Players in U-11 Programs and Younger Banned From Heading in Games and Practices
In the strongest move yet to combat the potential perils of heading among very young players, US Club Soccer has clarified its new safety rules which go into immediate effect for clubs across the country.
Players in U-11 programs and younger should no longer engage in heading, either in practices or in games.
Limited heading in practice for players in U-12 and U-13 programs will be permitted. More specifically, these players shall be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes of heading training per week, with no more than 15-20 headers per player, per week.
Clubs should be aware of circumstances in which individual consideration is needed. For example:
- A 10 year old playing at U-12 or older should not head the ball at all.
- An 11 or 12 year old playing at U-14 or older should abide by the heading restrictions in practice.
Referees should enforce these restrictions by age group according to the specified rules. Referees will not be assessing the age of individual players on the field; they will enforce the rules for the age group.
Leagues and organizations are free to set their own standards, as long as the minimum requirements outlined above are met.
In adherence to these new requirements, referees have been instructed by U.S. Soccer of the following rule addition: When a player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect free kick (IFK) should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense. If the deliberate header occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred.
Cal South will be implementing the new rules immediately.
Modified substitution rules also took effect Jan. 1, 2016, as follows: Any player suspected of suffering a head injury may be substituted for evaluation without the substitution counting against the teams total number of allowed substitutions during the game.
US Club Soccer strongly recommends that all coaches, staff members, parents and players watch U.S. Soccer's concussions in soccer overview video. The link is here:
There are more details of the program here: