Why the Soccer Ball Bladder is so important?
One of the most important elements of a soccer ball to get right is the Bladder. The Bladder holds the air and it is the reason that soccer balls can be inflated. However, the bladder can effect the soccer ball in all different ways from air pressure, bounce of the ball, flight, shape and weight of the ball to name a few.
Fifa have strict rules on air pressure for Soccer Balls to be approved for Matches. They inflate Match Balls and leave them for 72 hours and the balls must not lose more than 25% of its pressure. This is the job of the Bladder.
As a general guideline inflation should be between 6-8 LBS or BAR which is equal to 8.7-11.6 PSI for a size 5 match ball or training ball and 4-6 LBS (5.8-8.7 PSI) for a Futsal Ball.
The Bladder is at the heart of every soccer ball, right in the middle and this is the part that holds the air so the ball can be inflated. There are 2 types of Soccer Ball Bladders, Latex and Butyl.
Latex Bladders - These Bladders are lighter and softer and you get a better feel on the ball with a Latex Bladder. They are a much higher quality and this is why they are commonly used with Match Balls. The main negative of this bladder is that they don't retain air very well and will need to be pumped regularly. They are finding solutions to this problem and at the moment some manufacturers are adding a butyl valve to the opening of the bladder to help retain air. There is a noticable different in air retention without affecting performace so if you are going for the higher quality balls make sure they have latex Bladder with Butyl Valve.
Butyl Bladder - This is a new and improved Bladder and is built for durability and to retain air for a long period of time. It is slightly heavier than the Latex Bladder and doesn't feel as nice but it will retain its shape better and hold air for up to 3 months in some cases. Ideal for training balls or balls that are going to be used continuously as they will last and last and last.
The Soccer Ball Guru