Indiana Soccer Association limiting headers for kids 12 and under

INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO): Hoosier soccer players under 12 years of age will no longer be able to use their heads in practice or in a game starting on April 1st.

The Indiana Soccer Association will ban heading for kids 11 and under in training or in games. This includes 11-year-olds that play in leagues with 12-year-olds or older.

If your child is 12 years old, he or she will be limited to 30 minutes of heading training per week and also limited to 20 headers per week. When the child reaches 13 years of age, there will be no restrictions.

The reason is to protect kids from concussions and other head injuries while also teaching kids to keep the ball on the ground and learn ball control skills. U.S. Soccer recently implemented player safety rules to protect young soccer players from injury.

Here is a complete list of new regulations:

  • All players, U11 shall not engage in heading in training or in games.
  • All players, U12 and U13 are limited to a maximum of 30 minutes of heading training per week, and will further limit each player to a maximum of 20 headers per week.
  • All players, U11 and younger who play on a U12 or older team should not head the ball in training or games. [Compliance with this initiative is the coach’s responsibility.]
  • All players, U12 or U13 who play on a U14 team or older will comply with the aforementioned U12 and U13 heading restrictions.
  • Referees will enforce heading restrictions as per the age-level of the contest. [Individual player compliance with the aforementioned heading restrictions is the coach’s responsibility.]
  • If a player, who is competing in U11 games or younger, deliberately heads the ball in a game, the referee will award an indirect free kick (IFK) 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.

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