There are not many essential pieces of equipment for soccer, but having a ball is crucial for obvious reasons. There are so many different options out there, and it can be tough to find which one works the best for specific play.
The good news is that with plenty of options and a wide price range, most people will find something that works for them best. What are the best soccer balls out there right now? Take a chance with any of these 14 below, and it will be a solid play all around.
Before going through each soccer ball, here’s a sneak peek at all the balls and their overall ratings.
|Rank||Soccer Ball||Overall Rating (1-10)|
|1||Nike Premier League Merlin||8.9|
|2||Adidas World Cup 2018||8.9|
|3||Derbystar Brilliant APS||8.9|
|4||Select Brilliant Super||8.9|
|5||Adidas UCL Finale Istanbul||8.7|
|6||Nike Ordem 4||8.7|
|7||Nike Copa America Merlin||8.6|
|8||Puma Final 2||8.6|
|9||Nike Catalyst Team NFHS||8.6|
|10||Adidas Top Training Ball||8.6|
|11||Nike Premier League Strike||8.5|
|12||Adidas Top Training Ball||8.5|
|13||Select Numero 10||8.5|
|14||Adidas Uniforia League||8.5|
1. Nike Premier League Merlin
To start this list, we look at one of the best balls available right now. The official ball of the Premier League is packed with cutting-edge technology that makes it perform consistently and live up to very harsh standards.
Maybe the biggest stand out feature for this ball is that it has a 3-D printed texture on it to provide great touch and control in any weather conditions. It is a step above the other balls that have similar features, giving it an edge for player’s relying on precision. The way they construct the ball also offers a very large sweet spot, so players can put the ball where they want it and understand how to control everything.
Other premium features include truly all-conditions performance, excellent air retention, outstanding durability, and an extremely consistence bounce. It is a step up from previous top-end models, and many do not see Nike making too many tweaks to this for the next few years.
There is not a lot of cons with this ball, as it is meant to hold up and perform well for a long time. There is obviously the cost factor that will limit people from investing, but other than that, this is a ball for ultimate soccer play.
- 3-D printed texture provides great touch
- Very large sweet spot
- Works well in all weather conditions
- Very expensive
- Color and branding might be a bit too busy for some
2. Adidas UCL Finale Istanbul
For a training ball that looks high quality and performs at a solid level, the UCL Finale Istanbul Training Ball might be the way to go. This is a beautiful looking ball that is affordable, available in three sizes, and capable of holding up in practice.
The ball is not too special as far as trainers are concerned, but it does provide a very durable cover, as well as excellent stitching. This means that the ball is going to perform very consistently, which is always a plus when working on training.
The hologram design is definitely a standout feature for the look. It starts off showing its age a little bit after consistent use, but it is not that much different than other balls out there. For the price, there are very few training balls that can live up to these types of expectations.
- Excellent stitching for the price
- Durable TPU cover
- Stand out design and look
- Starts to age with the way it looks quickly
- Needs air added somewhat frequently
3. Nike Ordem 4
Even though the Nike Ordem 4 is a little older now, it is still a high-quality ball that many people rely on for practice or match play. Used specifically in 2016 and 2017 in the Premier League, it still holds up well with all the features.
This ball holds shape very well, and a lot of that comes down to retaining air as well. This ball can be used consistently for hours and hours, and it still performs at a very high level.
The texture and sweet spot are not quite at the same level as the Merlin ball above, but it is still one of the best in the business. A lot of people are willing to make that sacrifice, considering that it still stands out and performs well for players trying to get a premium ball option.
It is a ball that will definitely stand out anywhere, and although it is getting harder to find, it is still about the same price range as other premium options out there.
- Retains shape well
- Rarely needs added air
- Stands out visually
- Same price as other premium options with older tech
- Getting harder and harder to find
4. Select Brilliant Super
For a mid-tier option that stands out very well, this ball from Select is worth investing money into for many types of uses. A lot of people like how it blends the classic look and design of a typical soccer ball, and adds new technology to the mix to make it performs as well as any ball out there.
Although it is the official ball of a few smaller organizations, such as the NAIA, it does not get the same type of recognition as other big companies in soccer. Make no mistake, this is still a premium option that shares a lot of the same features and material found elsewhere.
One thing that stands out with the Brilliant Super soccer ball is that it has a livelier bounce when filled with air. Some people love how this ball performs, especially when the field is a little soft. If it is a hard surface, the ball might bounce a little too much, which means that it needs to lose some air to stay under control.
- More affordably priced than other premium balls
- Very lively
- Hard to find in stores in some locations
- Color and design does not stand out
5. Derbystar Brilliant APS
The official match ball of the Bundesliga is a little difficult to find in certain parts of the world, but that does not mean it is subpar by any means. In fact, a lot of people consider this to be the highest quality ball for the price out there on the market today. Does it perform at a high-level?
As soon as the ball comes out of the box, it is clear that it is just a little bit different. Even though it is hard to tell from pictures, it has a textured surface that resembles a golf ball in a lot of ways. This helps for better ball flight, better feel, and so much more when on the pitch.
It is not a flashy ball by any means, but people purchase this because they want to have a match quality option. It is hand sewn, comes with 32 panels, and just feels like a high-quality ball overall.
- Official ball of the Bundesliga
- Textured surface offers great ball flight characteristics
- Padded microfiber synthetic leather
- Does not really stand out design-wise
- Hard to find outside of Germany
6. Nike Premier League Strike
As a very affordable training ball from Nike, it does not get much better than the Premier League Strike. It has the same type of look and design as the official ball, but it comes at a much affordable price so that people can abuse it if they want to in training.
With 12 panels on the ball, it has a very textured casing that allows people to have a good amount of control. This is a ball built to be very rugged, as the texture does not lose its touch even after extended use.
The rubber bladder inside the ball is also very helpful in making sure that the ball holds up in any type of training. Even if a person plans to buy the ball and kick it against a wall constantly, the bladder helps to keep the air in and keep the shape looking sharp.
There really is not too much uniqueness to the ball, but it is a great value for those who do not want to spend a ton of money. There are a lot of more expensive balls out there that do not offer nearly the same type of high-quality performance.
- Very affordable trainer
- Textured casing holds up
- Keep shape well under heavy use
- It is a little slick in certain weather conditions
- Some feel the ball is harder compared to other balls in this price range
7. Select Numero 10
Falling very nicely in the mid-tier range, the Select Numero 10 soccer ball is a perfect training solution. In fact, it very much mimics a match ball as well, sometimes used in high school and even college matches.
The 32-panel hand-sewn construction on the surface is about the best a person can find at this price range. It is very aerodynamic, and performs consistently every single time it is kicked. A lot of that has to do with the cover, but it also comes down to a high-quality bladder.
A zero-wing latex bladder in the ball allows everything to stay very consistent. It actually benefits the ball that there is a little bit of air leaking over time, as the bladder needs to stay a little soft for the best performance.
All in all, this is one of the best mid-tier options for players who do not want to spend a lot on premium balls. For average players, this really will not make too much of a difference compared to the more expensive options out there.
- Excellent hands-on construction
- Zero-wing latex bladder
- Built for training, match play, or any type of soccer play
- A little annoying having to fill it with air consistently
- Cover wears down a little fast
8. Nike Copa America Merlin
This Copa América Merlin ball is a slightly different look and design that some people love, while others will go in a different direction. It is mostly a matter of personal preference, as this ball performs pretty much exactly as the Premier League option talked about above.
The design on the ball is just a little bit different, but everything else stays the same. It is getting a little harder to find since it is an older model, so it might actually end up costing more as well.
All in all, this is a color choice more than anything. If one can be found at a very affordable price, it is worth going with one over the other.
- Unique design for COPA America
- Provides same high-quality performance
- Built to last a long time
- Difficult to track down at times
- Some places actually charge a premium for an older model
9. Adidas Uniforia League
A great looking ball built specifically for Euro 2020, it is a perfect training solution for people who want to celebrate what was supposed to be an outstanding summer event. It has a pretty simple design overall, and it stacks up well against all the other Adidas balls out there as far as performance goes.
It has that same 100% TPU cover, premium stitching, and a bladder that helps with air retention overall. As far as standout features are concerned, it handles water a little bit differently than other options out there.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly why this ball works better with rain than others, but it is worth investing in if there are a lot of wet training sessions. It will not have that waterlogged feel to it by any means, and it still performs very well even during adverse conditions. Players can still rely on some pretty good grip as well, as the cover has some texture to it that people will enjoy.
- Very simple, elegant design
- Fights off water very well
- Holds air longer than most
- Already an out-of-date ball option
- Starts to wear down a little faster than others
10. Puma Final 2
When shopping for the highest quality soccer balls out there marketed for training, the Final 2 is one worth considering. It falls nicely into that affordable range for training balls, but some people will use this as a match ball due to its overall quality.
Those who do not actually purchase the ball will be a little shocked to hear how inexpensive it is. It has a lot of high-quality features that are usually only found on expensive options. For example, it has an excellent rubber bladder with Puma-specific technology around it to keep the ball flying consistently. Players will get the same type of bend and spin on shots and passes that they would with even the best of balls out there.
The built-in grip on the cover is also beneficial for players wanting to work on control. Some trainers out there simply fly inconsistently and seem to cause more harm than good. This ball is still held to a very high standard, which means that the ball will perform as it should to keep players satisfied.
Puma as a company seems to get overlooked these days in many ways, but they still put out some high-quality products. This ball is no exception, and should be on anyone’s shortlist for trainers.
- Very consistent ball flight on passes and shots
- Outstanding texture on the cover for superior grip
- Built for all types of players
- Quality control is a little subpar online
- Ball starts to show some imperfections early on (cosmetic only)
11. Nike Catalyst Team NFHS
An excellent option for match play or training, the Nike Catalyst Team NFHS is a great alternative to the costly match balls out there. It might not have the latest technology, but it has some premium features that make it a favorite amongst players.
The premium PU casing is one of the qualities that stands out with his ball. It not only provides excellent touch, but it flies in the air the way it is supposed to. Players notice a difference between this upgraded option compared to training balls in the lower tier right away.
The stitching with this ball is also a reason why it performs so consistently. It is very tight and consistent, keeping the ball as round as possible.
About the only thing that really lacks when compared to top-end options is that the durability just is not there. It performs great for a while, but it starts to wear down a little bit faster than other options out there. It is still good value while it lasts, but do not expect it to be as durable out there as some might expect.
- Outstanding PU cover
- Stitching is very consistent, with quality control from Nike
- Great value compared to premium balls
- Not particularly durable
- A little slippery when it gets wet
12. Adidas World Cup 2018
The 2018 World Cup was certainly a memorable one, specifically if a player was rooting for France. They were the ultimate champions in Russia 2018, but players just looking for a high-quality ball will enjoy what this ball brings to the table.
Even though the World Cup was a couple years ago, it is still a very hot seller as far as performance options are concerned. It is partly because it has some of the best technology out there to this day, but there is also the fact that it is slightly discounted since it is a little older.
For the price, it might just be one of the best values out there. From the superior texture on the ball to creative technology built inside to interact with the ball using a smartphone, it is hard to find something packed with so many features.
The look is a little basic for some, but it is a piece of history as well as a performance ball. Grab one now before they all dry up, as people are quick to realize this is a great value.
- Outstanding 3-D texture on the casing
- Seamless construction
- NFC chip allows for interaction using a smartphone
- Pretty basic design
- Will be tough to find once supplies dry up
13. Adidas Top Training Ball
The Adidas Top Training ball is perfect for those who just want something fairly basic to kick around. Available in many different colors and designs, Adidas understands that for a lot of beginners, they need something pretty simple.
People are going to be blown away with the technology behind this training ball, but it still provides some high-quality performance. There is a little bit of texture on the outer cover, and that helps with touch as well as consistent flight. It holds air pretty well for a trainer, and does not necessarily break down after constant use as well.
Some players will opt to use trainers like this to abuse so that they can save their better balls. That is probably what makes the most sense, as it is not really built for match play. Maybe something casual, but other than that, there are better options out there that are relatively affordable.
- Very affordable
- Comes in many different colors and designs
- Not built for match play
- A little too basic for some
14. Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball
The final option to make this list is about as basic as it gets, but it is a great first ball for aspiring soccer players. In fact, while there are many other options out there built specifically for kids, this might be the best one of them all by keeping things simple.
The Wilson Traditional soccer ball looks like a ball from the past, but it performs with some pretty decent modern technology. The cover is decent enough for beginners, and it has some durability to it that surprises people.
Inside the ball, the bladder is very durable for the price, which helps keep the air in and the overall shape looking great. Available in sizes three through five, it is a very affordable first ball for any type of player. It is not meant for anything too competitive, but to kick around for some fun, give it a try.
- Perfect for young players
- Not made for match play
Best For Youth Players
- Wilson Traditional soccer ball
Try to keep things as simplistic as possible with youth players, especially if this is the first soccer ball ever. Instead of being distracted by themed balls that do not help enhance a player’s skill level, this is one that performs well enough to start learning the game. It is extremely affordable, and available in any size a person wants to begin with.
Best For Training
- Adidas UCL Finale Istanbul
This ball is just so well-rounded that it is hard to pick another training ball definitively. There is a lot of competition in the training ball category, but it performs well enough to mimic a match ball that most people will be more than satisfied.
Best For Match Play
- Nike Premier League Merlin
If it is good enough for the Premier League, it is good enough for any soccer player out there. This ball performs very consistently, and lasts long enough to justify the price to a certain degree.
Best Budget Option
- Adidas Top Training ball
This ball is not for everyone, but it works well as a trainer for many different skill levels. It also just happens to be affordably priced to use as a ball for children as well. Buy a few of these to have around for training, and it still will not cost that much overall.
Here’s all my up-to-date budget soccer balls recommendations.
- Nike Premier League Merlin
The best ball for match play is also the best overall soccer ball on the market right now. It provides players with that top-end feel that is nearly impossible to find with any other option.
As great as it performs, it is also very surprisingly durable. No top-end ball can be labeled as affordable, but at least this ball will allow players to get a lot of value out of it before it ultimately wears down enough to turn into a trainer.