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Illinois youth soccer group bans ‘heading’ the ball for players 10 and under

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — The group that governs 81,000 young soccer players in Illinois says it will no longer let athletes age 10 and younger use their heads to strike the ball.

Illinois Youth Soccer representatives say the change is meant to promote safety. The group made the announcement this week.

Read the announcement – click here.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the change agrees with recommendations that U.S. Soccer made in November after it faced a lawsuit by parents who claimed the organization wasn’t doing enough to protect children from concussions.

Illinois Youth Soccer guidelines will now say that a purposeful header by a player age 10 or young will mean the other team gets an indirect free kick. The group said it wanted to make the change before the spring season starts.