Is A Soccer Ball A Sphere? An In-Depth Study On The Shape Of A Soccer Ball

Soccer, also known as football in many countries, is one of the most popular sports in the world. The ball used in this sport has a unique shape that sets it apart from other types of balls used in different sports. Whether a soccer ball is a sphere or not is a subject of much debate. 

In this article, we will explore the shape of a soccer ball and examine the reasons behind its unique design.

Related: Does A Soccer Ball Flying Through The Air Have Energy?

The History Of The Soccer Ball

The history of the soccer ball can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where various forms of balls were used in games. The earliest balls were made of animal bladders and were round in shape. Over time, the materials used to make the ball improved, and the shape became more sophisticated. 

In the 19th century, the first soccer balls were introduced, and they were made of leather. These balls were round and had a relatively simple design.

Why Is A Soccer Ball Not A Perfect Sphere?

A soccer ball is not a perfect sphere for several reasons. Firstly, the ball needs to be able to be kicked and passed accurately, which would not be possible with a perfectly round sphere. Secondly, the ball needs to be able to travel through the air in a predictable manner, which would not be possible with a perfectly round sphere. 

Finally, a perfectly round sphere would be more difficult to manufacture and produce.

The Size And Weight Of Soccer Balls

The size and weight of a soccer ball are regulated by FIFA, the governing body of international soccer. According to FIFA regulations, a soccer ball must weigh between 410 and 450 grams and have a circumference between 68 and 70 centimeters.

A soccer ball’s size and weight significantly impact the way it moves and behaves on the field. A lighter ball will move more quickly and be easier to control, while a heavier ball will be more stable and easier to predict. 

The circumference of the ball affects the ball’s bounce and trajectory, as well as the distance it can cover on a single kick.

The Evolution Of The Soccer Ball Shape

As the sport of soccer grew in popularity, the design of the ball was continuously improved to enhance its performance. The round shape of the ball was found to be unsuitable for the game, as it did not provide enough control or accuracy when kicked. 

This led to the introduction of new designs that incorporated different shapes to improve the ball’s performance.

The first non-round soccer ball was introduced in the late 1800s and was known as the “Jabulani.” This ball was oval in shape and was designed to provide more control and accuracy to the player. However, the design was not well received, and the ball was not used in professional matches.

In the 20th century, soccer ball manufacturers continued to experiment with different shapes to find the ideal design. The most significant change in the shape of the soccer ball came in the 1970s, when the first soccer ball with a truncated icosahedron design was introduced. 

This design consisted of 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons, and it was found to provide the best balance of control, accuracy, and flight.

The Shape Of A Soccer Ball

The most commonly used soccer ball is the standard FIFA-approved ball, made of synthetic materials with a circumference of between 68 and 70 cm. When it comes to the shape of the ball, the standard soccer ball is considered to be a sphere. 

This is because a sphere is defined as a three-dimensional object that is symmetrical about its center and has the same radius in all directions. The standard soccer ball meets these criteria, as it is round and has the same radius from its center to its outer surface.

The Different Types Of Soccer Balls

There are several different types of soccer balls available on the market today. These include training balls, match balls, and indoor balls. Training balls are typically made from synthetic materials and are designed for use during practice and training sessions. 

Match balls are used during actual games and are typically made from high-quality materials such as leather. Indoor balls are designed for use on indoor surfaces and are typically smaller and lighter than other types of soccer balls.

The Importance Of Inflating A Soccer Ball Properly

It is important to inflate a soccer ball properly in order to ensure that it performs at its best. An under-inflated ball will not bounce as well and will be more difficult to control, while an over-inflated ball will be too bouncy and difficult to control. The recommended air pressure for a soccer ball is typically between 8.5 and 15.6 PSI.

Maintaining A Soccer Ball

Proper maintenance of a soccer ball is important to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. This includes cleaning the ball after each use, storing it properly, and avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures or moisture. Regularly checking the air pressure and inflating the ball as needed can also help to extend its life.

The Debate On The Shape Of A Soccer Ball

Despite the standard design of the soccer ball, there is still some debate on whether a soccer ball is a sphere or not. Some argue that the ball’s design, with its 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons, makes it a polyhedron, not a sphere. 

Others argue that because the ball is designed to have a uniform circumference and is tested to meet the standards set by FIFA, it is indeed a sphere.


In conclusion, the shape of a soccer ball is unique and has evolved over time to provide the best performance for the game. The standard design of the soccer ball, with its 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons, is based on the truncated icosahedron and is designed to have a uniform circumference. 

Whether a soccer ball is a sphere or not is a subject of debate, but one thing is for sure – the design of the soccer ball has played a crucial role in the evolution of the sport of soccer.

Manuel Esposito

Hello everyone! My name is Manuel and I've recently got my PhD in Sport and Excercise Science at the University of Portsmouth. I'm raised and born in New York, and I've been a big fan of soccer my whole life. Soccer is the reason why I got my PhD in Sport and Excercise Science, and my goal with this blog is to help you improve your soccer techniques, strategies, and knowledge!

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