If you’ve gone through the high school soccer circuit has had experience with some pretty low quality soccer balls. The issue is that during game play the ball can’t be switched up with a better ball because like any other league they are assigned a specific match ball. I’ve gone through my fair share of NFHS certified soccer balls so I was wonder how the Apex XLS Match Ball would measure up to the rest. Would it be just another generic toy like ball? Or would it be consistent, easy to manipulate, have good bounce and durability. I used the Apex XLS match ball in 10 games and 5 practice/training sessions. I played on turf , natural grass, wet grass and even a little bit of court.
Fair Trade means that the people making Senda’s soccer balls are getting a fair wage, good working conditions, and there is no child labor, all guaranteed by a third party certifying body called Fair Trade USA.
Because of the standards of fair trade I expected a few things out of the ball. I expect it to be crafted with care and since it is hand stitched I also expected it to be fairly durable. Performance wise I expected something more average. The Apex XLS is one step above the Apex match ball and one below the Rapido Premier ball.
Initially I was concerned, a few hours after I inflated the ball for the first time it lost a lot of air. I was glad that after I pumped it up again it retained the air. When inflated to proper Psi the ball has great bounce and is rather visually appealing. Design wise it is rather simple, no extreme detailing and nothing fancy. But boy does the yellow stick out on the field. Easy to spot even when the sun is setting which means that night games can last a little bit longer (if the field isn’t lit). Holding the ball in my hands it seemed a little generic. It doesn’t have much cushion in the upper like a FIFA approved match ball or even some other NFHS certified balls. But after the first little kick around I was quite satisfied with it and found that the lack of palpable cushion was actually a benefit. There was a downside to having no “cushion” however is that it put a few people off initially because they thought the ball is was too hard when it really wasn’t. But then it is a matter of getting them to simply kick it around to reassure them that it isn’t.
Something that usually puts me off of a lot of soccer balls is that they get gouges and gashes in the upper after just 30minutes of indoor play, for example take the beMeister ball. However Senda gave the Apex XLS an abrasion resistant cover and it has so far it is free of cuts. It does scuff and stain though but there are few balls that won’t when introduced to a turf surface. Out doors it won’t scuff at all and, I expect, get any abrasions. Air retention wise after the initial deflation issue I had I didn’t have any issues. It hold air the best out of any other ball I have or have had. A+ for durability.
I chose to measure it up against the T90 Premier Team Ball, one of the best NFHS certified balls.
I have almost no complaints performance wise, it has actually replaced the T90 Premier as my game ball. It has ideal bounce, movement in the air, and manipulability. I actually got a lot of very crisp passes, crosses and killer shots out of it. It has perfect the perfect ping to it coming off my foot, almost like it want to be drilled into the back of the net. I think it has something to do with the fact that it doesn’t have much of a padded feeling. The only issue I found was getting it into play because initially people were overly fond of the T90 Premier ball which was the usual game ball. They don’t feel that way anymore now that I’ve introduced the Apex XLS. One of the groups I play with actually waited until the ball was brought back into play before starting up again. Even with the T90 Premier and an adidas top training ball in the net ready to be used! It didn’t perform like a premium ball such as the Nike Tracer or adidas Jabulani (only top league balls I’ve gotten to use) but it still has some great attributes to it especially for a NFHS ball.
It is well worth the price. You get a good ball and support a great company. Only issues are that it isn’t a ball from a major brand and it doesn’t have a design that gives a first good impression. People are more likely to choose a Nike, Adidas, or even a Select ball over it simply because they are known for making quality gear. However once they give the Apex XLS a shot they are sure to enjoy it. As a NFHS ball it certainly competes well with all other balls in the bracket, even surpassing most of them. Another great ball from Senda athletics. Read up on a trio of Senda’s other soccer balls too!
The Senda Apex XLS Match Ball is Available for $49.99