Soccer Ball Symmetry

David Swart
Proceedings of Bridges 2015: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2015)
Pages 151–158 Regular Papers


Among the most recognizable sport ball designs are soccer balls with twelve black pentagons and twenty white hexagons. However, soccer ball manufacturers are now exploring a wide variety of new patterns for both their panel designs and graphics. This paper surveys many existing soccer ball designs; it hopes to show how varied they have become and suggests that these designs may serve as an inspiration for other spherical art. Also, this paper promotes modern soccer balls as ideal toy examples to learn and teach various branches of spherical mathematics such as spherical symmetry, group theory, and tessellations.