Lynchburg, VA -
If you've never heard of the word "Brazuca" before, you're probably not alone.
Over the course of the next month, however, you will hear that term a LOT. "Brazuca" is the name for the new type of soccer ball that is being debuted at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It's a ball that has been designed to perform better than the ball used just 4 years ago in South Africa. John Franco-Greco from Blue Ridge Soccer and Sports says that the brightly colored ball is designed to represent the Brazilian flair of playing, or as he calls it, "their 'Salsa-style of play".
While the outside of the ball is flashy, it's the design and science behind the ball that is the most impressive. John Eric Goff, a professor of physics at Lynchburg College, studied with researchers from Japan, to learn more about how the ball was created, and the effect it could have on the World Cup. According to Goff, the new Brazuca Ball's design, with far fewer fabric panels, make the ball smoother and more aerodynamic, preventing the 'knuckle ball' effect fans complained about in 2010.
With 6 panels of material, down from the traditional 32 in a typical soccer ball, the Brazuca will fly farther and higher than before. For instance, striking a shot from 20 yards out at 45 miles per hour, the Brazuca ball would fly about a foot higher than the ball used in 2010. For a team that relies more on speed and accuracy, rather than brute strength, the new ball would give a slight advantage.
For fans hoping to get their hands on an authentic Brazuca ball.....good luck! John Franco-Greco at Blue Ridge Soccer says that while the Brazuca retails for around $160, Adidas is backlogged with orders, as the worldwide demand has been overwhelming. Here's hoping fans keep their eye on the game...and the ball.