Soccer Ball Size: What Size Should You Use?

One of the beauties of soccer is that children of any age can play it. All it takes is a ball and a few players to get some semblance of the game going.

For the younger generation, using a full-size soccer ball does not make that much sense. It is hard to control when a child’s feet are too small, and it just does not make sense to use such a big bar on a small playing field.

There are a total of five main sizes for soccer balls, and they differ in weight as well. Below is a closer look at what these five sizes are for, and how to shop for the proper soccer balls in general.

Soccer Ball SizeAge RecommendationBall Circumference
Size 10-3 years old18″ to “20
Size 23-5 years old20″ to 22″
Size 35-8 years old23″ to 24″
Size 48-11 years old25″ to 26″
Size 512+ years old27″ to 28″

Size 1

Recommended for: 3 years of age and under, or specific training

The smallest soccer ball that is still used in play is Size 1. This is a perfect first soccer ball for younger kids, as the size is not overwhelming in any way. They are often a little softer than standard soccer balls as well, which means that they work indoors if parents want to play with their kids inside.

Most players using a soccer ball at this stage are not going to be on an actual team, so it is more or less viewed as a trainer. However, since it is a small size, some people do use the trainer even at more advanced ages, simply because it allows for more focus on developing proper technique and touch with the ball.

Finally, if there is a ball that works very well as a souvenir, this is it. It is perfect to put on display, have players sign it, and more. The smaller size makes a lot more portable so that it does not cause many problems.


Size 2

Recommended for: 3 to 5 years old

Soccer ball size 2 is not particularly popular, as it is viewed as more of a tweener option than anything. It is a little bit bigger than size one, but still not designed for actual match play. There are some leagues for very small kids that use the ball, but most will jump to Size 3 instead of Size 2.

Training with this ball as an older player is still very beneficial, but again, it does not quite provide the same type of value as Size 1. It does weigh a little more, which can make people feel like they are using a bigger ball that is closer to what they actually play with.

At a lot of stores, they might not necessarily sell many Size 2 options. It is perhaps the most unpopular size out there, but it does bridge the gap in certain situations.


Size 3

Recommended for: 5 to 8 years old

This is the first actual soccer ball used in matches. Kids start to play around this age around the world, and it works perfectly for smaller fields as players learn the game. Not only is it a bit bigger, but the extra weight allows for some skill development as a younger player.

Not only is this the first real ball made more for play, but they are usually a little higher quality as well. Players are looking to learn new techniques with this ball, and the only way they are going to do it is by playing with the ball that they can handle.

There are a lot of leagues that have prohibited headers at this level, but this is another advantage to using a ball that weighs just around 300 grams. A Size 3 ball is going to do less damage to a child’s head if they make contact. It might not seem like that much of a difference, but it can help those who are still very much developing..

Most coaches at youth levels have plenty of Size 3 soccer balls. They are also pretty readily available just got anywhere, as so many children start getting into soccer at this age.


Size 4

Recommended for: 8 to 11 years old

This is the final ball before jumping up to a full-size option. The Size 4 ball gradually leads younger players into playing with the full option, even though there is a pretty big difference in size and weight.

Losing just a couple of inches and maybe 50 grams of weight might not seem like that big of a difference, but it is much easier to go from a Size 3, to a Size 4, to eventually Size 5, then to skip a step and go from Size 3 to Size 4.

This size bounces and acts like the full version as well, which helps kids really start to develop some of the skills they have. They will have the opportunity to control the ball and work on special moves so that they are a little more well-rounded.

Like the Size 3 ball, there is also a bit of a safety concern for those players who might start heading the ball for the first time. It is a little lighter on the head, which is going to do less damage and make parents feel a little more comfortable with their child playing soccer as well.


Size 5

Recommended for: 12 years of age or older

For a full-size soccer ball option, Size 5 is the way to go. Both kids are at least somewhat familiar with these balls at age 10, but they might not make an appearance in matches until age 12. The soccer ball has mostly gone unchanged over the years, so people are going to be very familiar with this type of ball whenever they are playing.

It might be tempting for parents and coaches to force a bigger ball on the players at first, but it is really doing them a disservice. They are not going to be able to control the ball as well, and it might be too heavy. Easing into the Size 5 easier in the end.

A Size 5 soccer ball is going to cost the most, since it comes in some premium options as well. Buying official game balls certainly cost quite a bit of money, but since they are made of high-quality material that lasts, most people are willing to make that investment.


Why Age Recommendations For Ball Sizes Is Important

All of the ages above are a bit of a estimate more than anything, as players will develop at different speeds. Not all 10-year-olds are playing at the same level, and the same certainly goes for 12-year-old.

A ball not properly sized for an individual skill level is going to cause more harm than good. For example, putting a large soccer ball in front of a very young and inexperienced player is going to negatively impact the development overall. They will not have the ability to work on some of those finer skills, which could even lead to losing interest in the game.

On the other hand, adults need to make sure that they purchase the right ball when they are playing the game. There are way too many people who casually play, and then buy whatever ball they can find outlook store. If they buy a Size 3 or Size 4, it might seem big enough to some as an official size. It is going to be nothing but a waste of money in the end if the incorrect size is purchased.

Does Inflation Matter?

When looking at any chart, it might be a bit puzzling to some that the sizes and weights are not uniform. That is because a soccer ball can play differently and even be slightly different size depending on how much air is in the ball. Make sure to pay attention to how much air is going into the ball dictate how The ball plays and reacts on the field.

With younger people, a lot of people try to go with a slightly under-inflated ball, so it is a little softer on impact. This can help prevent injuries, especially in the head area.

Connor Smith

I'm Connor, the guy behind SoccerPrime. I'm a former NCAA Div 1 college player that retired early at 21 due to injuries - which lead me into a new career as a soccer coach.

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