Choosing the right Soccer Ball

Buy the correct size. Age 8 and under use size 3; ages 8 through 12 use size 4; ages 13 and up use size 5 (the official international-size soccer ball).

Get a softer ball for a younger player, particularly to practice heading. One type is a PVC plastic ball, geared specifically for youth soccer and made in all sizes.

Go for a harder ball for advanced players, who often prefer it for striking.

Pick up the ball and press into it with your thumb, testing for softness. Do this even if it is in a display box.

Judge balls on reputation. You can ask a coach or an experienced player.

Look for the words "FIFA Approved" or "FIFA Inspected" for higher-end balls.