Recognize to Recover is US Soccer’s comprehensive player health and safety program aimed at promoting safe play and reducing injuries in soccer players of all ages. CCSL is implementing this program specifically as it relates to concussion and heading initiatives for youth players as clarified by US Club Soccer.

Starting with the Spring 2016 season (March 15, 2016) and applying to all league and NY Cup play, the following will be effective


No-Reentry Protocol

Referee will stop the game when he/she believes that a player has suffered an injury involving that player’s head and immediately remove the player from the game.

The club is responsible for obtaining and reviewing the player's medical clearance from a Health Care Professional (MD, DO or Athletic Trainer - must include professional license#), who is certified in concussions.   Upon satisfactory receipt of the player's medical clearance, the club will return the player pass the appropriate team official.

In conjunction with US Club, NYCSL spanly recommends that all coaches, staff members, parents and players watch U.S. Soccer’s concussions in soccer overview video.



Players in U11 programs and younger shall not engage in heading, either in practices or games

Limited heading in practice for players in U12 and U13 programs. Specifically limited to:

  • A maximum of 30 minutes of heading training per week
  • A maximum of 15-20 headers per player per week

Clubs should be aware of circumstances in which individual consideration is needed. For example:

  • A 10-year-old playing at U12 or older should not head the ball at all
  • An 11 or 12-year-old playing at U14 or older should abide by the heading restrictions in practice.

Referees will enforce these restrictions by the age group of the competition, they will not be assessing the age of individual players on the field.

Heading Game Rule-Referees have been instructed by US Soccer of the following rule addition:

When a player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect free kick (IFK) should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense. If the deliberate header occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred. This applies to all U11 and younger age groups in a competition.


US Soccer Recognize to Recover Home Page

US Soccer Concussion Guidelines

US Soccer Player Safety Campaign FAQs
Concussions - "Let's Take Brain Injuries Out of Play."-Coaches
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Heads Up: Concussion in Sports
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Heads Up: Information for Youth and High School Sports

Recognize to Recover Other Current Topics

Cardiac Safety
Heat-related Illness