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US Soccer Wants Young Players To Protect Their Heads And Focus On Footwork

Eight year old kids play soccer match organized as a part of Fairfax Police Youth Club" Soccer League.
Jarek Tuszynski
US Soccer wants young players to focus on footwork.

Concerns over concussions and other head injuries have prompted new recommendations from US Soccer.  The new guidelines suggest that soccer players ten years old and younger should not be heading the ball during games or in practice. 

John Bradford is a program director for Raleigh's Capital Area Soccer League which has about 9,000 players.  He says heading isn't appropriate for younger age groups who are just beginning to kick the ball around.

"The youngest, the 5, 6, 7 age groups, kids enjoying the game, learning the small specific details of the game and then as they're getting into kind of skill acquisition ages that's not a skill that's incorporated."

Bradford says his league also promotes awareness of head injuries and has a full-time trainer who helps assess kids who do get hurt before deciding when it's ok for them to return to the field.

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