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Question Number: 31216

League Specific 1/31/2017

RE: Competitive Under 11

Jessica of Sunrise, FLORIDA United States asks...

My daughter is playing on a U10 team and she is 8 years old. Can you please tell me about the heading rule that will come into play after U11,when everyone else from U11 is moving up to U12. Will my daughter still be able to play up or will they make her repeat the U11 until she is old enough to head the ball in U12? Are there any waivers or applications that can be filled out to keep her with her team? Aren't the referees advised that their is an underage child on the team, or do they not do that? Thank you for your help

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jessica
Referees enforce the heading restrictions by age group according to the specified rules. Referees do not assess the age of individual players on the field and only enforce the rules for the age group not individual players. It is therefore a matter for you as a parent and the club to manage this in a way that respects the young players needs and the implementation of the rule.
From a team perspective is the club okay with certain younger players playing out of their age group not heading the ball in training or in a match context? For example do players sit out limited heading practise because of age and how is that managed.
So if say a 10 year old is playing u12 the referee will not be restricting players actions such as heading. However there could be because of this rule a local competition rule which prevents players playing up outside of their age group. That responsibility rests with the team and the relevant league rules. I suggest that when the time comes that you speak with the club and its coaches. The implementation is evolving as situations are worked through such as the playing up question.
Summary is that referees enforce the rule only. It is up to clubs and leagues to manage matters such as playing up out of age, training policies etc.

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