Best Size 3 Soccer Ball for Kids Age 5-8 | Buying Guide

Size 3 soccer balls are a great size to introduce your kids to the beautiful game. It is also the size that many leagues and youth soccer programs start with. We looked at some inexpensive and best quality size 3 soccer balls to help you choose which ball is best for your young player.

Who is the Size 3 Soccer Ball For?

Size 3 balls are made for 5-year-olds to 8-year-olds and for U6 – U8 teams. In many youth and rec leagues in the US their first age group is U6. So kids start with this size for their match ball, for league games, and for practices. It is smaller than a size 4 which is easier for this age group to maneuver. The size 3 is also light enough that it won’t cause injury to your beginner’s developing legs. This will help the young players gain confidence and develop their skills.

This article is an extension of our previous post: What Size Soccer Ball is Best by Age? If you’re looking for a player that is not 5-8 years old, check it out.

Size 3 Soccer Ball23 – 24 inches300 – 320 grams5 – 8 years old

In our evaluation, I had my son help since this is the size soccer ball he currently plays with. So you will see two ratings throughout the review. One from adults (senior players as my son says, ha) and one from a youth player, my son’s ratings.

What Makes a Good Size 3 Soccer Ball?

We looked at a lot of balls. Really, SO many! Then we chose 5 to spend more time with and really get to know how they hold up to actual playing conditions. We lived with the balls for over 2 months in order to get a real understanding of what each ball was like. We looked for affordable soccer balls. They needed to be sturdy, not too hard (we didn’t want to hurt those little feet), and that generally to feel good on the foot. 

We decided to review inexpensive balls because let’s face it, most parents that are introducing their children to the sport, are not going to drop $100 on a football. The size 3 ball will probably only be used for 2-3 years and who knows… Maybe it turns out your child does not like soccer. We looked for a balance of quality and affordability. 

Actually, we have found that most parents don’t want to spend $50 or even $25 on a ball for a 5-year-old or 6-year-old. So we tried to keep the price of each ball we reviewed under $20. 

So just to recap our criteria was:

  • Inexpensive: $20 or less.
  • They needed to be sturdy, kids between 5-8 can be hard on soccer balls: Kicking them in the street, kicking them against walls, trees, sitting on them, throwing them in water. You’d be surprised!
  • Not too hard: We didn’t want to hurt those little feet. 
  • Balls that generally feel good on the foot.

Unboxing the Balls.

We found that for some reason people were very upset if they received a ball that wasn’t inflated. Many reviewers gave poor ratings on the major retail sites, based solely on this. But really shipping a ball that is not inflated is normal. It saves on shipping costs and also warehousing space if the soccer balls are more compact when ready to ship. 

The first thing we did when we received the balls was to check out the packaging and how they were shipped. Only two of the balls came inflated. The Nike NK Pitch Team Ball and the Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball. 

Nike Pitch Team Size 3 Soccer Ball
Nike Pitch Team Size 3 Soccer Ball
Wilson Traditional Size 3 Soccer Ball
Wilson Traditional Size 3 Soccer Ball

The other 3 balls we tested all came deflated.

Dinosaur Size 3 Soccer Ball deflated
Dinosaur Size 3 Soccer Ball
adidas MLS Capitano Size 3 Soccer Ball deflated
adidas MLS Capitano Size 3 Soccer Ball

Daball The Fox Kid and Toddler Size 3 Soccer Ball

As an extra bonus, the two “off-brand” balls both came with a pump! My son was able to easily use the pumps to pump up the balls. In fact, he used the pumps on all his balls.

adidas MLS Capitano Soccer Ball with creases

The only ball that was visibly negatively affected by being deflated was the adidas ball. After fully filling the ball with air it showed creases on the panels where they were bent.

How Did We Review the Balls?

We created a checklist for our review. We had 6 criteria then we looked at which ball we like the best overall. 


  • Style: The style of the ball. Or in my son’s words. “The coolest.”
  • Best Control: How easy was the ball to control when dribbling or moving the ball. 
  • Best for Shooting: Which ball was the best for shooting goals. 
  • Sturdiest Ball: Which ball held up the best to regular play and that we expect will last the longest.
  • Hard vs Soft: Here we rated which ball felt the softest to the hardest.
  • Weight: This isn’t just how much each ball weighs, but how it feels on the foot. For example, when you trap the ball does it seem heavy or light like a balloon. 

Ok, let’s jump into the reviews. 

1. Size 3 Soccer Ball With The Best Style (The Coolest)

This one surprised me a bit. I chose the Fox ball as the best style but my son chose the adidas Capitano Soccer Ball. He actually rated the Fox ball as #4. I figured the Fox design would be a clear winner for him. None the less you can see our ratings below. 

Best StyleFox Soccer BallAdidas CapitanoNike PitchWilson TraditionalDino Soccer Ball
Youth Player Rating41352
Adult Player Rating12453
Size 3 Soccer Ball with the Best Style

2. Size 3 Soccer Ball With the Best Control

The way we determined this rating was to try dribbling each ball. Was the ball easy to control when you try tricks and turns? How easy is it to settle the ball when you received a pass? Plus, how does the ball feel in regular gameplay?

The winners for best control were the Fox Ball and the Adidas Capitano. 

As an adult playing with a size 3, the balls feel light already, but the Fox ball felt extremely light to me and I could never trap it or dribble it very well. It just kept getting away from me. And trapping the ball was a nightmare. I felt like I was playing with a balloon. The Nike ball was in 4th place for me because it was also very light. Actually, almost every time I’ve used a Nike ball of any size, they feel light to me. The ball that I had the best control with was the adidas Capitano. This one felt the most like a full-size ball that I’m used to playing with. 

My son’s ratings were very different from mine. He picked the Fox ball as his favorite for control. He like that it was easier to move and he was able to control it better than me. Now almost every time we play 1v1 in the backyard he wants to play with this one. Haha! He did however choose the adidas Capitano as his #2

Best ControlFox Soccer BallAdidas CapitanoNike PitchWilson TraditionalDino Soccer Ball
Youth Player Rating12543
Adult Player Rating51423
Best Size 3 Soccer Ball for Control

3. Size 3 Soccer Ball That is Best for Shooting

Choosing the ball that is best for shooting was a fun one. My son picked the Fox ball because it was the easiest to flick up so he could volley it out of the air. Actually, I was quite impressed with him that he was able to take a shot like that at his age! 

My favorite was the Adidas Capitano again because it just felt like there was some meat on it. The Fox and Nike balls felt like I was kicking through a balloon instead of kicking a soccer ball. My shots then either went over the top or bent in some weird way I hadn’t planned. 

Best For ShootingFox Soccer BallAdidas CapitanoNike PitchWilson TraditionalDino Soccer Ball
Youth Player Rating13542
Adult Player Rating51423
Best Size 3 Soccer Ball for Shooting

4. The Sturdiest Size 3 Soccer Ball

The criteria for judging the sturdiest ball was pretty straightforward. We spent a couple of months using the balls, so we were able to see how they lasted over a longer period of time. 

We saw minor scuffs on all the balls. Some of the threads started coming off on the Dino ball and the Fox ball. Some of the painted features such as the footprints on the Fox ball and the dinosaurs on the Dino ball were starting to scuff or rub off. Plus, there was wear showing on the corners of the panels on these balls. 

The Nike ball had some scuffs as well. We also discovered a crease that must have been leftover from when it was shipped. We hadn’t noticed it before. The Capitano seemed to have handled the regular wear and tear better than most of the other balls but still had the creases as well from when it was deflated for shipping. For this reason, I rated it as #2 for this category. 

That last thing we did was to try to predict which ball would last the longest based on the current wear and tear. My number one pick for the ball that would last the longest was the Traditional Wilson ball because the synthetic material holds up much better than a true leather ball or some of the other man-made materials. 

Sturdiest BallFox Soccer BallAdidas CapitanoNike PitchWilson TraditionalDino Soccer Ball
Youth Player Rating21453
Adult Player Rating52314
Studies Size 3 Soccer Ball

5. The Hardest Size 3 Soccer Ball vs The Softest 

As our fifth criteria, we ranked the balls from hardest to softest. 1 was the hardest and 5 was the softest. 

We both agreed on the two softest balls. The Fox was the softest and the adidas Capitano was the 2nd softest. The adidas ball is heavier but the extra foam material under the surface makes the ball feel softer on the foot. 

I chose the Dino Ball as the hardest and my son rated the Wilson Traditional Ball as the hardest.  Both of these tend to be harder since because they are synthetic leather soccer balls. However, the Wilson proved to be more durable than the Dino Ball.  

Hardest vs. Softest
Fox Soccer BallAdidas CapitanoNike PitchWilson TraditionalDino Soccer Ball
Youth Player Rating54213
Adult Player Rating54321
Hardest vs. Softest Size 3 Soccer Ball

6. The Weight: What Felt the Best On the Foot

This is more about how the ball feels on the foot, not the actual weight of the ball. For example, when you trap the ball does it feel like rock or a balloon? How does it feel to lift the ball? 

My son and I had differences in preference for this criteria. For me it is more important to have a ball with some weight to it otherwise it tends to get away from me. For my son, he prefers the lighter balls because they are easier for him to kick and are not as heavy on his young legs. 

Our ratings were based on 1 = the lightest and 5 = the heaviest.

Fox Soccer BallAdidas CapitanoNike PitchWilson TraditionalDino Soccer Ball
Youth Player Rating14253
Adult Player Rating15243
Hardest vs. Softest Size 3 Soccer Ball

Size 3 Soccer Ball Reviews

Dinosaur Soccer Ball Outdoor

Dinosaur size 3 Soccer Ball
Dinosaur Size 3 Soccer Ball

The Dinosaur Soccer Ball from CubicFun is not a major brand-name ball, but it can still be a good choice for kids. It is a solid middle-of-the-road choice in terms of performance, but the cool dinosaur design is sure to be a favorite with your young player. Although it might be a better gift for the younger end of the Size 3 age range: ages 5-6. 

Since it is a lesser-known brand, it won’t hurt your wallet as much either. The drawback of a cheaper ball can be the quality of the materials. For most of our ratings, it was the middle of the road.

Average ratings

Adult Player Average Rating = 2.8
Youth Player Average Rating = 2.6

Material: Faux Leather


  • Cool design that young kids will love.
  • An inexpensive option.
  • The artificial leather may hold up better on hard surfaces.
  • Comes with a ball pump and mesh ball bag.


  • Stitching started to come out after just 2 months. 
  • Tends to be a bit hard.
  • The quality of the materials is not a good as the other balls which makes it a bit hard.
  • Comes deflated.

Daball The Fox Soccer Ball

Daball The Fox Size 3 Soccer Ball and pump
Daball The Fox Size 3 Soccer Ball

The Fox of the Daball Toddler Soccer ball is also a ball with a cute design that your kid will love. They do tend to be a bit smaller and lighter than most other Size 3 balls, so they are best suited for toddlers and ages 5-6 year-olds. My son loves this ball. He likes that he can control it better than dad. HA!  He also said it would be a good ball for his younger toddler sister to start playing with.

Adult Player Average Rating = 4.2
Youth Player Average Rating = 2.6

Material: TPU


  • Young players love the design
  • Great for younger kids (toddlers and young end of Size 3 range) because it is lightweight
  • Comes with a ball pump


  • Very light. Older kids may have trouble controlling it.
  • Stitching started coming out after just 2 months. 
  • Already saw wear on panels after only 2 months
  • Comes deflated.

adidas Capitano Soccer Ball – MLS

adidas MLS Capitano size 3 Soccer Ball
adidas Capitano Size 3 Soccer Ball

The adidas Capitano was the most expensive ball we evaluated, it just hit the $20 range that we set as our upper limit. Although you can often find them on sale. The adidas as the manufacturer and MLS branding both make it a premium ball.

Out of the 5 soccer balls we reviewed, the feel is the closest to an adult full-size ball. I was able to dribble, trap, and general control this ball the best. But I’m also not the target for this size ball.

My son found it heavier than The Fox ball but still enjoyed playing with it. He rated it in second place for best control.

Unfortunately, after two months of use, the creases from when it was shipped are still evident. I believe this is because of the material the ball has what feels like foam under paneling that makes it feel firmer but not hard.

Adult Player Average Rating = 1.8
Youth Player Average Rating = 2.2

Material: Synthetic


  • A variety of styles so you can certainly find one that you really like. 
  • The weight and feel of the ball make it feel like a premium ball.
  • Good value for money. 
  • Best for older kids (7-8 year olds) than the other balls we reviewed.


  • Comes deflated which left creases on the ball.
  • Might be too heavy for younger players.
  • Most expensive of the 5 balls we reviewed. 
  • Comes deflated.

Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball

Wilson Traditional Size 3 Soccer Ball
Wilson Traditional Size 3 Soccer Ball

We decided to review the Wilson Traditional Socer Ball because of its long history and with a 4.7 or of 5 stars on retail sites, it is always a crowd-pleaser. What I do find strange though is that Wilson Sporting Goods currently doesn’t sell the ball on their website. Although you can find it on online stores like Amazon. 

This is a ball is a great inexpensive choice for kids that are starting out with soccer and maybe they aren’t sure if they really like the sport. Also good for a practice ball and backyard play. It is not flashy, but it is durable. My son was not very interested in it mostly because the styling wasn’t more exciting. He rated it fifth in the style category.

Adult Player Average Rating = 3
Youth Player Average Rating = 3.8

Material: Synthetic leather


  • Inexpensive.
  • Has a long history of happy customers.
  • High durability.
  • Comes inflated.


  • It is one of the harder soccer balls.
  • The traditional design is not very exciting for kids.
  • Because it is harder younger players may find it hard to shoot.

Nike Pitch Team Ball

Nike Pitch Team Size 3 Soccer Ball
Nike Pitch Team Size 3 Soccer Ball

The Nike Pitch Team soccer ball is a good-looking ball and my son liked the design as well. I found it to be very light. My son also didn’t like the way the ball felt and found it harder to control than the other balls. He rated it a 5 for both “Best Control” and “Best for Shooting.”

It does however get high reviews based on the weight and feel of the ball. It seems to come down to preference. If you prefer a lighter ball then it is a good choice for you. My preference is a ball that is more substantial. 

In the 2 months we played with it, it seemed to hold up ok. There were some visible scuffs, but I think the long-term durability will be average. 

Adult Player Average Rating = 3.6
Youth Player Average Rating = 3.8

Material: Synthetic TPU


  • If you prefer a lighter ball this is a good choice for you.
  • Good for younger players because it is lightweight and soft.
  • Nice basic design. 
  • Comes inflated.


  • On the lighter side, so it may be too light for your preference.
  • Durability is average.
  • I found it harder to control.

Conclusion The Best Size 3 Soccer Ball: The Winner Is…

In the end, both my son and I agreed on our top pick for the size 3 soccer ball. We both chose the adidas Capitano.

adidas MLS Capitano size 3 Soccer Ball
Our Favorite Size 3 Soccer Ball
Overall Size 3 Soccer Ball RankingFox Soccer BallAdidas CapitanoNike PitchWilson TraditionalDino Soccer Ball
Youth Player Rating21453
Adult Player Rating41523
Overall Size 3 Soccer Ball Ranking

For me, it checked all the boxes. It was the best for control, trapping, dribbling, and shooting. The extra padded layer gives it softer touch but a great spring when you kick it. I thought it felt like the most grown-up soccer ball of the 5 we reviewed. Even though there are still some creases on the ball from being deflated when shipped, I think they will disappear over time.

My son chose the Capitano as his overall best ball. He thought the design of the MLS version was the best of the balls we rated and found it to be the sturdiest. But he did prefer The Fox ball for shooting and dribbling because it was lighter than the others. He liked how easy it was to lift and then shoot and that he could control it better than dad. 

The quality and because it is a replica of the balls used in the MLS, it also was the most expensive ball and put it at the top of our price range, but you can often find them on sale.

We hope this article has helped you make the decision for what size 3 soccer ball is best for you. Feel free to comment of hit us up on our social media channels if you have any questions.

Bryan Coe

Bryan Coe

Bryan is the founder of The Soccer Handbook. He has been playing soccer since he was 8 years old, continues to play, and has also done his share of volunteer coaching over the years. Bryan’s mission is to help coaches coach better and help people enjoy the beautiful game throughout their lives.


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