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Soccer Ball Size By Age: A Guide

Soccer Ball Size By Age: A Guide

Soccer is the most popular sport in the entire world. Not only are top competitions such as the World Cup, the Premier League and La Liga watched by fans all over the globe, association football is also played by a larger amount of people than any other sport. According to estimates, there are over 240 million registered football players across the world, as well as many casual players who simply enjoy a kickabout with friends at the park or in the streets.

Among those whopping numbers are a huge amount of young players, from kids who have only just started attending school to teenagers with big ambitions of reaching the professional game. Add to the mix the millions of adults who play the sport, and you've got a huge range of ages obsessed with the beautiful game. Due to this massive amount of variety in age and ability, some football gear and equipment has to be adjusted and tailored depending on who it's being used by. And we all know what the most important bit of football gear is — the ball.

In this article, we'll provide you with a detailed guide to soccer ball sizes by age, taking you through each age group from 2 years old to 12 years old and explaining what size soccer ball they should be using and why. 

Soccer Ball Sizes By Age: Why Do Different Ages Need Different Balls?

The widely-used term "jumpers for goalposts", used to describe an informal game without real goals, nets, or pitch markings, captures the essence of soccer: all you need to play is a ball. Ultimately, it's this simplicity that has allowed the beautiful game to become so popular in so many different countries and cultures across the world, from Brazil to Belgium, South Africa to South Korea.

However, if you're playing soccer at any decent standard, you need to ensure that this ball is just right. Not only does it have to be firm and properly inflated, with the right amount of bounce and no bad damage to the exterior, it also needs to be the right size.

The reason for this is that because of the varying sizes, heights, strength levels and technical standards of different age groups, a variety of different ball sizes have been created.

Ball sizes range from size 2 up to size 5, and there are guidelines in place from organisations such as the English Football Association (FA) to ensure that players are using the correct ball for their age range. In the next section of this article, we'll take you through which balls should be used by each group.

What size soccer ball for 2 year olds?

Many soccer fanatics are keen to get their children hooked on football as soon as possible. So while they won't be able to join any teams immediately, some kids end up kicking a ball around their back garden pretty much as soon as they can walk. In this kind of situation, anything other than a Size 1 soccer ball will be too large and heavy.

A Size 1 mini football is ideal for a toddler, and while there are no strict guidelines for this size ball, they'll typically have a circumference of around 420mm and a diameter of roughly 130mm.

What size soccer ball for 3 year olds?

A significant amount of physical development and growth happens between the ages of two and three, so it's broadly understood that a typical 3-year-old can use a slightly bigger ball to play with.

A Size 2 ball (also referred to as a 'Midi' ball) would be great for most 3-year-olds.

What size soccer ball for 4 year olds? 

At four years of age, a Size 2 soccer ball — which has a circumference of 470mm and a diameter of 150mm — is also your best bet. Around this time, football-mad kids will want to work on the very basics of their technique and develop key skills of ball control and kicking, and midi balls are excellent at introducing them to these aspects of football. 

What size soccer ball for 5 year olds?

Size 2 balls are ideal for most 5 year olds, due to their small size and optimal weighting for both indoor and outdoor kickabouts.

However, it's important to note that there can be a huge amount of variety and fluctuation when it comes to physical development in childhood, so each case should be judged individually. Some five-year-olds might not be ready for a Size 2 soccer ball, whereas others will be extremely confident with this size and shape.

What size soccer ball for 6 year old?

By the age of six, if a player has already been introduced to the most junior levels of youth soccer, getting a feel for how to use a football and working on their basic technique, they should be ready to move up to a Size 3 ball.

These balls measure in at 580-600mm in circumference (around 23-24 inches) and 184-190mm in diameter, and they typically weigh between 300 and 320 grams.

What size soccer ball for 7 year old?

Again, a 7 year old should be using a Size 3 soccer ball, as it offers just the right balance between progressing toward the ball sizes favoured in adolescent and adult soccer while also keeping things lighter and more manageable for players who are still yet to experience a lot of both physical and skill development as the years go on.

What size soccer ball for 8 year old?

At eight years old, many kids are playing more regular games, with lots of amateur youth clubs having an official match for each of their various age groups each Saturday or Sunday morning.

Some players will already have excellent technical skills at this point — watch this video of a ridiculously talented 8-year-old Lionel Messi if you have any doubts about that — although the majority of players will still be getting to grips with the game. At this age, size 3 balls remain the ideal solution.

What size soccer ball for 9 year old?

In June 2020, the English FA updated their ball size guidelines to extend the recommended use of a size 3 football to 9-year-olds. Previously, players of this age would use a size 4 football for training and regulation matches; however, the lower size was deemed more suitable as a way of honing the basics and making the transition up to more intense, physically demanding football a more gradual one.

However, it's worth noting that in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, those guidelines didn't change, and youth players of 9 years old are still recommended to use a size 4 ball.

What size soccer ball for 10 year old?

This is where things start to move up significantly; at 10 years old, players will typically shift to a bigger size ball, one that is more similar in appearance to the balls used by professional players.

A size 4 soccer ball will be used, weighing around 350-390 grams, with a circumference of 635-660mm and a diameter of 202-210mm. 

What size soccer ball for 11 year old?

Size 4 balls are perfect for 11 year olds. The dimensions of size 4s are perfect for players who are beginning to think about playing in their teenage years and throughout adulthood, with many youngsters at this age having dreams of playing in the Premier League or donning the shirt of their country.

Size 4 soccer balls typically aren't sold in regular high street stores, so anyone looking to play with them will need to seek out a specialist sports equipment supplier.

What size soccer ball for 12 year old?

A full-sized football, the type of ball used by professional adult players all over the world, is a size five soccer ball. This size measures in at 685-695mm in circumference, 218-221mm in diameter and 420-445 grams in weight. You may notice that the dimensions here are a little more strict than the smaller balls, which is ultimately a testament to the importance of consistency across the board throughout adolescent and men's football. 

There is some debate about exactly when the full sized soccer ball should be introduced to young players. A size 5 soccer ball can be large, heavy and difficult to control if forced on players when they are too young to manage it, and some people argue that 14 is the right age for size 5s to be introduced.

However, it's generally understood that most 12-year-olds are mature enough physically and technically to handle playing with a full-sized ball.

It's at this stage that the best soccer players are honed and developed; by the age of 12, the majority of people who will go on to play at the highest level will have already signed for a professional academy and will be developing their talents under the stewardship of top-class coaches. These players will be operating on high-level artificial and grass playing surfaces, under the best tactical and developmental instruction, preparing for the elite game. Using the best soccer ball possible is crucial here.

Soccer Ball Size By Age Chart

Child Age Recommended Ball Size
2 1
3 2
4 2
5 2
6 3
7 3
8 3
9 3 or 4
10 4
11 4
12 and over 5

If you've enjoyed this guide to the right sizes of soccer balls for different age groups, why not stick on the theme of junior football and check out our guide to 7v7 soccer formations explained?