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[Phys-L] angular momentum

I am finding I have some questions about conservation of angular momentum that I hadn't considered in the past. If I am investigating the angular momentum of a soccer ball about a point, is angular momentum only conserved if the ball is orbiting about the center of a circular path or a foci of an ellipse? Certainly a ball traveling directly west across a field does not have its angular momentum conserved.
I am completely excluding the idea of impulse, torques, and isolated systems at this point. I just found I haven't thought about this aspect before.
Thanks for your thoughts.