Northeast Soccer League

New Policy on Heading

Effective immediately, the Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association Board of Directors has voted in and will implement the following policy and modified laws of the game for heading. This requirement is for all Mass Youth Soccer affiliated activities, including but not limited to, Mass Youth Soccer affiliated member organization league play, practices and tournaments.


All players in age groups U9, U10 & U11 shall not engage in heading in either practice or games.

All players age 10 years old and younger shall not engage in heading in either practice or games regardless of what age group program they are playing in.  For example, a 10 year old playing on a U12 team may not head the ball although his teammates may.  

In leagues with double age groups where the U11's play on U12 teams heading at U12 is not allowed.  This rule does not apply to MAPLE and heading is allowed in U12.

For all players between the ages of 11 and 13, heading training will be limited to a maximum of
30 minutes per week with no more that 15-20 headers per player, per week. No limit of heading
in games.

Heading Training

Mass Youth Soccer and all Member Organizations are to inform all coaches to teach and emphasize the importance of proper techniques for heading the ball.  

Heading Infraction

For those players designated as not being permitted to head the ball in games as identified in the above section the following modified law 12 will apply.

An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player, in the opinion of the referee, deliberately heads or attempts to head the ball.  

If, in the opinion of the referee, a deliberate header or attempt to head occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick will be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred.

If, in the opinion of the referee, a player does not deliberately head or attempt to head the ball, then play shall continue.