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Mar, 2016

Landon Donovan: 'A 10-year-old doesn't need to be heading a soccer ball'

Landon Donovan, the greatest player the USA has ever produced, recently appeared on "The Dan Patrick Show" and was asked about heading in youth soccer.

Beginning this year, U.S. Soccer has eliminated heading for children 10 and under, and put limits on the amount of heading in practice for children ages of 11 to 13.

“I think until you’re a certain age there’s no real need for [heading],” said Donovan. “A 10-year-old doesn’t need to be heading a soccer ball. It’s not like they’re gaining much in the game by doing that.

“Teach them how to do it, and by the time they hit 15, 16, 17 start to allow it a little bit more. But there’s no need for someone of that age to be heading a soccer ball. Just like there’s no need for someone to be tackling in football.”

In recent months, various youth organizations have adopted U.S. Soccer’s heading regulations according to the Federation’s Return 2 Recover program.

For example, AYSO: “The new rule bans heading for all U-11 and below division players. If an AYSO program doesn’t have single age divisions, heading is banned for U-12 and below. Heading for players in U-14 and U-14 will be limited to a maximum of thirty (30) minutes per week with no more than 15-20 headers, per player. There is no restriction on heading in matches in U-13 and above.”

• U.S. Club Soccer launched a Recognize to Recover web page HERE.

• U.S. Soccer’s Recognize to Recover home page is HERE

• U.S. Youth Soccer's: Introducing the Skill of Heading in the 11-U Age Group

• Coaches, referees, parents and players are encouraged to watch U.S. Soccer's "Concussions in Soccer Overview" video, which also includes general safety guidelines.
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