The new Jabulani ball by adidas has been a hot topic of conversation at the 2010 World Cup. Jabulani means "to celebrate" in Zulu, and the ball is the 11th World Cup ball made by adidas. The ball features new technology that makes it easier to grip, giving players more control and accuracy than ever before.
But besides the buzzing of tens of thousands of vuvuzelas, the Jabulani has been one of the most frequently discussed topics of World Cup talk. Some players have had trouble adjusting to the new technology while others have noticed no difference at all.
The MLS has been using the Jabulani since the start of the 2010 season. Here is what some FC Dallas players had to say about the new ball:
Atiba Harris, Midfielder/Forward (St. Peters, St. Kitts)
It does move a lot like when you shoot. Goalies don’t like the balls that move a lot. Just hit it and hopefully, you know it’s going to move on the goalie, so once you get it on center, obviously the goalies not going to like it.
Zach Loyd, Defender/Midfielder (Tulsa, Okla.)
You can tell the difference whenever you’re hitting long balls and stuff. This ball definitely tends to knuckle more. It has a lot more movement than a regular college ball. There’s a pretty big difference actually, but just like anything, you have to adjust to it, so it doesn’t bother me.
George John, Defender (Shoreline, Wash.)
That’s funny, we were just talking about that today and joking around in the locker room. I don’t notice a difference. I don’t know if I’m not good enough to know the difference (laughs). As a defender, I’m not on the ball as much as a lot of the other guys but I know the keepers talk about it a lot. Personally, you see some things, but for me it hasn’t really made a big difference in the game. It’s definitely a level playing field. The ball’s round, the field’s flat, everybody’s playing with the same ball. It might be different than what other leagues use around the world, but I’m sure there’s always a different variable when it comes to the ball. If it affects the game it affects the game, unfortunately.
Dario Sala, Goalkeeper (Cordoba, Argentina)
They say the Jabulani makes the bad goalkeeper look good and the decent goalkeeper look really bad, but we’ve been playing with this ball for the whole season. We saw many bad goals and we suffered as well. I suffered with the movement of the ball, the touching, the trajectory, I suffered that too. It’s part of the game. It’s a little salt and pepper that they’ve put in the game and it’s fun. We suffered because we are the people who get affected the most, but it’s part of the game.
Kevin Hartman, Goalkeeper (Athens, Ohio)
It’s a ball that takes some getting used to. I think when I first arrived into camp it took me a few weeks to be able to deal with it as effectively as I’d like to. It has some movements that you really have to get used to.
Check out our own giant version of the Jabulani being used at halftime of a recent FC Dallas game: