~ IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ~
MSYSA Supports Implementation Guidelines for U.S.
Soccer's Player Safety Campaign
Concussion initiatives & heading for youth players
Glen Burnie, MD (March 17, 2016): The Maryland State Youth Soccer
Association (MSYSA) supports the implementation guidelines as set in
place by U.S. Soccer's Recognize to Recover Player Safety Campaign and
as supported by US Youth Soccer's Director of Coaching, Sam Snow,
specifically as it relates to concussion initiatives and heading for youth
players. As such, the following requirements take effect immediately:
Players younger than eleven (11) years of age shall not engage in
heading, either in practices or in games.
Limited heading in practice for players eleven (11) and twelve (12)
years of age. More specifically, these players shall be limited to a
maximum of 30 minutes of heading training per week, with no more
than 15-20 headers per player, per week.
Clubs should be aware of circumstances in which individual
consideration is needed. For example:
A 10 year old playing at U12 or older should not head the ball at all.
An 11 or 12 year old playing at U14 or older should abide by the
heading restrictions in practice.
Referees should enforce these restrictions by age group according
to the specified rules. Referees will not be assessing the age of
individual players on the field they will enforce the rules for the age
Leagues and organizations are free to set their own standards, as long
as the minimum requirements outlined above are met.
Referees have been instructed by U.S. Soccer of the following rule
addition: When a player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect
free kick (IFK) should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of
the offense. If the deliberate header 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.
Modified substitution rules also took effect Jan. 1, 2016, as follows:
Any player suspected of suffering a head injury may be substituted for
evaluation without the substitution counting against the team's total
number of allowed substitutions during the game.
All sanctioned tournaments being held within the state of Maryland are
required to follow the above. Teams traveling outside of Maryland to
participate in tournaments should inquire with the tournament leadership
about their specific heading policies.