Adidas unveils Brazuca ball for World Cup in Brazil
April 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
When the USA scores goals in the World Cup next summer, the Brazuca is the ball the team will be putting in the back of the net.
Adidas unveiled the Brazuca match ball Tuesday during a flashy event, complete with a light show, in Rio de Janeiro. The Brazuca will be used in every game during the World Cup in Brazil, where the tournament will be held June 12 to July 13.
The ball is composed of six interlocking symmetrical panels, made of a polyurethane casing material, surrounding a latex bladder.
When designing the ball, the company faced a problem. To reduce the ball’s weight, the designers wanted to reduce the number of panels, because less stitching connecting the panels makes it lighter.
But having fewer panels reduces the number of seams, and with fewer seams the ball can fly more erratically, much like a knuckleball.
To address the problem, Adidas designers shaped the panels much like a series of interconnected boomerangs. This allowed them to have six panels but still plenty of seams, with the hope that the ball flies truer.
Adidas faced criticism from players and coaches during the 2010 World Cup for its Jabulani ball, which had fewer, shallower seams and was extremely light.
Many players, especially goalkeepers, said the ball’s flight path was impossible to predict. Nigerian midfielder Dickson Etuhu called the Jabulani the worst ball ever after his team lost to Argentina.
To stem criticism this time, Adidas showed the ball to 600 of the world’s top players ahead of time, a third of whom were not Adidas-contracted players. The company interviewed the players about the ball’s performance.
Adidas also secretly tested the ball in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup (with a different design) and in an exhibition game between Sweden and Argentina in February.
Speaking with news media before the ball’s release, Antonio Zea, the innovation director of Adidas Soccer, emphasized the importance of making sure it exhibited a stable flight through the air.
“The most important thing for us is really focusing on athletes’ insights,” Zea said. “Approaching it from a technological perspective as well and taking advantage of the panel shape to create better aerodynamics and a more stable flight.”
The company also went through extensive testing in Brazil, making sure the ball could handle the country’s different climates.