In accordance with the recent U.S. Soccer and U.S. Youth Soccer recommendations on concussion risk management, AYSA has eliminated heading in matches for players U-11 and younger.
Rule 305. HEADING
This rule is mandatory for all US Youth Soccer conducted events, including Regional and National competitions for the National Championship Series, and National Presidents Cup series. This rule is also mandatory for the US Youth Soccer National League, US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues, and the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program.
Although not mandatory for US Youth Soccer State Associations, State Associations are strongly encouraged to adopt this Rule for state and local play.
All Players age 10 and younger shall not head the ball directly from the air in any match/competition, nor shall these players practice heading the ball in any organized team setting. If a player age 10 or younger deliberately heads the ball in a match, the referee shall award an indirect free kick to the opposing team at the spot of the infraction. If the heading occurs within the penalty area, the referee shall move the ball outside the penalty area and award an indirect free kick to the opposing team.
Players age 11 and age 12 shall be permitted to head the ball in any match or competition. These players may practice heading the ball in an organized team practice or skill session, but coaches shall monitor this practice so that no single player heads the ball more than 25 times per week, regardless of setting.
Players age 13 and older shall be permitted to head the ball in any match/competition and the players may practice heading the ball in an organized team practice or skill session.