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News - Details

U.S. Soccer Safety Campaign


AYSA would like to give updated information on the U.S. Soccer Safety Campaign. 

As part of the U.S. Soccer’s Player Safety Campaign, U.S. Soccer unveiled the U.S. Soccer Concussion Initiative that provides 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 and coaches and referees, guidance and direction when dealing with head injuries and potential head injuries during soccer participation.  Included in the U.S. Soccer Concussion Initiative are specific changes to rules on substitutions and heading for certain age groups.  Some of those changes include the following:

  • 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
    • Please note that U11 is listed in the U.S. Soccer Concussion Initiative document because U11 players can be 10 years old at the beginning of the season.
  • Limiting the amount of heading in practices for children between the ages of 11 and 13.


  1. U.S. Soccer Recommendations
  1. U11 and younger.
    1. U.S. Soccer recommends that players in U11 programs and younger should not engage in heading, either in practices or in games.
  2. U12 and U13
    1. U.S. Soccer further recommends for players in U12 and U13 programs, that heading training be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes per week with no more that 15-20 header per player, per week.
  3. All coaches should be instructed to teach and emphasize the importance of proper techniques for heading the ball.
  4. Implementing Members

1.         The Implementing Members accept the recommendations of U.S. Soccer set forth in item A. above and recommend that each of their respective members follow such recommendations as well.

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.  If a player does not deliberately head the ball, then play should continue.

Please review the entire U.S. Soccer Concussion Guidelines & Initiative.  For more information, please refer to the frequently asked questions, which should clarify questions regarding the new initiatives.

Additional support material from U.S. Soccer to go in conjunction with the Player Safety Campaign.

Recognize to Recover

Athlete Concussion Guidelines

Coaches Concussion Guidelines