July 28, 2016 


Delaware State Referee Committee Announcement - April 6, 2016

Dear Fellow Referee,

As you may be aware, much like many other sports in the world, U.S. Soccer has been steadily addressing the issue of player safety and concussion management.
Accordingly, U.S. Soccer recently published the following:

“U-10 Youth Player Heading
As part of U.S. Soccer's Player Safety Campaign, players 10 years old and younger are prohibited from heading the ball in practice and in games. To this end, when a player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect free kick should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense. If the deliberate header occurs in the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred. If a player does not deliberately head the ball, then play should continue. “

As a result of this announcement, the Delaware State Referee Committee developed and adopted a statewide policy for the positive enforcement of this recommendation. This information was provided to all DYSA members in attendance at the DYSA Board meetings on February 17th and again on March 16th of this year. Additionally, all Club Managers were notified on April 6th, 2016.

Delaware Referees are expected to enforce all aspects of this player safety initiative statewide beginning with the spring season 2016. Clubs have been provided an opportunity to opt out of this enforcement procedure, however, there are specific requirements for them to do so and these procedures must be adhered to. If you do not receive a specific notice from your assignor prior to any assigned games and the team is not in possession of a formal communication from the State Referee Committee acknowledging their desire to opt out, including specific games or leagues, then full enforcement is expected on your part. It is anticipated that there will be a minority of clubs/leagues that prefer to opt out of the enforcement of this player safety initiative. Therefore, by default, all games within the State of Delaware will be subject to enforcement unless the above criteria has been met in advance of any game.

As Referees in the State of Delaware it is incumbent upon us all to provide qualified professional service to all games. It is our expectation that by establishing a clear and concise policy on this issue we will eliminate misinterpretation of this “recommendation” from U.S. Soccer. While we recognize that there are many differing opinions on this particular topic, please understand that it is imperative that we all speak with one voice on the field.

Should you have any questions regarding this or any other issue please feel free to contact me at any time.

Bob Wood
Delaware - SYRA

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