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Adidas adiPure 2011 Soccer Ball Review

Soccer balls are not usually something I get any kind of excited over, but the adiPure 2011 ball from Adidas is keeping me captivated today, which is definitely welcomed given the gloom going on outside the window. Everything about the ball—the shape, the panels, the style—is just outstanding. If you’re saying to yourself, “I’ve seen this ball before,” it’s because you have. It’s more or less the same ball used in the 2006 World Cup.

Right off the bat, the thing to notice about this ball is the panel design. The panels give the ball such an unmatched roundness that you have to do a double-take. Because of the roundness, the flight trajectory stays true and predictable and allows for much more control than you get with other balls of similar quality. You know that feeling you get through your bones and veins when you connect on the sweet spot and just know you hit the ball with everything? The kind of strike that spikes your adrenaline? Well, this ball offers that kind of hit with greater regularity than most, and I know that definitely piques some interest.

The style of the ball is simply second to none—it’s just pure class with a modern edge to it. There are two kinds of panels on the ball; one that is affectionately known around the shop as the “maxi pad” panel (I’m sorry—it’s the best we can do), and a kind of three pronged throwing star shape. I know it sounds goofy, but that’s more to do with my poor description skills of somewhat abstract shapes. In any case, the two panel designs combine for an elegant and swirling design that speaks of class and confidence. It’s this design that allows the black and white color scheme to keep a modern edge in the face of the brightly colored balls lining the shop’s wall.

This ball will run you around $99, so it’s a bit of an investment. You certainly won’t want to use this as a street ball, so be sure you’ll be using it for the proper occasion. Take care of the ball and use it properly, and it’s sure to last you for several years; it even comes with a 2 year shape guarantee. It holds air just fine and allows for a great amount of cushion with every kick. You won’t feel like you’re kicking rock, nor will you feel like you’re kicking a pillow. The ball struck a perfect balance between the two. I really can’t say enough about this ball, but I doubt a lengthy, long-winded narrative is going to sway you to impulsively purchase the ball—my suggestion is to test one out for yourself. I think you’ll fall in love.

Written by: Kris Dyer, soccerprose.com

Portland Timbers Ball Review

Something is very clear with the arrival of the Portland Timbers to the MLS: Timber Joey the Lumberjack is the sweetest mascot ever to hit the league and perhaps professional sports in general. After each goal, Timber Joey hacks off a huge piece of a thick log with his giant chainsaw, forming a thin disc that gets passed around the crowd during home fixtures. Following the matches, Timber Joey collects the discs and hands it those Timber players who notched a goal during the contest. Whoever came up with this idea: genius. At any rate, it helps that the fan support is awesome with their new Portland Timbers Home Jersey. Plus, fans are coming out and getting the affordable Portland Timbers ball, produced by Adidas.

The ball is a relative of the famous Jabulani ball, the same match ball used in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I know, I know. You’re saying, “that ball was crazy!”. True, but this Timbers ball takes all the good of the Jabulani and gets rid of all the junk associated with it. The ball has a predictable flight pattern thanks to the removal of those strange dimples. The butyl bladder is terrifically implemented and retains air well over time and performs the job consistently. It is a machine stitched ball with a nylon wound carcass that provides players a soft-to-the-touch ball and a reliable and predictable trajectory as the ball moves around the pitch. TPU construction ensures the ball remains durable and prevents marking and tearing of the outer regions of the ball.

The Timbers ball really borrows heavily from the look of the Jabulani ball, which is a great thing, however. It’s dark green all over instead of white, like the Jabulani. The paneling of the ball is non traditional and pours on the slime green, just like the Timbers kit colors. The famous Timbers logo (which is by far my new favorite crest around the league) sits below a small Adidas logo and the ball is lined with other official Adidas lettering to ensure you know you’ve got a sweet product on your hands. To top it all off, a small MLS logo stands out well against the primarily dark forest green ball. The design comes together in a clean and modern package that looks great.

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Nike Portugal Supporter Ball Review

Happy Tuesday, folks. Hopefully the weather is better in your neck of the woods (thanks, Al Roker) as today is a gloomy, cloudy day for us at the shop. Today’s agenda is aimed at the Nike Portugal Supporter ball, so let’s get into it, shall we?

Let’s not beat around the bush—this isn’t a match ball, even for something like intramurals. It’s basically a cheap ball (i.e. inexpensive, not necessarily poorly constructed) that would be perfect for a pick up game in the street or for kicking around with your kids. The latter scenario, I think, is the perfect situation for this ball, especially if you have younger children; allow me to explain.

The ball is constructed with the classic mixture of hexagonal and pentagonal panels, each stitched to one another. This creates seams that keep water from flooding the ball, while also maintaining the spherical structure of the ball use after use. That said, the panels are a bit on the slick side, so it’ll take a few wallops before the ball softens up and gets broken in. It also has PU casing with a reinforced bladder, so it will be able to take the beating from consistent use by younger players. I definitely wouldn’t suggest getting together with your buddies and wailing the ball into a brick wall; you’ll end up with a flat ball in no time, I think. ANYWAY, I like the classic paneling on the ball because it doesn’t have the flight issues that a Jabulani style paneled ball can have, which is certainly good for young players getting the basics of the game down. Aside from the paneling and the bladder, there isn’t much else to the construction of this ball. It’s simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s poorly constructed.

As for the look of the ball, well, it utilizes the Portugese red and green with the ball being predominately red. On one side, you have the team crest in green. Directly opposite the small crest is a much larger stylized crest! The focal point of this side is a gold crest with “A Equipa de Todos Nós” written in white over top of the crest. Again, relatively simple, but the designs are effective and serve their purpose. This ball isn’t intended to dazzle you with innovative paneling or flashy graphics. It’s intended to display on a shelf or to kick around with your kids in the back yard, at least in my opinion. The soccer ball currently retails for $19.99, but soccerpro.com has it for $11.99 at the moment. If you’re looking for a cheap ball that is still well made, I’d suggest checking this out!

Written by: Kris Dyer, aspiring magician, soccerprose.com

Seattle Sounders Ball Review

The Sounders are one of my favorite MLS franchises around for many reasons. They’ve got players I love, such as Freddy Montero, Kasey Keller, and Alvaro Fernandez. The squad has the best fans cheering for them at Qwest Field and are two time US Open Cup Champions. The best part? They’ve got most unique color scheme of any team in the league, in a great way. The ball represents the culmination of all these factors and the new Seattle Sounders Ball really hits the sweet spot for an affordable team replica ball.

The ball’s color scheme borrows heavily from the Away and Home kits the Sounders sports and combines the best of both worlds from each. The ball is primarily dark shale (essentially a navy blue/dark gray mix), which is the primary color on the away kit. To accent the ball, greens and blues from the home kit are utilized akin to the general design of the 2010 World Cup Ball, the Jabulani (at least in design, not color-way). Luckily, the performance of this ball is a bit different and more predictable then its infamous brother. We’ll get to that later. Anyways, the ball sports official Adidas, MLS, and Seattle Sounders Logos and look clean and professional against the dark shale coloring. A highly modern looking product, the Sounders ball fits right in with the personality of the team.

The ball features a butyl bladder which provides excellent air retention. Plus it’s machine-stitched, has a TPU casing, and features a Nylon Wound carcass. The result is a ball that gives your passes and shots predictable flight patterns, high durability, and a clean soft touch no matter the condition presented to you. The ball has held up well through testing and has yet to show any noticeable marks or knocks, in part due to the color scheme but also in part due to the high quality materials Adidas outfitted the MLS ball with.

The Sounders are a modern club and for that, they have a modern, high performing ball at an affordable price. A real win if you are remotely a fan of the club.

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Arsenal Ball Review

Being a Gunner fan has been a bit rough for the past few years. Playing attractive football can only get you so far, but the important thing is that you have awesome gear that you can use or wear while you are supporting the Gunners, even if they do give away late goals and have devastating losses from time to time. While I’m watching Cesc and the boys, I’m playing around with my new Arsenal ball. It’s a solid ball that has been durable for me throughout the campaign and simply embodies the Arsenal spirit.

The ball is a classic Red and White with gold contour lines to blend between colors. It’s really classy looking and unsurprisingly looks like an Arsenal product, as it should. The Gunner logo is grayed out on a white paneling and looks neat while the Arsenal crest looks great against the red paneling. A classic White Nike swoosh sits below the crest while “Gunners” sits below that in white lettering. Technically, this ball is called the Arsenal “Prestige” and for good reason: it’s quite prestigious and dignified looking. But how’s it been holding up? Well, excellently, to be frank.

A traditional 32-panel design has been implemented for the ball design and looks and feels like a classic ball. The machine stitched design ensures a standard of quality that Nike is known for so that’s also a big plus. The reinforced bladder made of rubber has helped the ball to retain its spherical shape. In addition, the PU casing makes this ball hold together nicely and retain air well over time. I’ve had this ball for over 6 months and I’ve only had to pump it up a very minimal amount a single time (probably because I’m incredibly antsy during Gunner games).

At any rate, this ball is classy and durable. Any Arsenal fan should be proud to own this ball due to its classic design and terrific looks. A must buy if you are a fan of the Emirates.

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Vancouver Whitecaps Soccer Ball Review

Another year, another awesome new MLS franchise entering the fray and gunning for the coveted MLS Cup. Enter the Vancouver Whitecaps, the newest coolest kid on the block. To go along with the awesome Whitecaps jersey comes the new Vancouver Whitecaps Tropheo Ball, and its just as slick as its club.

The ball is a spin-off of the infamous Jabulani ball used in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. Love it or hate it, it’s got some similar features but noticeable differences. Diving right in, the ball has a nylon wound carcass and a TPU construction. This gets you a highly durable product that will allow you to kick this ball around all season long. Plus, the carcass gives you some really impressive soft touches. It has a real natural classic soccer ball feel and for less than $20, a fan of the Whitecaps can’t ask for much more. Or can they? The Whitecaps ball also is machine stitched, so you know you’ll get quality across the whole ball. The butyl bladder also helps the ball retain air for a long time coming. During testing, I didn’t feel as if the ball changed feel at all, as it kept air well and maintained the same soft touch as if it was straight out of the package with each kick of the ball.

The Whitecaps ball also has a really classy look. It’s a clean white design with stylistic blue shade patterns across the various sections of the ball. A Whitecaps crest sits prominently and looks terrific against the white back-set. MLS and Adidas logos sit on the ball, too, so you know you’re getting quality gear from an emerging league and a highly respected soccer company. The Whitecaps ball oozes class and is surprisingly durable, given it’s price point. I’d recommend it to any fan of the franchise or the MLS in general.

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Adidas Speedcell Training Pro Ball Review

There are tons of training balls out there these days; many fall apart in such a short amount of time, you might as well buy an official match ball. Some just look as atrocious as a neck beard (I’m sure you can tell I’m not a fan). Some companies simply neglect quality, looks, or both in training balls, simply because they can. Not Adidas. The Adidas Speedcell Training Pro ball in Yellow arrived at my feet and it was love at first sight (well, first touch).

The most important element of the ball is really its incredible durability, given its price point. At under $25, many would suspect this ball to be made of flimsy materials and show wear and tear easily. Through rigorous testing, I experience none of these problems akin to many value soccer balls. Though I am just one opinion, the ball does bode well in the eyes of another entity: namely, FIFA. The Adidas Speedcell Training Pro has been inspected by the governing body and passes the organization’s rigorous testing for circumference, weight, rebound, and water absorption. A value ball passing these tests is unheard of, so it’s a sign of true quality. Besides FIFA’s mark of approval, which is stamped on the ball for all to see, th ball is built for durability thanks to its hand-stitched design. In addition, the polyester cotton PU construction gives you a soft first touch on the ball that is consistent and retains air wonderfully. It’s easily one of the highest quality training balls out there thanks to all these awesome features. Plus, it looks pretty awesome too.

The color scheme is a twist on the popular 2011 FIFA Womens World Cup Ball, the Adidas Speedcell Official Match Ball. The same modern feel is applied to the Speedcell Training Pro, with modern stylish lines running around the length of some panels and some impressive symmetrically odd shapes that work surprisingly well. This ball is yellow all over with some maroon, dark red, and black lines running along various points on the ball. It’s all a bit overwhelming to look at up close at first, but after some time, the look grows on you. It’s certainly grown on me. Overall, this ball is an incredible value. It’s highly durable, FIFA-approved, and frankly quite sexy. $25 of the best you could ever spend.

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Brine NAIA Championship Soccer Ball Review

So, you’ve made it to as a player or coach in college soccer. Congratulations. In short, you’ll need equipment to match your undoubtedly impressive game. You’ve got the shoes, the guards, and the apparel to fit your team’s style. Now all you need is an ultra-high quality ball. Enter the Brine NAIA Championship Soccer Ball, a premium high performance ball that is guaranteed to last.

Let’s face it; most companies don’t stand behind their products with guarantees anymore. It’s a risky and expensive endeavor if the product doesn’t happen to meet the standards the company so claims it does. Brine has ignored this sentiment and slapped a 3 year unconditional guarantee on this ball. That’s right. Unconditional. It’s an incredible offering but when you start testing this product, you’ll see quite quickly how durable of a product the Brine NAIA Soccer Ball really is. The ball features a premium high performance glossy PU cover for optimal ball feel given the field conditions of an NAIA field. A Tru-Flight Latex bladder further increases softness, balance, and good feel on the ball. In addition, the ball is hand stitched carefully so you know the ball won’t fall apart after a season or two. Even if it does, you’ve got that amazing guarantee to fall back on.

Perhaps the most important feature of the ball is its use by the NAIA, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The NAIA has struck a deal with Brine so that this ball will be used at all NAIA men’s and women’s soccer national championship events when the time arises. This is yet another testament to the quality Brine has put into this amazing product. In addition, the ball looks pretty cool. The ball is outfitted with Navy panels with a red outline, the two main colors in the NAIA logo (way to go for adhering to this level of detail, Brine). In addition Brine logos as well as an NAIA logo are slapped on the ball so you are reminded further of the great ball you have the fortune of playing with on a daily basis.

As the only ball used in the NAIA in men’s and women’s soccer national championship events, the ball screams quality. There is a price to pay with that, but the more you order, the bigger the discount you receive. Bag up the highest quality ball I’ve played with in quite some time in bunches.

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Select Futsal Jinga Ball Review

Select is one of the premier manufacturers of soccer balls in the world and for good reason; they’ve always had a commitment to incredible quality and attempt to get their balls approved by various organizations, such as FIFA, UEFA, NFHS, and IMS so the user knows they are dealing with an extremely high quality product. With such high quality, however, comes an understandable hike in price. Most select balls run at least $40 and can go upwards of $120 for their premier ball. Fortunately, you can now get Select quality at an affordable price with the brand new Select Futsal Jinga Ball.

The Select Futsal Jinga is really the perfect storm between price and quality. Since the ball is meant for Futsal play, the ball will only come in size 3, so you’ll either love or hate that aspect. At any rate, it’s a versatile and durable ball that is ideal for training sessions, recreational, or competitive play. Through testing, it’s held up fabulously well. There are no noticeable marks on the ball through five extended training sessions. Plus, I’m not really worried about it breaking it down; if it does break down, Select has always stood behind their products with their industry-known warranty. It’s also a pretty attractive looking ball, too. The blue and white paneling with black contour lines are really stylish and have a modern feel, all while holding true to Select’s design patterns in the past.

Overall, it’s a really high quality futsal ball. Select always makes quality products and this ball is no different. Only thing that changes is that it’s a size three ball and you’re getting an amazing price on it.

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Adidas Speedcell Training Ball Review

Finding a training ball that doesn’t suck is harder than one would think. Many soccer balls out there are not made with the highest quality materials, to say the least. Some have practically zero air retention ability. Others just plain don’t feel the right size. You’d think there would be some standards to follow out there, right? Well you’d be correct. Luckily, Adidas has found such a system to ensure a high quality training ball is available to you, so you’re not stuck with a terrible ball for a training session. In short, the Adidas Speedcell Training ball is class.

Adidas has decided to adhere to a certain standard with the production of this ball, making this ball NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) approved. So what’s that mean for you? You get a spherical ball (unsurprisingly, a good characteristic of a ball!) made of leather or high quality material (in this case, leather) with excellent air retention and inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure right out of the box. Bottom line: you’ll be able to jump right in and start playing with this ball in training right out of the box. Another sweet feature of the ball is that it is also approved by the ever popular FIFA. That means you get a ball that can be used in FIFA approved competitions. You also are ensured a ball with a standard circumference, excellent feel and weight, superb water absorption quality, and some of the best rebounding characteristics in the soccer ball market. The approvals do speak for themselves, but just to make sure, I put it through some testing and the ball lived up to the hype. I felt I had excellent control on the ball, it flew with predictability and precision, and the ball just felt like a premium match ball at my feet. Perhaps my favorite feature on the ball that I have yet to mention is the fact that this ball has zero stitching. So how does the ball stay put together? The panels are heated together for optimum air retention. The technology works like a charm.

The ball looks pretty cool, too. The ball is mostly white all over and mirrors the premium Speedcell Match Ball, which will be used in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The ball has some stylish blue panels with some modern feel to it. Gray contour lines surround the ball and the blue panels, too, and look pretty professional. Plus, the ball has got the Adidas and NFHS logos, so you know you’re getting a high quality product at your feet right from the first touch of the ball. Overall, it’s a sweet ball and at under $40, you could certainly use this ball for training or matches.

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Adidas adiPure Soccer Ball Review

I’m a pretty classic guy when it comes to soccer balls. It’s always been about quality materials and reliability over any of the flashy tendencies that some balls try to distract you with. To me, the classic soccer ball is black and white, extremely durable, has great air retention, and reliable, consistent performance. Adidas has created the Adidas adiPure NFHS Competition soccer ball to satisfy my exact needs and it’s definitely one my favorite balls out on the market right now.

The ball couldn’t be much more classic in looks. Plain white panels line half the panels, while a simple, but professional black triangular pattern lines the other half of the panels. A couple of Adidas logos and adiPure logos also line the ball so you know you are getting a quality product for a high quality company. Other than that, the ball is pretty “Plain Jane”, which I’m personally a fan of. What really makes this ball stand out from the crowd is it’s incredible performance for the price (under $60).

First off, this Adidas soccer ball is given FIFA’s highest approval rating possible. What’s that mean for you? The ball can be used in professional competitions and the ball passed tests in weight, water uptake, shape, and size retention. Essentially, you know the ball will feel the right weight in your hands and on your feet, it won’t become water-logged (a huge problem with many balls), has an excellent reliable circular shape, and will keep in air for a long time so you won’t waste your time with a soccer pump. In addition to all these great features, the ball has a latex bladder for excellent rebounding characteristics and terrific air retention. Plus, the ball is thermally bonded together. That’s right; no stitching on this bad boy. It’s a terrific trend that will make the ball hold up through a long intense season of training and games as well create a more reliable flight trajectory. Finally, Adidas has saved the best for last; the ball is NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) approved. Essentially, the NFHS testing involves a few criteria: the ball must be made of leather or other suitable material which is weather resistant, between 14 and 16 ounces in weight, between 68 and 70 centimeters in diameter, and inflated to manufacturer’s specification. Check check check.

Overall, it’s a terrific, classic ball with unbelievable performance. The ball held up well in rigorous testing and was extremely reliable. A no-brainer purchase if you need a quality soccer ball.

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Adidas Speedcell Review

Adidas was once again in charge of handling the ball design for a World Cup (the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, to be precise) so the company has just come out with the brand spanking new Adidas Speedcell, the official ball of the 2011 Women’s FIFA World Cup.

First, let’s get to some FIFA specifics. If you’re buying a ball at this price, you’ll want to know you’re getting a ball fit to the highest quality standards. The ball doesn’t disappoint. FIFA put it through it’s rigorous testing to ensure the ball could be approved for weight, water uptake, shape, and size retention. The Speedcell passed with flying colors, of course. One of the best features of the ball is that zero stitching is used; rather, the ball is thermally bonded together to ensure a more predictable trajectory (a glaring problem of the Jabulani) and superior ball control. One thing I also noticed immediately when checking out the ball is these elliptical groves all around the ball. According to Adidas, the “micro texture” and “artificially placed grooves” help ensure a straighter ball flight path. After last summer’s disaster with the Jabulani, Adidas was clearly out to fix some “problems” with their official match balls and the company has largely succeeded, as proven in testing. The ball seemed to fly exactly where I desired and I could pin-point passes and crosses with greater accuracy then I’ve done previously.

As for looks, the ball doesn’t disappoint at all. It’s an extremely stylish, modern ball gray contour lines all over and a neat color scheme on certain sections of the ball. Blues, yellows, and greens transition beautifully to dress up the plain white grooves that dominate the ball. The ball is imprinted with a FIFA quality seal to ensure you are getting the highest quality product out there. Plus, it’s got a prominent Adidas logo with an official match ball Speedcell lettering above the logo, so you know you’ve got the ball the pros will be wearing this summer.

If you’re looking for something high quality to complement your womens soccer apparel, you don’t need to look too far. The Adidas Speedcell is an extremely high quality ball for high quality players. If you want to play and feel like the pros, pick up this ball.

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Adidas Finale London Ball Review

The Champions League has always had some of the sweetest ball designs out there, and this years Finale London Top Training ball is no different. In an almost verbatim exchange between me and Matt, the following occurred:

Me: Holy…that ball is intense.

Matt: Yeah it’s like a meteor encased in a soccer ball. Was it forged by the Gods of Olympus?

Hyperbole aside, the ball does have a lot going on. The dominant theme of the ball is stars. Each star has a star connected to every endpoint, which comes together for a pretty sweet network. The stars are red, save the orange “Wembley 2011” star, and inside these stars is a hollow blue star. Perhaps the coolest part about it, though, is the area in and around the Wembley patch and the two stars connected to the bottom points. In the space between, there is the Champions League crest in blue with those all too awesome lions on either side of the trophy. Inside the red stars just beneath the crest are larger versions of the opposite faced lions, though they are in gray instead of blue. The red/blue/white/orange scheme works very well with this ball, and I have to say, Adidas did a wonderful job incorporating several elements into the design without appearing cluttered or obnoxious.

As for the construction of the ball, it’s pretty unique. You won’t find stitching or seams with this ball. Instead, you’ll find thermally bonded patches, which I think is pretty cool. Couple this with the latex bladder, and I think you have a great training or pick up game ball that will last for some time. At $39.99 per ball, I’d say it’s definitely worth the money, especially given the fact that it won’t be around come 2012. If you’re looking for a ball and have this kind of price range, it’s definitely worth it. If it’s out of your personal price range, find a couple friends to pitch in and get to playing!

Written by: Kris Dyer, soccerprose.com

Adidas Chicago Fire Ball Review

Bridgeview is going to be rocking soon enough and what better way to celebrate than snagging up an affordable ball, such as the Adidas Tropheo Chicago Fire Ball? The answer is there is no better way to celebrate. Although some might view this as a cheap soccer ball, the Adidas Tropheo Chicago Fire Ball is a surprisingly good quality ball for its starting price point of $19.99. I got to test it out and a few notable things popped out to me:

  • The overall look of the ball is unique in a great way. The ball is based off the infamous Jabulani ball used in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and it’s got a bit of the styling of that ball but Adidas made the ball very team specific to the Fire. The ball is mostly red all over, akin to the Fire jersey. The ball also has some light blue lines that surround certain areas of the ball and other features on the ball really stand out from the crowd. The ball is enhanced by having two Chicago Fire logos as well as some stylistic text reading “FIRE”. Finally the ball is brought into a full package with an Adidas logo, a Jabulani logo, and an official MLS logo closely put together. To ensure you are getting quality, the ball was packaged with stickers reading “Officially Licensed Product” with an MLS logo.
  • The ball held up really well in testing. The Adidas soccer ball uses a butyl bladder for terrific air retention. The ball is machine stitched so you know it’s done right and won’t fall apart on you in just a couple of outings. TPU casing and a nylon-wound carcass help provide the ball with immense durability and a soft touch so you know exactly where the ball will be going when you lay it off to your teammates. The ball was tested in all sorts of condition (snow, rain) and performed admirably.

Overall, the Chicago Fire ball is a terrific addition to your soccer ball collection if you are a fan of the franchise. It’s made of high quality materials and has a unique look that works well with the franchise.

Adidas New York Red Bull Tropheo Ball Review

The MLS season is fast approaching (hip hip hooray!) so Adidas has decided to release a collection of team soccer balls that are honestly pretty sweet looking. I got my hands on the Adidas New York Red Bull Tropheo ball and I’m pretty impressed.

For one, Adidas has coined the each ball as a “Match Ball Replica”, signifying that the ball is based off the same great features of the ball the professionals actually use in the MLS. The Red Bull soccer ball is no different. The ball is based off of the infamous Jabulani ball (love it or hate it, your choice), which is famous for its unpredictable trajectories. Through testing, I never found that the ball swerved or wobbled in mid-air like the original Word Cup ball. I was pleasantly surprised about this and enjoyed the fact that I could tell where the ball was going to land after lobbing up the ball for set pieces. That being said, the ball is high quality and has some notable features I’d like to highlight.

For one, the ball has a butyl bladder which helps the ball keep air so you don’t have to constantly pump air into it. Thumbs up to that feature. The ball also has a nylon wound carcass which helps the ball retain its soft touch. TPU construction also helps the ball maintain high durability standards set by Adidas, so the ball should last you a long time. During rigorous testing, I found no signs of wear or tear, even when kicking the ball around a warehouse at high velocities. All these features are great, but when I’m looking for a good soccer ball, I want it to not only perform to the highest standards but also look sexy. The Red Bull ball has that covered too, luckily.

The energy drink-sponsored club has borrowed some styling from the original Jabulani and put its own spin on it. 2 Red Bull logos, coupled with that famous Adidas logo, are prominently dispalyed on the ball and look quite professional flush against the main white coloring of the ball. The reds and yellows accent and pop against the white ball well and bring the product up to modern styling, something I’m a big fan of. Gray accent lines also make the logos and other emblems on the ball pop more. Overall, aesthetically pleasing, to say the least.

Overall, a terrific value ball. Adidas has made a sexy looking ball with high quality materials at a price nearly any fan of the MLS franchise should get their hands on.

Barcelona Mini Ball Review

With your permission, I’d like to regale you with a story from my childhood. When I was six, I lived down the street from a fellow soccer fanatic, so we naturally would play soccer every chance we had. When it got cold outside, we obviously had to move indoors, but we couldn’t use a regular sized ball. What did we do? We used a size 1 ball instead and made the field shorter. We took off the cushions from the couch in my parents’ basement and put them on the wall opposite the couch. The couch made one goal and the cushions another. From there, we used a mini ball, played on our knees and used our hands as substitute feet to hit the ball back and forth in a little game. I honestly think I played that game or some version of it from ages 6-10 or something. We had entirely too much fun with the game.

With that little story in mind, which I appreciate you reading, I should tell you about the Barcelona mini ball. Its stitching and patch pattern is the same as a regular soccer ball with hexagon and pentagon patches, and it has the same kind of inner bladder that regulation sized balls have. What makes this ball cool, though, is that it has alternating circles of maroon and navy, the team colors, which span around the ball. It also has the team crest on one patch, and, just below the crest, the Nike swoosh covers two patches in yellow with a gold outline. The center navy stripe also has an inner yellow line which has both FCB and “Més que un club” (More than a club) written on it. The ball is basically perfect for the little guys and girls who can’t play outside but still want to play something. It’s also great for fans of the team who want to add to their collection of fan support items. If you have the scarf, you could easily wrap it around the bottom of the ball and set it on your mantle. This ball is only $9.99, so it’s definitely a good purchase if you need to keep your kids’ playing needs met without getting your stuff broken; as I mentioned earlier, it would also be a great addition to your Barcelona gear, especially if you’re the superstitious kind—maybe it’ll be your lucky ball!

Written by: Kris Dyer, columnist, soccerprose.com

Nike Clube Ball Review

The Nike5 Rolinho Clube Futsal ball caught my attention when it first arrived at the shop while I was looking for another match or replica ball to put on the shop’s wall. I basically had a passing glance at it, so it didn’t register right away that it was a futsal ball. All I knew was that it was an eye-catching green which is a cross between lime and pea green, and that it had the same basic design as the other current balls in the Nike T90 lineup. However, today I finally decided to investigate further, and what I’ve discovered is that this ball should be taken into account for anyone and everyone needing a Futsal ball.

The panel construction on this ball is as standard as any other—32 panel construction with butyl bladder. What demarcates a Futsal ball from a regular ball is that it’s a little smaller, a little heavier and is much more resistant to bouncing. It’s definitely not like kicking a pillow as with other balls, but it’s also not like kicking a rock either. The Clube offers a sturdy, somewhat flexible ball that is perfect for a Futsal match, but it could just as easily be used in touch and feel training. As I mentioned earlier, the ball doesn’t have much bounce to it. After one bounce, the ball is pretty much deadened. Of course this should be expected from a Futsal ball, and this is exactly why I’d say it’s great for touch training, especially when trying to improve the first touch. I also noted previously that the ball is a cross between pea green and lime green with the same design as other T90 balls. The difference between those balls and this Futsal ball is that the broken circular patterns are filled with hexagons which get smaller from top bottom. The outer rings are a light blue while the center ring has white hexagons. Overall, it makes for a very noticeable ball, which is definitely necessary on Futsal hard courts. Each Clube ball costs $29.99, so if you need to pick one up for a match or team practice, it’s definitely affordable. In fact, a few guys were in the shop the other day, and they split the ball 3 ways, making cost pretty much insignificant. SoccerPro has plenty in stock, so head on by!

Written by: Kris Dyer, soccerprose.com

Select Grande Trainer Review

Every now and again, while tending to Ye Olde SoccerPro Shoppe, I look at the wall of soccer balls and think, “man, what if those were Texas sized?” Then I remember, we have a Texas sized ball right in the shop with the Select Grande Trainer ball! I bet three full size 5 balls could fit inside this bad boy, so long as you cut one ball in half and distribute it properly. When parents and kids come in the shop, both take notice of the ball. Kids think it’s cool because it’s awesomely huge, and parents dig it because it’s awesomely goofy. For me, it falls somewhere along that spectrum.

For the technical stuff, the ball has a PU casing and latex bladder construction and blahbity blahbity—it’s just as well constructed as any other ball, but Select had the cojones to make a ball brilliantly huge. Speaking of brilliant, the visual design of this ball is the same as the rest of Select’s Brilliant Super line. Each hexagonal plate is stitched together and is outlined by shapes that I can only describe as “Asteroid ships.” I mean the game, not the ship from the truly epic Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck cinematic masterpiece.

Do I think this ball would be great for dodgeball? Nope. Kids would be visiting the hospital too often. Is it great for four-square? I doubt it. It doesn’t bounce high enough or lend itself to being slapped very much. What do I suggest you do with this ball? Get a few friends together, and take it to the park. Spread really far apart, and then bomb this sucker to one another. You’ll definitely impress some fellow park-goers. Who knows, this soccer ball could be a soccer version of taking your puppy to the park. Sure, it’s $43.99 per ball, but can you really put a price on impressing people and potentially snagging a date? I don’t think so.

Written by: Kris Dyer, soccerprose.com


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