NEW: No Heading the Ball, U11 & Under
Because of concerns for the safety of younger players, beyond the limitations of the laws of the game, the "League" does not allow players ages U-11 and below to be allowed to head the ball during games. Heading the ball is defined as a player using or attempting to use his/her own head to play the ball. Should a referee or assistant referee see a player head the ball, the referee must stop play, inform the player they may not head the ball, and restart with an indirect free kick to the opposing team from where the player headed or attempted to head the ball .If the location is inside the goal area, the restart should be moved to the 6 yard line at a point nearest to where the player headed or attempted to head the ball. This does not apply to a player being struck in the head by a ball he/she didn't intend to play in that manner. While referees might stop play in this circumstance to evaluate potential injury, should the player show any of the signs referees watch for that might indicate a serious injury, per the laws of the game that restart would be a dropped ball. Referees must understand that heading the ball is NOT a violation of the laws of the game, so no criteria associated with fouls or infractions of the laws, should be applied to this violation of league safety requirements except those mentioned above. Referees must use common sense. For instance, should a player head the ball away from the goal, even though by definition this might meet the criteria for denying a goal scoring opportunity, that should not be applied in this circumstance. Likewise, players who are guilty of heading the ball should never be issued a caution or sending off. The referee should rather focus on helping the players understand that the league does not allow heading until they are older because it is unsafe.