Green team is attacking blue’s goal, the ball is bouncing in the penalty area between knee- and waist-height. Green forward dives at the ball to head it into goal and is kicked in the head by the blue defender a.) before b.) after the defender’s foot makes contact with the ball to clear it. What would be the proper call in this case?

USSF answer (January 28, 2009):
That decision can be made only by the referee on the game, who has seen all elements of the play. However, a general guideline is that a player who dives to head the ball below the waist that another player is attempting to kick has not exercised good sense and may be considered to have placed both players in a dangerous position. If there is contact, the foul would normally be called against the player who was trying to head the low ball. If there is no contact, the player attempting to head the low ball would likely be called for playing dangerously.

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