This question arose this weekend during a regional game event.

Team A defender #1 receives the ball, he then plays the ball in the air (operative word here) to Team A defender #2, who then decides to head it back to his keeper. Thus circumventing the pass-back to the keeper. First of all, does this constitute a pass-back to the keeper?

And then does this fall into the ‘trickery’ clause as defined in Law 12, and you caution defender #1 for initiating the trickery? Or do you caution defender #2 for knowingly deceiving the other team.

I have gone through a series of links online to which it’s only addressed a single player flicking it up to his own head, and the other talking about a throw in to a teammate’s head who consequently heads it back to the keeper.

USSF answer (October 19, 2010):
When calling “trickery” on passes to the goalkeeper we look for contrived and unusual plays. Heading the ball to the goalkeeper is part of the game; we see it every weekend at all levels of play. This play appears to have been entirely normal and involved two players who were simply trying to keep the ball away from their opponents. That is not trickery.