It’s a scene many new soccer parents have faced.
There you are, at your local sporting goods store, staring at a wall of soccer balls. There are many different brands, many different styles, many different colors and even many different sizes. You have no idea which one is the best for your kid, who probably just wants you to pick the one with the coolest colors.
Here’s the thing, however: While style, color and brand can all be important to you or your kid, none of it matters nearly as much as getting the right size. After all, you may want your kid to be the next Lionel Messi or Alex Morgan, but that doesn’t mean they should play with balls the same size as the ones their heroes use.
In short, the smaller the kid, the smaller the ball they should play with. The field will be smaller, too, as will the goals, but the league will handle that. It’s up to you, however, to get the right ball
What soccer ball is the right size for your kid?
Generally, the recommended soccer ball sizes are as follows:
- Kids under 8: Size 3
- 8 to 12 years old: Size 4
- 13 and up, all the way to the pros: Size 5
Those age ranges can vary slightly from league to league, so the best way to know the proper ball is simply to check your kid’s league website. That basic information should be available there, along with other important information that parents would need.
How much difference in size is there really among the three different sizes of soccer ball?
Here’s the rundown, according to USYouthSoccer.org:
- Size 3: 23 to 24 inches in circumference, weighs 11 to 12 ounces
- Size 4: 25 to 26 inches in circumference, weighs 11 to 13 ounces
- Size 5: 27 to 28 inches in circumference, weighs 14 to 16 ounces
Those size differences may not seem significant, but they are – especially if you’re a young boy or girl who is trying to handle the ball.
The good news is that you don’t need to worry about remembering the proper sizes or weights of the balls. Any ball that you would buy – whether it is online at Amazon.com or Soccer.com or at your neighborhood sporting goods store – would be clearly labeled by size on the box containing the ball, and on the ball itself. They are also often grouped together on store shelves by size, making it easier to find what you’re looking for. Then, of course, you can focus on what probably matters most to your kid: getting the ball that your son or daughter think looks the coolest.
Want to know more about this? Have other questions about equipment, rules or other basics of soccer? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us at soccer-family on Snapchat or at the SoccerFamily.soccer Facebook page.