How To Deflate A Soccer Ball

Soccer balls work best when they’re pumped full of air into a perfectly spherical shape. However, this makes them pretty difficult to travel with, especially if you want to pack one into your bag or suitcase.

A deflated soccer ball is much easier to pack among your other soccer equipment and uniform, making it much easier to travel with everything you need to perform at your best. So, how do you do it?

In this article, we’ll explain the simple step-by-step process of deflating a soccer ball.

Method 1: Ball Pump Needle

Surprisingly, you can use your ball pump to put more air into your soccer ball, as well as take the air out! You may need to disassemble the pump because this method will only work with the needle, on its own.

Start by wetting the needle to lubricate it. You can do this simply by licking your fingers and rubbing your saliva onto the needle. Alternatively, a more hygienic approach is to dip it into some soap or water.

Then, slowly slide the needle into the air valve on your soccer ball. The air valve should be pretty easy to locate; it’s just a small hole on one of the panels of your soccer ball, not on any of the stitching seams.

Sticking the needle into the valve like this creates a clear path for air to travel through, in either direction. To deflate the ball, simply squeeze it so that the air travels out of the ball, through the needle.

To make sure it’s working, place your hand over the needle to feel the air escaping or simply listen for the sound it makes. If you can’t feel or hear the air leaving the ball, it might be because the needle isn’t inserted all the way or that the internal bladder of the ball has come loose.

If the bladder has come loose, you’ll need to shake the ball around a little to try and re-align it with the air valve. Do this with the valve pointing straight down to get it to align properly. Then, try inserting the needle again and listen out for the air escaping.

You can purchase packs of needles if you have lost yours. Ball Pump Needles

Method 2: Without Using A Pump

Not everybody has an air pump laying around. Maybe yours has broken or you have lost the needle. Even if you don’t have a specially-designed needle, there are other things you can use to get the air out of your soccer ball. A paperclip makes for a good substitute in this situation and it works pretty much the same way as a proper pump needle.

Start by straightening out your paper clip, then lubricate it the same way as you would with a pump needle. Now, you can slowly insert the paper clip into your air valve- again, just like you would with a needle.

The only difference is that because there’s no hole running through the center of a paper clip, you’ll need to allow the air to escape another way. Simply push the paper clip gently to one side to create a space for air to escape through. The rest of the process is exactly the same: squeeze the ball until enough air has escaped for you to pack it away nicely.

Of course, you can also use any number of other items that have the same shape. A hairpin or sewing needle will work just fine so you should always be able to find something in a pinch. If you are using a sewing needle, be careful not to damage the side of the air valve.

A deflated soccer ball - adidas MLS Capitano Soccer Ball deflated

Method 3: Without Using A Needle

If you find yourself without a ball pump or any kind of needle, there is still another method you can use that involves a little science. Don’t worry, though, we won’t be getting too technical here! All you need is a refrigerator and a cloth or dish towel.

First, you should clean off your soccer ball to make sure there’s no dirt or mud still stuck to the surface. This is because the next step is to place the ball in your fridge. Clear enough space in the fridge to fit the ball inside and make sure it isn’t touching any of your food. To ensure that you’re staying hygienic, place your cloth or dish towel underneath the soccer ball and you won’t have to worry about cleaning the shelf afterward.

This trick works because air naturally condenses when it is cold, but expands when it’s hot. Therefore, when you leave your soccer ball in the fridge overnight, the air inside it will condense, causing the ball to shrink and deflate.

If you leave the ball inside your fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight, you should find that it has deflated fully. If you only need to deflate it a little, keep checking on your ball every hour until it’s at your desired level of pressure.

Tips To Remember While Deflating Your Soccer Ball

Now that we’ve gone over the top three methods for deflating a soccer ball, let’s go over some of the other things you should bear in mind to make sure you don’t damage the ball or hurt yourself.

  • First and foremost, be careful when inserting a needle into your soccer ball. All soccer balls have an internal bladder which is essential for holding them together and making sure it works properly.
  • If you jam a needle in too hard and too deep, you could end up puncturing the bladder and your ball won’t work.
  • Similarly, be careful with how you squeeze the ball to let the air out. Using your hands or hugging the ball is a good way to get the air out.
  • Standing or kneeling on the ball will also work but you should be careful while doing this. Don’t force too much pressure on the ball or you could end up damaging it.

Final Thoughts

There you have it: everything you need to know about deflating a soccer ball. Next time you’re traveling with your soccer equipment and need to create space for your ball, bear these tips in mind and your packing will be a whole lot easier!


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