The Soccer Ball – An Ageless Entertainment
It is said that thousands of years ago, South American Indians already kicked an elasticized ball for fun. They used things such as heads, skulls, stitched up cloth and pig or cow bladders. The Chinese played “tsu chu” where animal skin balls were dribbled through gaps in a net stretched between two poles. The actual soccer ball only came after a few thousand years. Ancient Egyptian rites are said to have similarities with soccer, and both the ancient Greeks and Romans also played a game that entailed carrying and kicking a ball.
The more irregular the bladders used as balls were, the more unpredictable was its behavior. After Charles Goodyear patented vulcanized rubber, he designed the first rubber soccer ball (football). It was only in the twentieth century that rubber bladders were began to be used in most balls. In 1862 Lindon developed one of the first rubber bladders for balls, probably inspired because of the ill effects of blowing animal bladders, after his wife died of lung disease.
The soccer ball is an air filled sphere with a circumference of 68-70 cm, weight 210-250 g, covered in leather or other suitable material. Most of the modern balls are stitched with 32 panels of water proof leather or plastic and the colors are usually black and white. Over the years balls have become lighter. Older Balls were usually stitched with 18 oblong leather panels. The problem is that these balls were very heavy. Though in the last world cup in 2006 the ball is stitched with 14 panels and the colour isn’t the usual black and white. By reducing the amount of panels used the more accurate a shot with that ball will be, because with the fewer the amount of panels the more perfect the circumference becomes.
The black and white colors on the soccer ball were defined so that it could be seen better on monochrome televisions, but in cases like playing in the snow the soccer balls have different colours such as yellow or orange. The soccer ball used in the World Cup 2006 final is golden with white and black details. Some soccer ball brands are developing new technologies such as using foam as part of the composition of the ball or even having rings so that goalkeepers can determine the spin of the ball.
Nowadays there are many brands that make soccer balls, amongst which are the famous ones such as Adidas, Nike, Mitre, etc. About 80% of the association soccer balls are made in Pakistan, and 75% of these are made in the city of Sialkot.
As soccer is the most popular sport in the world you can find a soccer ball almost in every place on the planet. It doesn’t matter if it’s called football, soccer, fussball, futebol or fútbol, one will always find some soccer ball being kicked around, even in countries were the sport isn’t as popular as in Brazil, Argentina, England, or Germany. Soccer balls are even used in peace campaigns, with special games as on with team with players from Palestine and Israel, playing side by side in a same team united by the same soccer ball.