We’ve all heard those stories of grandad playing soccer with a rock, and legendary footballers kicking makeshift balls of twine and newspaper in their early days. But what if we could design the optimal ball for small-sided play, tailored to both pitch and player?
That’s where the founders of Urban Soccer Park and Senda Athletics came together and created the nation’s first Size 5 Low-Bounce Ball, optimized for the mini-pitch and developed for both short-sided and full-field players.
Using the correct size and type of ball is crucial for young athletes as they learn the game, and plays a major role in the overall enjoyment factor for any player. As two companies hyper-focused on quality and user experience, USP and Senda meticulously designed a football to enhance those very factors.
“I think it’s important not only from a physiological level but also from a confidence-building one,” said Senda Athletics Founder Santiago Halty who, along with elite coaches around the world, is a staunch proponent of providing the proper ball based on a player’s age, development goals, and the type of field they’re playing on.
The idea for USP’s Size 5 Low-Bounce Ball originated when Halty and USP Founder Josh Frazier regularly played 5v5 games in San Francisco with traditional size 4 futsal balls.
“Josh kind of talked a lot about how cool would it be if within the mini-pitch that we’re playing here you could have a size 5 ball so that your muscle memory when you go and you play outdoor then you don’t have to kind of get used to a size 4 ball versus a size 5 ball,” said Halty.
In the simplest terms, the USP Size 5 Low-Bounce Ball combines the dimension of a full-field ball with the weight of a small-sided one. As a result, you get the same control of a traditional futsal ball (less bounce), while allowing 11-a-side players to easily transition between the two formats.
“It’s also inspired by the way people play 7-a-side, or 9-a-side, or 11-a-side in Brazil,” said Halty. “A lot of people will play with the size 5 low-bounce ball [in Brazil], but it’s not easy to find in the U.S.”
True to USP’s high standards for quality, this ball features an abrasive resistant synthetic leather made to withstand intensive impact against turf and walls, and a bladder with just the right amount of recycled polyester to achieve the perfect weight. It also boasts a dimpled texture for enhanced sole control, a frequently used technique in small-sided spaces.
To arrive at this ideal balance, Halty and Frazier worked for a year on the weight and texture, getting feedback from real players and consumers.
“For us, we wanted to find that nice balance between having a durable ball but also the touch being really nice,” said Halty. “It took at least a year from the time you think about the specifications you want for the ball, you order it, you get the sample, you test it, you get the feedback from the players, then you go back and revisit it.”
Since its inception, Senda has filled a much-needed gap in U.S. soccer by providing a slate of multi-sized footballs, designed for different ages and field surfaces, year-round. Getting the details right is something USP also takes great pride in. That’s why we’re thrilled to partner with a company equally invested in player development and growing a strong football culture here in the U.S. Check out the USP Size 5 Low-Bounce Ball today and let us know what you think!