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Player Header Rule

Because of concerns for the safety of younger players, beyond the limitations of the laws of the game, Brookside Soccer Club’s Youth Recreational Soccer League does not allow players in Grade 4 and younger to head the ball during practices or games. Players in Grade 5 and older are allowed to head the ball.

Heading the ball is defined as a player using or attempting to use his/her own head to play the ball. Should a referee, assistant referee, or a coach see a player head the ball, they will inform the player they may not head the ball and play continues on. There is no stoppage of play or restart awarded. 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 and coaches 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.

Coaches must instruct players not to head the ball and referees must use common sense. 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 the rule and explain that the league does not allow heading.