Soccer ball sizes by age is the topic many people want to know. Below you’ll learn which soccer ball size is best for each age, plus why it matters and doesn’t matter. Depending on if you are using it for training or for actual games makes a bit of a difference. For training it doesn’t matter as much for some ages, unless you’re talking about the difference from a size 3 to a 5. You don’t want a 7 year old using a size 5, but a 10 year old could for practicing. For games it’s more specific, therefore having the right ball is needed in this case. Coaches and especially referees need to know and care more about the size as anyone. Kids just need a ball to practice with. Below I explain what each age can handle or benefit most from. Note: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
How much does the soccer ball size matter?
For ages 8 it all depends on the league, where some play with a size 3 and some play with a size 4. Younger ages say, 4-7 a size 3 is better just because of their size. It’s easier to roll and kick a smaller ball at this age.
I personally train youth, college and some pros for a living, therefore I carry 2 ball bags totalling 16-20 balls. Out of all those balls, all of them are size 5 except maybe two size 4’s. The reason is because most of the players I train are 9 years or older. Last year in Sept-Oct I trained a 5 year old, where we used a size 4 with him. Get the size ball you need here.
Even though ages 9-11 use a size 4, it’s fine for them to use a size 5 in training. The only thing that would make it more difficult for them is if the ball is pumped up with a lot of air. This makes the ball heavier and harder. Ages 12, especially ages 13+ need a size 5, not a 4.
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Size 1 soccer balls for fun
The size 1 soccer ball is not used for a real soccer games. It’s the little ball that you can fit in your hand, say 2x the size of a tennis ball.
Two things the size one is for:
- A skills ball to help challenge advanced players with juggling or volleys.
- Something small and fun to have around the house. Often times these balls will have pro club logos printed on them, so many people get them because they cost only $10 and they can support their favorite team with it.
Size 3 soccer ball
For ages 4, 5 and 6 the size 3 soccer ball is for sure the best. Once the kids turn 7, they can easily use a size 4. So if your kid is 7 or 8 I would just buy them a size 4 so that they can use if when they are 9 years old. In practice it doesn’t matter the size. The only thing that matters is the soccer ball size on game day.
For younger soccer players ages 4-6, I think the main reason a size 3 is better is because they can roll it easier. For them rolling a size 4 is like an adult trying to roll as basketball size. It just wouldn’t be near as easy trying to roll the ball.
Size 4 balls for soccer
Ages 8-11. Sometimes starting with age 9 all the way to age 11 use a size 4. Ages 8 have no problem kicking or dribbling a size 4 soccer ball. My youngest daughter started a new season at age 8 in Spring of 2021 and her league uses a size 3 for this age. I volunteered to coach her rec team and use mostly size 4 balls with them.
Size 5 soccer ball – Age 12 – adults
Ages 12 all the way to the pros, size 5 is the ball to use. This is the largest size soccer ball and the official size for pro players. For younger players say, age 12 they really are on the border in which ball they should use. I think the size is fine for ages 12, but if they could use a lighter ball it would be much better for them.
The reason a lighter ball is better for younger ages is because it can be uncomfortable when it’s pumped up too much. It’s not just the difference in weight, but more the actual hardness of the ball. It’s hard to believe one size up can make the difference in this, but it does. You can find good soccer balls here off amazon.
How much air to put in a soccer ball?
For a size 5, go with 15 psi. In my life, the only time I ever checked the exact amount of air was in college my freshman year. The freshman had to take turns pumping up the balls each day. We had a air machine that would gage how much air. I don’t think I even checked it then. You’ll learn how to check with pressing into the ball with your thumbs/fingers. Referees check the ball before games by holding it and pressing how hard or soft it is.
Any ball that’s aired up too much is uncomfortable to kick, but especially the size 5. It can hurt the foot, knee and hip. It’s not a painful hurt, as much as a uncomfortable hurt. When you air a ball up, you want to be able to press into with your thumbs just a little. If you can press into a lot, there needs to be a little more air. If it feels like basketball, it’s aired up too much.
Best 2 ways a ball will improve your skills
- Find a wall and you’ll find your passing, shooting and trapping skills will skyrocket. Free wall training videos here. You’ll learn how to control the ball off the bounce, on the ground and out of the air. Try kicking the ball different ways, first one foot, then the other, looking for new things: inside of the foot, outside of the foot, laces… Get a rhythm going, speeding it up, slowing it down. Aim at a certain brick. Make the ball spin, see how it bounces as it comes back at you.
- Improve your dribbling and aerial first touch investing in my complete ball control method. There are 3 levels; The Basics, The Advanced and The Magic. 25 total lessons, over 50 methods. This is all you need. You don’t need hundreds of drills, as it’s better to become really good at the important stuff.