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March 21, 2016 06:09 PM

Indiana Member Clubs, Teams, Coaches, and Referees will Implement Heading Restrictions for Younger Players Beginning April 1, 2016
The Indiana Soccer Association, in concert with US Soccer’s player safety initiatives, will implement rule changes associated with “heading” for 12 and younger players.  
Indiana Soccer’s education department supports the model of encouraging the ball to be played on the ground for younger players.  
“The focus for all coaches in the younger age ranges, should be to develop high-quality soccer players, emphasizing long-term development at the younger ages instead of the “win now” emphasis.” Indiana Soccer’s Education Director Steve Franklin, stated.   “By keeping the ball on the ground and focusing on the technical aspects of ball control, youth players will learn the proper technique they can turn into skill as they reach the full-sided game.” Franklin, concluded.
Dave Guthrie, Indiana Soccer’s Executive Director added that “The safe development of the player has been, and will remain a priority of the Indiana Soccer Association and its affiliated members”.  Guthrie continued…“Indiana’s state referee administrator, Samir Yasa, and the referee committee share the priority of player safety and are a willing and formidable partner in assisting the implementation of these changes.” 
The Indiana Soccer League applauds player safety and development initiatives.
“When one looks at player development priorities for these age groups, heading is not high on the list.  Observing games for these age groups, reveals that the ball is not, and should seldom be, in the air." Indiana Soccer’s League Commissioner George Perry, stated. 
Compliance with the rule changes outlined below is required by all member clubs, teams, coaches and referees not later than April 1, 2016. 
  • 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.