This is the first part of an eight part series where I conduct reviews on some of the soccer balls I have acquired over the years. In this edition, I review the Adidas MLS Nativo Training Ball which uses the same template as the Adidas Telstar 18 ball used at the World Cup in Russia.
As part of a special offer from Adidas taking place in the fall of 2018 that allowed me to get 50% off any ball under $100, I decided to purchase two of these MLS Training Balls as the deal meant they both would only cost me $20 a piece. I got them in the mail a week after I ordered them and immediately went to the local soccer field that evening to test them out.
Overall, the first impressions were good and it was nice to be able to shoot the ball at full power and have the ball respond appropriately. For comparison, in the months before, I had been using low-end balls that went bad after a month of use and also caused me to wonder how much ability I had lost as a player which is never a good thing.
Unfortunately, the week after these balls came in, a Category 5 Hurricane (Hurricane Michael) came through and hit the town I live in destroying nearly everything in an intense 4-hour flurry of 150 mph winds. Thankfully, I managed to keep the soccer balls safe from harm along with most other things in the household. However, the destruction bought on by the storm essentially meant it would be a few months until I could get back to normal life again.
After a month or so of clearing out trees, metal objects, various other items, and getting the fence replaced, my backyard was free enough to kick the ball around in again. Although the surface was not in great condition, there was not really anything else to do for about a 2 to 3 month span on the side of town I live in (there still is not actually) but to kick the ball around. As I was not in school that particular semester, that meant I had a lot of time at night to practice using these soccer balls much to the chagrin of my neighbors whose feelings I could have cared less about given our families history with each other.
Most of these nights spent with this ball involved myself either attempting to break my juggling record or learning to how hit a knuckle ball. With my tennis shoes, I was fairly successful in both of these endeavors particularly the latter. Despite the new fence being up for less than a month, I had managed to break somewhere between 5-10 fence posts after hundreds of free-kick attempts. On the knuckle balls, I was able to get a notable side-to-side swerve and dip on the ball that I had been aiming for despite having around 25 yards at most to use. It is amazing how much power one can get striking the ball using this particular technique even though it feels at times you have barely touched the ball.
Overall, I would say that this ball is very much worth the purchase. Quality wise, it is in the tier below that of official match balls. It may not be as durable or have the same levels of optimization of those types, but it still is a satisfying ball to use for most people I would imagine. It is no exaggeration when I say I would be hard-pressed to come up with any legitimate criticisms of this ball relative to expectations.
My final rating of the Adidas MLS Nativo Training Ball: 4.5/5 stars.
To learn more about & possibly purchase this ball click on the link below