extra layer of thickness to prevent the ball being punctured or popped with ease.
Bladder - The bladder is the orange layer in the ball above that holds the air in the ball which makes the shape of the ball depending on how much air it is holding. This is the final inner layer of the ball, it has the most give of all the layers due to its balloon like nature needing to hold and release air at appropriate times.
Panels - The panels are the pieces of cushioned material that make up the second most outer layer of the ball (the part we see). The panels come in all types of shapes and sizes from octagons, to circles, to squares and everything in between, each panel is held together by fine stitching that keeps that layer solid tight and consistent.
Cover - The cover is the final layer that is typically made of a thin material to coat the panels with the desired feel for the outside of the ball. This layer is also the one used to make designs and colours on the exterior of the ball.
1. Age Appropriate - This may go without say but be sure you are choosing the right size ball for the right age. Sometimes a size 4 soccer ball can look a lot like a size 5 so compare it next to a size 5, read the label and ask someone that works there if in person just in case. Even a trained eye at times can confuse a 4 for a 5 so triple check and get that 25-26 inch ball.
2. Quality Materials - You will be able to tell right away just from looking at the ball what kind of quality or lack of quality materials it's made of. Stay away form any ball that is made of cheap plastic or has only the panels and then the bladder, you want at least one more protective layer in between the panels and the bladder. If you have a hard time being able to tell if it has that layer you will be able to tell by picking it up and feeling it's weight and thickness, if it feels
3. Feel On the Foot - Get some touches in with it under you foot and see how it rolls and feels at your foot, no use in getting a ball you can't quite get the type of control with that you want. Get a couple juggles in, pass it a little if you can and dribble around with the ball to see how it feels with all surfaces of your foot and body. The connection and feel you have with the ball can be an important factor in which one to take home.
4. Name Brands - Go with trusted brands when choosing your next size 4 soccer ball. There is a reason that at all levels (professional included) teams and players consistently choose the same top brands over and over. Whether it's shoes, uniforms or balls go with a name brand you can trust and avoid any of the random European or South American brands that you may not of heard of.
5. Shape - You want a nice even round shape all the way around when picking the right size 4 soccer ball. If there is any part of the ball that looks like it isn't a perfect sphere you will want to make sure it isn't warped. Try rolling it across the ground and see if it wobbles or just looks funny while rolling, if it doesn't pass that test move on not only to a new ball but an entirely new brand, sometimes these warped balls can come in large batches.
1. Going Too Cheap - As we all know you get what you pay for and if you see a size 4 soccer ball that's price seems good to be true, it probably is. You want to stay above $15 dollars for sure and under $30. This way you know you are buying a quality ball and not getting taken for a ride on a nice shiny and colourful ball that will pop before you even bring it home.
2. Unknown Brands - Stay away from the no name foreign brands that are cheap and have some long name you can't pronounce. Stay with the trusted names of Nike, Adidas and Puma and a few others and you can't go wrong. If you're buying more than one nothing changes, stay away from the bulk order of Portuguese balls from Lisbon, it is better to have one quality ball than ten pieces of you know what.
3. Choosing a Futsal Ball - As you may or may not know a Futsal ball is also a size 4 and can be mixed up if you're not careful. The easiest way to determine which is which is to take both the Futsal ball and the regular ball and drop them both to the ground, whichever bounces higher will be your regular ball. A Futsal ball is incredible bottom heavy and has almost no bounce to it because of the type of surface and style of play Futsal demands. If it's still tough to decide you will be able to tell a Futsal ball by the rough all white canvas like material on the outside of it versus a nicer designed typical ball.
4. Poor Stitching - Have a look at the seams of the ball that keep all the panels together on the outside of the ball. Give them a good pull by pushing down on two different panels and see how the stitching holds up. As you push down if you can see the seams already starting to give way then move on to the next ball, even worse if before pulling on them just by looking at the ball if you can see the seams coming apart then this is an easy no. Good tight seams are the foundation of a long lasting ball, give it a good inspection, you'll thank me in the long run.
5. Odd Shape - While eyeing up the ball if the shape doesn't quite look right while either flat or pumped up make sure to inspect it for being warped or popped. Sometimes a cheap ball will be warped the minute it is made if it not done right so be sure to roll it across the ground, make sure it doesn't skip or roll in a funky way as you do it.
Look you're going to want to spend a touch more now to save headaches later. A size 4 soccer ball price ranges between $10 and $30, this is true for almost every quality brand across the board. You're going to want to spend at least $20 to ensure you're getting a good ball that will last longer than the eye test in the store or online. As always stick to a trusted household name such as Nike, Adidas and puma and you absolutely can't go wrong. Stay away from those balls that are $10 or under no matter how attractive a deal may look, those will be made from poor materials and won't last you like a $25-$30 ball will.