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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 30139

League Specific 2/22/2016

RE: N/A Other

Peter Grove of Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire United Kingdom asks...

This question is a follow up to question 30119

Just to follow up on this, it turns out that AYSO has now issued their rules and regulations for heading. The full document can be found here:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, these rules do not specify what should happen in the situation under discussion here.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi a Peter
Many thanks for that. It is a competition rule for AYSO and as yet no clear directive from USSF.
AYSO does use the term deliberate so one might assume that like handling if it hits the player it is not an offence. Probably more likely to be a concern in the getting hit with the ball situation than deliberately heading it in some easy situations such as a glance, nod forward etc. It would add insult to injury when an IDFK is awarded against the young player that gets hit with the ball on the head.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Peter,
Thanks for the effort in following up. It will interesting to see how this concept affects youth soccer. Will it spread to other countries? How will the accidental contact be viewed? If a kid covers his head with his arms to protect against the INDFK do we nail him with a DFK ? ;o) lol What will happen if the kids in practice do not follow the guidelines?

Age 10 is the age chosen for non play with U-14 limited in practice. I would guess if they play UP in age they follow the age they play under thus the u-12 mixed was chosen as a cut off not too many 9 or 10 year old play with the 12 year plus old players?

I was always under the belief that keepers were unnecessary at the u-12 and under to promote greater skill sets? I wonder if the head damage concept could translate into no keepers at the youth? Will there be bylaws like the situation you commented on earlier to go along with this idea?

I note they say INDFK inside the PENALTY AREA not goal area? field dimensions for u12 do they not have a goal area? Thus the restart is not from the point of the infraction? You got to wonder if a ball bouncing at head heights that gets a slight nod for an indfk kicked at a wall a few yard away by their top shooter into the face of an opponent so they are making it further than 6 yds?


New Rules and Regulations: Heading the Ball

February 15, 2016


1. Consistent with the U.S. Soccer mandates on heading the ball, heading is banned for all division players U-11 (U-12 and below for programs without single age divisions) and below in both practices and games.

Heading for players in U-14 is limited to a maximum of thirty (30) minutes per week with no more than 15-20 headers, per player. There is no restriction on heading in matches.

2. An indirect free kick will be awarded to the opposing team if a player age 10 or younger, deliberately touches the ball with his/her head during a game.

a. The indirect free kick is to be taken from the place where the player touched the ball with his/her head.

b. An indirect free kick awarded to the attacking team inside the opposing team's penalty area, must be taken on the penalty area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the player touched the ball with his/her head.

3. Neither cautions nor send offs shall be issued for persistent infringement or denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity related to the heading infraction.

Note: The policy may be put into effect with the beginning of the next game circuit start. If your program is in the middle of league or tournament play, the switch to the new rule right may be delayed until the next gaming circuit start.

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