How Many Hexagons Are on a Soccer Ball?

The cover of a traditional soccer ball is made up of a pattern of 20 white hexagons and 12 black pentagons. In mathematics, the shape is known as spherical truncated icosahedron.

Soccer balls use the same pattern of hexagons and pentagons as the truncated icosahedron, but they are spherical because of the elasticity of the cover and the pressure of the air inside. Early soccer balls were made of leather patches sewn up with laces in a variety of patterns. The truncated icosahedron ball was introduced in 1970 by Adidas. It was called Telstar in honor of its resemblance to the satellite of the same name. The pattern of black and white shapes helps players read the spin of the ball in flight.