Not surprisingly, most of the soccer gifts I’ve received over the holidays since I was a young child have been soccer-related. As I’ve gotten older, they may have morphed from toys to video games to books, but it’s very rare that something soccer-related isn’t under the tree every year.

If I had to pick one soccer gift I’ve received which was my favorite, it has to be the leather ball I received when I was nine years old. It was the old-fashioned ball with black-and-white panels. It may have been the same model as the one pictured at right, which was used in the 1974 World Cup .But what I remember about it was the beautiful way it rolled across the grass, but also how heavy the ball became when it was wet. When it got in that state, the last thing you wanted to do was head the ball because it felt like a lead weight.

That one ball brought me and my friends hundreds of hours of entertainment, playing it on the grass at my local playground. We used jumpers as goalposts, and scored some spectacular goals those years. I miss that ball.

What about you? What’s the best soccer gift you’ve ever received? Share your personal stories in the comments section below.