February 16, 2016

Included in the U.S. Soccer Concussion Initiative are specific changes to rules on heading for certain age groups. Those changes included:

Eliminating heading for children 10 and under
- Please note that U11 is listed in the U.S. Soccer Concussion Initiative document because U11 players can be 10 years old at the beginning of the season

Therefore because of the concerns for the safety of younger players, beyond the limitations of the laws of the game, the SLYSA League will follow the new rules not allow players ages 10 (U11 teams) and below to head the ball during games as of the Spring 2016 season.

“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. If a player does not deliberately head the ball, then play should continue.”

Referees must understand that heading the ball is NOT a violation of the laws of the game, so no criteria associated with fouls or infractions of the laws, should be applied to this violation of league safety requirements except those mentioned above.

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