Within RVYSA, this policy goes into effect as of March 21, 2016. “Players in age group U11 and below are no longer allowed to head the ball. Because our senior division has players U10 participating, this policy will stand for all recreation divisions within RVYSA.”

Justification

As part of the Player Safety Campaign, U.S. Soccer recently unveiled the US Soccer Concussion Initiative that provided guidelines that have been implemented since January of 2016. The information contained in the initiative is intended to give U.S. Soccer Organization Members - as well as players, parents, team/club staff, coaches and referees - guidance and direction when dealing with head injuries and potential head injuries during soccer participation.

Included in this Initiative are specific changes to rules on substitutions and heading for certain age groups.

  • Modify substitution rules to allow players who may have suffered a concussion during games to be evaluated without penalty
  • Eliminating heading for children 10 and under {U11} because players are often 10 at the beginning of the seasonal.
  • Limiting the amount of heading in practice for children between the age of 11 and 13 to 20 touches per week.

Policy Guidelines

Play is stopped whenever the ball strikes a player in the head. The proper restart depends upon whether or not the player deliberately played the ball with his or her head,

  • If deliberate, play will restart via an indirect free kick for the opposing team.
  • Should the ball strike be deemed inadvertent, play will restart via a drop-ball.
  • Should the point of the foul be inside the goal-box, the restart will occur just outside the goal-box. On fields with no goal box markings, restart will occur outside the penalty area.

Should the player have lost consciousness remain dizzy or experience a severe headache as a result of the blow, the player must leave the field and may not return without a doctor’s permission. Should it be determined later that the player is concussed; the player may not return to match play or practice until permission is received from a doctor.

All available information pertaining to the player’s injury and permission to return to soccer – signed by a physician - must be kept on file [RVYSA] for a minimum of 7 years.

The referee’s decision on this matter is final.