West Virginia Soccer has adopted the US Soccer Concussion Awareness Program - Recognize to Recover restrictions on heading.
Link to the implementation guidelines: Heading Restrictions - US Soccer Player Safety Campaign.pdf
WCSA and other local leagues have extended the restrictions to U12 to simplify application and reduce compliance risks to coaches and players given that U11 and U12 players are together in our rec league. Effective August 1, 2016, no deliberate heading is allowed in U12 matches regardless of players' ages.
Summary of Restrictions:
- U11 and younger Players: No heading in practice or games. Violation in games results in IFK.
- U12 Games - (WCSA) No heading in games.Violation in games results in IFK.
- U12-U13 Players: Restricted amount of heading in practice.
- U13 and up - Heading allowed in games
Deliberate heading to prevent a goal does NOT meet the criteria of a send-off offense under Law 12, as it does not deny "an obvious goalscoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal."
WCSA applies the Indirect Free Kick (IFK) for Deliberate Heading at the U12 age group and younger, per U.S. Soccer's guidelines. Referees who work in leagues or tournaments where U11 and U12 age groups are combined should inquire with their leagues as to whether they will apply the IFK for Deliberate Heading to the U12 age level.
Matches defined as U12 and up will be called be Referees according to regulations for the age group (as if all players are of the team's age group). If heading is allowed in U12 outside of WCSA, Coaches must ensure their U11 and younger players adhere to the restrictions for applicable to the players actual age, even if playing on a U12+ team.