This past week saw Nike release several innovative new pieces to their collection, with the 2018 Merlin Match Ball being a key addition. Set for use in the second half of the year when new seasons kicks off, this is a ball that will definitely capture fan attention for all the right reasons.
So, what makes this one so special? For the first time, ACC (All Conditions Control) technology has been applied to a soccer ball. The result is a ball with optimal touch and control—no matter the weather, no matter the pitch. The new Merlin is designed with a larger striking surface, by reducing the number of panels for a more pronounced sweet spot. This meticulous attention to detail makes it worthy of being the official ball of the English Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A.
Nike created a larger striking surface across the ball by reducing the traditional 12-panel construction to just four panels. This also reduced the number of seams by 40 percent, eliminated hard spots, opened up the ball and created a more pronounced sweet spot.
The ball is constructed of a latex bladder (instead of a traditional rubber) enveloped in proprietary materials to promote more consistent air pressure and keep its shape. Debossed grooves and 3D inks (these are engineered to dry at levels and locations that vary by millimeters) rise as they dry during the printing process further improve aerodynamics and the feel of the ball. Secondary and tertiary colors serve to catch players’ eyes and help them to identify spin, speed and trajectory as quickly as possible.
Stay tuned for more details on the balls release in summer 2018!