The Virginia Youth Soccer Association (VYSA) has established new guidelines for heading in youth soccer (see full text below). With the current age group divisions at BRYSA, the new guidelines will be applied as follows:
> U5, U6, U7, U8, U10, and U12 Divisions: NO HEADING allowed in practices or games. Whenever a ball hits a player in the head, play will be stopped. If the contact with the head was unintentional, a drop ball will restart play. If a player intentionally heads the ball, an indirect free kick will be awarded to the opposing team. These rules are being applied to the U12 division, because the division included U11 players.
> U14/U15 Divisions: LIMITED HEADING in practices - Heading permitted in games. Coaches should teach and emphasize proper heading technique, but players should only head the ball a maximum of 15 to 20 times in a single day. These rules are being applied to the U14/U15 divisions, because the divisions include U13 players.
> U19 Division: Heading permitted.
These new rules are based on recommendations from the U.S. Soccer Medical Committee.
The VYSA Board of Directors has approved and adopted the following new policy rule and guidelines restricting heading of the ball for U13 and younger. The new policy and guidelines take effect Monday, March 21, 2016.
The VYSA Board of Directors has approved and adopted the following new guidelines that restricts players from engaging in heading at U13 and younger. These guidelines apply to all players, coaches, and member organizations registered with VYSA, as well as those who train with players, coaches, member organizations registered with VYSA, beginning March 21, 2016.
U11 and Younger
- US Soccer guidelines are players in U11 programs and younger shall not engage in heading, either in practice or in games.
U12 & U13 age groups
- US Soccer guidelines are for players U12 and U13 programs, that heading in training be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes per week with no more than 15-20 headers per day, per week
All coaches should be instructed to teach and emphasize the importance of proper techniques for heading the ball.
The VYSA Board of Directors has approved and adopted the policy designed to eliminate heading in soccer competitions at the U11 level and below.
Virginia Youth Soccer Assn. member clubs and leagues shall add to their club and league rules and procedures the following modification to the FIFA Laws of the Game. This modification applies to all levels of play including travel, recreational and academy programs and sanctioned tournaments. The Metro/DC/Virginia Referee Association has been notified of this new rule and will be prepared to implement it in matches that they officiate beginning March 21st, 2016.
At age group divisions U11 and younger-
Whenever the ball strikes a player in the head, play is stopped. The proper restart depends upon whether the player deliberately played the ball with his or her head. If deliberate, the proper restart is an indirect free kick to the opposing team. If this 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 the play by the head is deemed inadvertent, then the proper restart is a dropped ball.