No ball, then no game, so let’s pick a soccer ball. But do you know what soccer ball size you should buy?
Younger players need a smaller ball, so buying the correct size is essential when choosing a new ball for young children. Let’s make sure you get the right ball.
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Soccer Ball Size Chart
If the chart above helps you know the right size ball to buy, great.
If not, it may be because you want to buy a ball for a young player that is 8 or 12 years old. Why are kids 8 and 12 years of age listed under two different sizes? What is the correct size?
The short answer is that both ages should use the larger size ball.
12-year-olds should use size 5, and 8-year-olds should use size 4.
Keep reading for a more detailed answer below.
5 Soccer Ball Sizes
There are five different soccer ball sizes, numbered 1-5. This number is printed directly on the ball and also somewhere on the packaging.
Size 1 is the smallest ball, up to size 5 being the largest. The most common sizes available when shopping for a new ball are sizes 3, 4, and 5.
Size 5 – The Official Size
Size 5 is the official size of a soccer ball. Every high school, college, or professional game uses a size 5 ball.
Players 12 years old and older should use size 5.
It has a circumference of 27-28 inches (68-70 cm) and a weight of 14-16 ounces (400-450 g).
Because size 5 is the official ball size for professional games, there is also an air pressure requirement. A FIFA inspected ball should be inflated to 8.7-16.0 psi (0.6-1.1 bar).
Size 4 Soccer Ball
Size 4 is a slightly smaller ball than size 5. This means that it is more proportionate to the shorter legs and smaller feet of children. It also weighs a little less, making it easier for kids to kick around.
Kids 8-12 years old should use size 4.
It has a circumference of 25-26 inches (63.5-66 cm) and a weight of 12-14 ounces (350-390 g).
Size 3 Soccer Ball
Size 3 is the next one down, slightly smaller than a size 4 ball. Kids in the youngest age group use this size during soccer games and practices.
Children 8 years old and younger should use size 3.
It has a circumference of 23-24 inches (58.5-61 cm) and a weight of 11-12 ounces (300-340 g).
Size 2 Skills Ball
Ok, so kids 8 years old and younger should use size 3. Then what is size 2 used for?
Well, not much. Size 2 is not a common size that you will find. Nike and Dick’s Sporting Goods don’t even mention this size on their websites. But it does exist, and it is used mostly for training purposes.
Players of all ages can use a size 2 ball to improve their footwork and ball control skills.
It has a circumference of 20-22 inches (51-56 cm).
Size 1 Skills Ball
Size 1 is the smallest size of a soccer ball, sometimes referred to as a “mini.” It is more common than size 2.
Players of all ages can also use size 1 to develop their footwork and ball control skills.
It has a circumference of 18-20 inches (46-51 cm).
Because they are mini, size 1 balls are often used as promotional items that can be sold or given away by professional clubs.
Soccer Ball Size Video
Dick’s Sporting Goods put together a video showing a quick breakdown of the different soccer ball sizes (not including size 2).
US Soccer Birth Year Registration
In 2016, a US Soccer mandate changed the rule that defines age groups for youth soccer teams.
The old rule had a birthday cutoff date of August 1 so that youth teams were grouped by school grade level. The new cutoff date is January 1, so teams are now grouped by birth year.
One of the main reasons for this change was to bring the US rules in line with other countries around the world. At the time, the US and Canada were the only FIFA member nations not using a birth year cutoff for youth players.
Why the Mandate Matters
The birth year registration mandate can make it challenging to know what size soccer ball to buy for a youth player, specifically if that player is 8 or 12 years old.
These are the ages where most youth leagues move the teams up to larger ball sizes.
Let’s take the example of two friends that are 12 years old. They are going to play in a summer soccer league. Friend 1 has a birthday in December. Friend 2 is just a little younger, with a birthday in January of the following year.
Even though they are in the same grade at school and only one month apart in age, they will not be placed on the same soccer team. Friend 1 will be placed on a U13 soccer team, and friend 2 will be on a U12 team because the birthday is in a different calendar year.
Friend 1 will need a size 5 ball on the U13 team, while friend 2 on the U12 team will need size 4.
The same example applies to kids that are 8 years old. Depending on their birthday, they could play on a U9 team or a U8 team, and that is where most youth leagues switch from a size 3 ball to size 4.
It can be a little confusing. The chart below shows the required soccer ball sizes for team age groups.
|Age Group||Ball Size|
A 12-year-old kid should use a size 5 soccer ball for training at home and kicking around the yard.
For match play in a youth soccer league, a player on a U13 team will use a size 5 ball, while a player on a U12 team will most likely use a size 4 ball.
Confirm the size needed with the league or team coach.
An 8-year-old kid should use a size 4 soccer ball for training at home and kicking around the yard.
For match play in a youth soccer league, a player on a U9 team will use a size 4 ball, while a player on a U8 team will most likely use a size 3 ball.
Confirm the size needed with the league or team coach.