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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Come to the Bold Today’s Show. I’m your host J.D. Houvener, where you get your daily dose of inspiration to make the world a better place. Hey, we’re in part three of our series talking about the soccer ball. We’re doing this in the spirit of the World Cup. If any of you are out there who maybe haven’t watched the World Cup before, that’s the soccer game that nations from all around the world are competing in a tournament. So we’re going to celebrate that this week by talking about the soccer ball and the actual innovations and inventions that go into moving that one particular product and sports article into the present day.

So we start out this week talking about the way back, you know how it started out in medieval times even before that in ancient China. And now last week, we talked just about the original creation, you know, the Goodyear, the vulcanized rubber. And now I want to share with you a really cool photograph because as many inventions, you know, as this happens, we get to a point where, okay, we’ve got what it is, you know, and you’re making all these little incremental improvements over time. But on the grand scale, look at this photo here of the soccer balls that were used in World Cup competitions from 1974 all the way through 2014. Looks like a soccer ball, I mean, at the high level, right? I mean, they all basically look the same. They’re using a lot of the same materials. But we’ve got to take a closer look to see because unbelievably there were hundreds of patents that span this 40 to 50 year lifetime that we’re diving into a couple of examples.

In 1987, one of the very first waterproof soccer balls was put into place because there were different parts of substance being used in the stitching. They put actually a little bit of polyurethane covering over the ball and combined that it was able to get it to adhere to the surface. So they would build a play in the rain, and the ball wouldn’t get soggy.

And then later in 2018, you know, you can see there’s actually a different pan that come into a soccer ball. There’s sort of this common pentagon, and there’s about, you know, 30 different pentagons as they go around the surface of the ball. Well, in Telstar 18, there was an amazing design put up by German engineers where they actually only have six panels on the whole ball. There’s sort of this elongated figure eight shape, and they’re overlaid in a symmetrical fashion such that there were only six or so panels limiting the amount of stitching that would go into each different layer. The idea was that the fewer seams that go on the soccer ball, the less chance there is for the ball to be, you know, kicked. And as the foot hits the seam, the ball would actually travel in a little bit of a different direction than if it’s a smooth surface. It’s going to have a more true trajectory, right, as that ball moves in the air and travels on the ground and rolls. So the idea was fewer seams, better trajectory, better control.

And there’s lots of other innovations on top of that. You know, the newer balls, you know, that are just now being used in the World Cup in 2018, they’ve got a really nice soft surface for easy control. They put in actually a foam substance that sits below the top layer so that has a little bit of a softer feel. It allows for the ball to travel really, really well. It actually gets more response on a spin much like a golf shot has a response on for golf balls. Soccer balls are no different. Lots of innovation, as you can see that we progressed. At first glance, there’s not that much change over time. But when you dive deep around the materials and the substance, it’s incredible how far we’ve come.

I’m your host J.D. Houvener of the Bold Today Show. I hope you all had a great time tuning in today. Have a good day. Go big, go bold.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at