As we had into the all important Fall soccer schedule, I’m sure there are many of you that are considering picking up a new, high-quality ball. The best coaches and players in the world will tell you that you that in order to reach the next level, you’ll need to have a ball at your feet 24/7, so why not make it one that you actually like?
With so many different options on the market, we wanted to run through what are some of the best (and most popular) performers available right now. Enjoy the breakdown, and let us know if there are any others you’d recommend in the comment section below.
Nike Ordem 4
Official Match Ball of Premier League, La Liga and Serie A 2016/17
Notes: Developed for the best European leagues, the Ordem 4 has been refined around three key elements: construction, material and graphics. A new wrapped bladder system ensures the smoothest and most consistent surface — delivering optimal touch and accurate flight. The geometric 12 panel fuse-welded construction employs a new 3D printed ink technique. Finally, the ball’s graphics follow the design principle of “Flow Motion,” applying a luminescence that ensures excellent visibility while the ball is in play. This is without a doubt the best performer on the list, Nike has really perfected the flight and it is such a great ball to strike.
Adidas Finale 16
Official Match Ball of the Champions League 2016/17
Notes: The official Champions League match ball features one of the most unique designs you’ve ever seen on a ball. adidas reached out to some of the games great players and asked them“how do you win your way?” What makes this even more personalized is the fact adidas has kept the exact handwriting in place that the players used for their responses. The ball features the iconic star-shaped panels found on the 2015 CL ball. There is extra definition and a raised texture feel that runs across a the surface casing, and that provides additional traction on the ball if you strike it correctly, improving the amount of spin you can get on shots.
Under Armour Desafio
Official Match Ball of the International Champions Cup 2016
Notes: If you watched the International Champions Cup that took place this summer (a series of club friendlies being played in the US and elsewhere) you probably saw an unusual White/Red/Black official match ball being used. It is the Under Armour Desafio. The Desafio is a ball that has been on the market a few months, and you might also have spotted it in NASL games. Performance wise it is an extremely competitive ball, providing an extremely nice ping as you strike it and a true flight path. The casing of the ball features a light dimple texture that adds a little extra grip as you look to control it.
Adidas Nativo 2016
Official Match Ball of MLS 2016/17
Notes: Already in use during the current MLS season, the Nativo presents a unified design between the US and Canadian teams that play in the league. It is a perfect platform to showcase the new MLS logo and its Red/Blue design scheme. The ball uses a symmetrical structure of six identical, interlocked panels. Stars and Stripes are meshed with the Canadian Maple Leaf to create distinct graphic elements through the series of lines. In terms of performance, the technology used in this ball is the same as in the renowned Brazuca FIFA World Cup 2014 Official Match Ball.
Senda Volta Premier
Notes: If you are looking for the premier Fair Trade ball on the market, look no further than the Senda Volta Premier. This is another ball that takes advantage of the original 32 panel design, which is thermally bonded for top performance and no water absorption. The casing features a micro texture that makes it ideal for close control as you dribble. The one thing I especially like about this ball is how natural it feels to strike. A lot of smaller brands lack in the “ping” department, but Senda has focused on producing a ball that has the performance you’d expect for its price range.
All Senda balls are fair trade. Fair Trade standards ensure that the ball producers meet social, economic and environmental criteria, and that there is no child labor.
Diadora Samba FA
Notes: The premier ball in Diadora’s 2016 collection sees the return of a classic look. Some players will remember the leather Samba that graced pitches several years ago. Well, this updated version features a smooth thermo-bonded design that allows for a no-stitch construction. Where the other balls on this list have a light micro texture across the surface, there is more of a faux leather feel to this one, sort of a tacky feel. Even so, it is such a sweet ball that offers some serious ping when you connect with it correctly.
Mitre V12S Hyperseam
Notes: Who doesn’t love a good Mitre ball? In the early days of the Premier League, Mitre was the staple match ball supplier and they definitely ranked among the best. The V12S Hyperseam might be the most economical ball on the list, but don’t let the fool you on the performance on offer. This ball features a tough PU casing with 4.5mm soft foam lining for durability and control. That soft foam gives a cushioned feel through play, offering an old-school, traditional ball feel. Then Mitre sealed the seams for 100% waterproof performance, giving excellent consistency in play particularly in wet weather.
SELECT Numero 10
Notes: When it comes to classically designed boots, SELECT has long been a leader. A 32 panel, hand-stitched construction is a highlight of the Numero 10, ensuring you get increased durability and shape retention. In terms of touch, the outer casing features some light texture to help enhance control. It is another one I like a whole lot, especially with the high-vis casing. Real good value for the price!
Just to finish it out, here are the balls that get my vote in two of the most important categories:
Top Performer: Nike Ordem 4
Best Value: SELECT Numero 10