Tuesday, November 10, 2015

No more headers in soccer ... and guess who will have to judge

Court settlement proposes heading ban in bid to curtail youth concussions

In a settlement announced on Monday by Hagens Berman, a law firm that represented youth players in a class action lawsuit against six the largest youth soccer groups, U.S. players who are aged 10 and under will no longer be able to head the ball, while players aged 11 through 13 will be restricted by a length of practice with headers and number of total headers allowed per player per week.

The settlement also, for the first time, mandates a standard protocol to follow when a player is found to have sustained a concussion. ...

See the whole article here from ESPN.

Kicking Back Comments: You can see the genesis of the suit from an article here. There are elements of the settlement that I think have great merit, such as allowing a temporary substitution to allow for concussion evaluation and having a standard procedure for evaluating same. All good stuff.

Limiting headers, frankly is crap, and untenable to patrol. While this settlement occurred just Monday the 9th, the practical effects are really yet to be felt by referees across the US ... I am sure that was not even a thought in US Soccer's head however. Enforcement ... we'll figure that out later.

As an organization we are having issues getting young referees to determine and stop play when a player uses their hands in U10 matches ... never mind finding a referee to even do those games these days. But sure, throw that log on the fire of no head balls ... I can hear it now ... "SHE HEADED IT ... THAT'S A FOUL" ...

OMG I am going to lose my mind watching these matches next year.

What I found somewhat laughable and ironic about all of this at the high level I have examined it so far is the lead attorney in the suit, Steve W. Berman, was paid his handsome fees by US Soccer to the tune of $590,000 when none of this was supposed to be about money, but about safety. (What ever happened to pro bono work?) Something Steve I would think should care about as per his bio he himself is a "certified soccer referee."

I'll wait to see what the full settlement holds and how US Soccer plans to ask its youngest and least experienced group of referees to implement these very nuanced changes to the LOTG and effect the very fabric of how The Game is played today.

Until then, stay tuned as the comments surrounding this change are generally not positive ones.

Update 18:00 EST ... oh look, here is one from SI:

Michael A. Shealy · 
So as a referee do we red card the youth that head the ball now. Here come another LOTG #18.
Like · Reply · 2 · 10 hrs

Jj Garcia
Thats my concern about this and I'm not even a ref. How is this going to managed in games when sometimes heading the ball is an instinctual move to get the ball clear or control it. Who to say that coaches of rec level or higher are going to be actually counting with a counter or something of that sorts. I cant see how this can be monitored in practices with all the teams that are out there.
Like · Reply · 6 hrs
Mike Naka
Jj Garcia Gotta love the USA and the sue everything culture...


  1. Lawyers are ponces.

    1. I had to look that one up: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=ponce

      Speaking as one (a guy with a law degree) I have to say, some are ... but there are a number of folks who I have met and know personally who are not.

      That said, the story certainly would have been better if the work was done pro bono. Would come across as a bit more genuine then.

      Thanks for reading,