Palo Alto AYSO Heading Policy
AYSO does not permit heading for players age 10 and below and activities in
which players age 10 and below participate. In Region 26, this means heading
is not permitted at U10 and U12 practices or games.
Heading in these games must be treated as an Indirect Free Kick Foul: "plays in a dangerous manner".
HEADING BAN RULE REVISION
Meeting Date: May 27, 2016
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I. HEADING THE BALL
1. Consistent with the US Soccer mandates on heading the ball, heading is banned for all division players U11 (U12 and below for programs without single age divisions) and below in both practices and games
Heading for players in U14 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 goal area, must be taken on the goal area 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 infractions.
In December 2015 AYSO worked with other youth soccer program technical directors and administrators to develop a recommended rule to address the ban on heading announced by US Soccer. Without feedback to the suggested language, AYSO's National Board of Directors issued a rule in February 2016 consistent with the basic tenets of the youth technical working group.
Shortly after the February NBOD decision. US Soccer issued its own rule. The language change above aligns the AYSO rule with the US Soccer rule. The other youth program operators are adopting the US Soccer version.