The Midfielder
Heartland Soccer Association Newsletter
December 2018
Happy Holidays from Heartland Soccer Association!

Heartland Soccer Association 
Celebrates 40 Years of Soccer!
9161 W 133rd Street, Overland Park, KS 66213
Phone: 913-888-8768
Heartland Soccer Association is recognized as one
of the largest soccer leagues and tournament hosts in the country.
We offer recreational to premier divisions,  ages U8 through U19.
2017/18 Heartland Numbers

Fall league teams '18
Spring league teams '18
League players 
Tournament teams
Tournament players 

Join us as we acknowledge and celebrate those individuals 
who have made a positive impact in our soccer community. 
The 3rd Annual Awards Gala will be an amazing night with something for everyone! We will again be partnering with 
Kansas Youth Soccer Associaiton to put on this
 extraordinary event. 

Saturday, February 2nd at 7:00 pm 
 at Museum at PrairieFire
 5801 W. 135th St. Overland Park 

CLICK HERE to get your tickets for this event.
Concussion ImPACT Testing
2019 Referee Meeting Dates

  Referees of all ages and experience levels  are encouraged to attend Heartland's monthly referee meetings!  Join us to learn tips and tricks for ARs and Referees, fun games, vital information, and fabulous prizes!  Parents are always welcome.  
2019 Referee Meeting Dates

Mon Feb 4
Mon Mar 4
Wed Apr 3
Thur May 2
Mon Aug 5
Mon Sept 9
Wed Oct 2
Thur Nov 7

Mentors meet 6 - 6:45 pm and Referees meet 7 - 8:30 pm   
Meetings will be held at the "Steve D. Scheels" Training Center in the northwest corner of the second floor of the Scheels store located at:
November 12th Scheels Gift Card Winners: Dick O'Leary, Jim Cahill, Mark Kinsch, Brooke Knoelkepper, Rina Mikos, Chris Savoy, Ryan Toon, Carter Stanley.... Not pictured, Logan Clark

Other Gift Card Winners: (SubZero and Minsky's) 
Nathaniel Jones, Nick Edwards, Thomas Edwards, Ryan Schultz
not pictures:  Rick Zuzenak, Nick Zuzenak

Thank you to all our sponsors for the gift cards.
We appreciate your continued support of 
Heartland Soccer and our Referee Mentor Program!
Dave & Buster's, Overland Park is now open! Be our guest and get $20 in FREE Game Play! Eat. Drink. Play. Watch Sports
First time checking out The Midfielder?
Executive Director Shane Hackett explains why this is a 
great tool for players, coaches and parents. 
Use this Snapcode 
for a chance to win 
a $25 Minsky's gift card!

Announcing the Winners of our #HeartlandSoccer 'Social Media Giveaway'
Congratulations Jon Miller and Jorge Angel! Your picture was selected as the Winners  of the November ALDI Heartland Invitational Social media contest. 
To claim your $25 Minsky's Gift Certificate please email [email protected]

This Month in History: December

On December 8th, 1863: Association Football and Rugby Football finally split onto two different organizations. Later in the year, the first ever soccer match was played on Barnes common at Mortlake, London on December 19th , between Barnes Football Club and Richmond Football Club. The game ended in a 0-0 draw.

Sign the petition and show the world that Kansas City 
deserves to host the WORLD CUP GAMES!!!

Kansas City - In The Heart of It All

#KC2026 #United2026

ALDI Heartland Invitational Tournament!


US Youth Futsal has launched a new logo and  website:
Jan 7
Spring 2019 online registration deadline by noon
Jan 10
Recreational seeding
Jan 11
Pemier pre-seed & Recreational Final seed posted after 5pm
Jan 11-16
Premier seeding challenges via email deadline noon on January 16
Jan 18
Final Premier seeding posted after 5pm
Feb 17 Heartland Soccer Fashion Show
Feb 20
Spring 2019 schedule posted after 5pm
Feb 22-24
Border Battle Tournament
Feb 22-24
Dick's Sporting Goods Discount Weekend for Heartland
Mar 1-3
First weekend of League play
Mar 8-10
League Play
Mar 15-17
League Play
Mar 22-24
League Play
Mar 29-31
League Play
Apr 5-7
League Play/ Dick's Sporting Good Discount Weekend for Heartland
Apr 12-14
Kansas City Champions Cup / League Play
Apr 19-20
League Play
Apr 21
Easter Sunday / No Games
Apr 26-28
League Play
May 3-5
League Play
May 10-12
Midwest Mother's Day Classic / League Play
May 17-19
Rainout Weekend
May 24-26
Kansas City Invitational Tournament

The Referee Blog

A time to thank you for the opportunity to be your Referees...

There are 2,381 certified Soccer Referees in the State of Kansas. Over half of them work matches at Heartland. Here are some facts about the Referees that work at Heartland:
  • Almost all of them are or were soccer players before they became Referees.  They love the game.
  • 45% are between 12 (the youngest age assigned to officiate at Heartland) and 15
  • For most of these young Referees, working your kids' game is their first job
  • These young Referees must make an investment before they can work at Heartland.  The certification class costs $65 and then they need to buy a uniform before they can accept a game
  • There were 7,512 matches (including Heartland tournaments) in the Fall season.
  • This means the assignors needed to fill 23,536 positions (one Center Referee and two Assistant Referees per match)
  • 99.38% of these positions were filled with certified officials in the fall (only 139 assignments were filled with club AR's)
  • The Heartland Mentor program worked with 270 different officials this Fall to help them become more effective faster.
Heartland Referees know who their customers are (the players, coaches and you, the fans) and what their job is (to enforce the Laws of the Game and to keep the players safe).  How did they do this past Fall season?
Example 1:  I wanted to write an email about the center referee.  When I saw the young man in the corner prior to the game I thought to myself, "great, the center is not any older than my boys and this game is going to be difficult".  When the game started, he took charge of the game and did very well.  At one point my boys committed a foul on the opposing player, he waited to see if they could maintain advantage for about 5 seconds, they lost the ball and he called the foul.  Correct call!!  Throughout the game he blew his whistle loud and was loud enough in his calls to hear what he was calling.  After the game the young man came over and thanked me and the other coach for being respectful of him and the AR's.  I told the young man he did a very good job and was proud of him on his delayed foul call earlier in the game. I do not know the young man's name, but I will take him for every one of my games in the future!!

Example 2:  Friday night/HIT Boy's Weekend:  For those who were there, you remember how cold it was.  The temperature was 18o with a wind out of the north making the wind chill 8o.  The players bundled up and didn't let the weather stop them.  We are a committed soccer family. The Referees, many of them young, also dressed for the weather and were on the pitch - some for 2 games and some for 4.  This is another example of your Referees "taking their job seriously".

When you think about/look back on the Fall season, remember these examples.  The dedication of your Referees in tough conditions (weather or fans), their love of the game of soccer, and their commitment to doing their jobs and getting better is the picture you should keep in your mind.
Thank you for giving us this opportunity as a part of the Heartland Soccer ecosystem.  We hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving and wish you a Festive Holiday Season and Happy New Year.  We look forward to officiating for you and your teams in the Spring (and yes, we know that Spring soccer isn't all sunshine and warm weather).  We will be ready to give you are very best.

2017 and 2018 Tournament Numbers
(number of teams)

Border Battle '18
KC Champions Cup '18 436
Mother's Day Classic '18 sponsored by Holiday Inn Express-Shawnee 431
KC Invitational '18
Fall Kick Off Challenge '18
Heartland Midwest Classic '18
Midwest All Girls '18
ALDI Heartland Invitational Girls  '18
ALDI Heartland Invitational Boys '18

*In the last 12 months Heartland welcomed teams
 from a total of 17 states and Canada.
Player of the Month - NOMINATE YOUR PLAYER

Nominate a player for Kansas Youth Soccer Player of the Month!  

For more information  CLICK HERE
Kansas State Cup Champions & Finalist

Go to  to find out more on the Champions that will be representing Kansas at the Midwest Regional Championships.

Kansas Presidents Cup Champions & Finalist   

 Go to to find out more on the Champions that will be representing Kansas at the Midwest Presidents Cup that is being hosted in Overland Park, Kansas in June 2019!  

Coaching Requirements
  All premier and recreational coaches  that currently have an "F" license are eligible to coach. Any coach without a current license is temporarily eligible to coach until the new US Soccer Grassroots courses are available on line.
All coaches must pass a background check prior to
being eligible to coach in the Heartland League. 
Heartland Soccer League is sanctioned by Kansas Youth Soccer.  
If you have a referee, coach, club, team or player accomplishment or a  photo that you would like to share please email:
 Katie Falco at  [email protected]  

A Look Back at Heartland Soccer 2018!

A s we embark on a new year we would like to thank everyone that made 2018 so special and our best year yet at Heartland Soccer. The teams, coaches, players, families, sponsors and community have been invaluable to our mission. 

Heartland Soccer Association continues to be one of the largest youth soccer association's in the country and we couldn't do it without your continued support!  The numbers say it all. We had 1,296 teams in the spring and 1,264 in the fall season. And each tournaments brought in anywhere from 200-800 teams! This is truly remarkable and we are so proud of where Heartland has come.

Thank you everyone for giving us a great year full of memories. We wish you a wonderful and safe holiday!

2018 was an exciting and rewarding journey for all of us at Heartland Soccer. Our staff has found the time to reflect on the year as well as our achievements:

"A BIG thank you to all our wonderful community partners for their support of Heartland Soccer throughout 2018. We are grateful to have such fabulous community support of our programs. We are looking forward to the Best Year ever in 2019."  ~Bridgette Samuelson, Team Leader/Dir. Tournament Operations

"Amazingly, 2019 will mark my 10th year with Heartland Soccer. Each and every year gets more exciting, especially with the amount of support we receive from the community.  The number of teams and players that want to be a part of this association is a testament to the incredible staff and management at HSA. I am so proud of everything Heartland has achieved and look forward to continued success in the future!"  ~Katie Falco, Media Relations, Newsletter

"We at Heartland Soccer would like to take the opportunity to convey our gratitude to all of the almost 3,000 teams that participated in the Heartland Soccer tournaments in 2018. We are looking forward to the prospect of hosting your teams again in 2019. Wishing a happy and successful 2019 to all." ~Dave Morrow, Tournament Director

"Even though Heartland consists of a dozen staff members, we have accomplished so much together.  I am thankful to all of you who make working at Heartland such an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  Thank you also to all the registrars, clubs, teams, coaches, parents and players who continue to support Heartland.  It has been a pleasure to work with you.  2018 was a great year and 2019 looks to be even better as we keep expanding." ~Belinda Pontuti,
League Administrator

  1. How did 2018 go for Heartland Soccer? This year was very special with our full year of operations at the Sporting Wyandotte Fields followed by early access to the new Olathe Soccer Complex. One of our goals has been to work to create these world class complexes and this year was a big piece of the field puzzle. Additionally, both league and tournaments hit record attendance as our sport continues to grow.  
  2. What exciting things are planned for 2019?  In 2019, we are scheduled to open the full complex in Olathe and get the first phase of fields at the Gateway Complex in Grandview, Missouri online late in the year.   
  3. Are the holidays a slow time for Heartland or just as busy with the spring season right around the corner? During the winter, we have Futsal league as well as the Regional Tournament. We also have our Annual Awards Gala and start scheduling games for the Spring season in January. 
  4. What's your favorite thing about the holiday season? Family. As our kids have grown up, started careers and families, it's wonderful for everyone to get back together.  
  5. As players head on school break, what advice do you have for them? Have fun. All of us are very blessed to live in this country and have a city with so many incredible soccer fields. Enjoy your teammates and the holiday break. We will see you at the fields in the spring.  

You're not feeling well, but how do you know whether it's a cold or the flu? 
Click here to learn more, HCA Midwest Health is here when you need us. 
Every year, five to 20 percent of Americans are expected to get the flu (influenza). That's a lot, especially since there is a flu vaccine that has a high chance of preventing the flu. Our medical experts at HCA Midwest Health bring you the lowdown on this year's flu predictions and what you need to know to stay well.
What is the flu and how is it different from the common cold? Is it really that serious?
Expert answer:  The flu is very serious. It's a major killer around the world. On the outside, it differs from a cold because of the severity of its symptoms - it leads to high fevers, body aches and respiratory symptoms. Something else that makes the flu really dangerous is while the immune system is busy fighting it off, other issues can sneak in. Many times, when you read about deaths from the flu, they are deaths resulting from bacterial pneumonia that starts after the flu, when your body is already weak.
How do I know if I have the flu or a cold?
Expert answer:  Initially when the flu starts it can seem like a cold - a runny nose and all over "yucky" feeling. But, within a couple of days, it can become a lot worse and bring muscle pains, a spike in fever and coughing. Children (and some adults) with the flu may also have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Use your best judgement and get to the doctor as soon as possible if you suspect you have the flu.

Find an HCA Midwest CareNow location to get your flu shot today.

To learn more about HCA Midwest Health visit us online at 
2018 was a great year for Heartland Soccer and Minsky's Pizza! 

Minsky's is incredibly proud to be a major partner with Heartland Soccer and we'd like to show our  appreciation with some real savings. Minsky's has a special deal just for Heartland Soccer players and families: Enjoy 15% off your team or group dinner when you reserve an event room or book a party of ten or more at Minsky's!  

At Minsky's there's never a fee to reserve private rooms. Several of our locations offer multiple HD TV's with your favorite sports on the big screen, arcade rooms and of course, all locations offer free Wi-Fi. See photos of each Minsky's location and view all amenities at
Don't forget to stop by Minsky's new Olathe location - right in front of the Olathe Soccer Complex on Ridgeview Road! This  location seats up to 200 guests and includes a full bar, outdoor patio and private party room for up to 50 people! You will also find our full menu of gourmet pizzas, creamy pastas, hot calzones, fresh appetizers, crisp salads - and of course - a large selection of gluten-free options for our patrons.
To book your group or find out more about private rooms, just speak to the store manager at the  location nearest you . We know you'll love Minsky's friendly service and, if you've not yet tried Minsky's Pizza, you're in for a delicious gourmet treat! 
Click here  and we'll email you right back with a 15% off coupon good for your next group dinner - plus other great dollar-saving deals in the future - all to say thanks for being a part of Heartland Soccer!
Dear All,

We hope that you are looking forward to a great holiday season with your family and friends.

We at Heartland want to thank everyone of you for supporting our organization, by playing in our league and our tournaments.

Please remember to get your registrations in early for the Spring 2019 season. Registration is open and and the deadline is noon on January 7 th, 2019 . Please remember to be accurate with your multiple team conflicts, weekends off and seeding info.

Every team needs to put seeding info in their application. We will base the seedings on Fall results but it is always helpful to receive extra information. That way we can get as close as possible to having very competitive divisions.

Hoping you all have a happy and prosperous holiday season and New year.

Heartland Staff
Heritage Tractor has gifts for everyone on your list! Stop by and see them this month for 10% toys and apparel, visit

The Referee Corner
Law 5 - The Referee...

Everyone has opinions about the kind of job that your Center Referee did in your matches this Fall.  Do you know what they are supposed to do according to the Laws of the Game? That is our focus for this month's Referee Corner.  Law 5 details what the job of the Referee is.

Authority of the Referee:   The Law says that " each match is controlled by a Referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match ."  This is the very high-level job description.

Decisions of the Referee: "Decisions will be made to the best of the Referee's ability according to the Laws of the Game and the 'spirit of the game' and will based on the opinion of the Referee who has the discretion to take appropriate action with the framework of the Laws of the Game."   The Referee must consider both the Laws and the Spirit.  Referees cannot ignore the Law (e.g., the ball is in or it is out, for example) but Referees do have some flexibility is applying some of the Laws (e.g. trifling fouls versus fouls, punishing the more severe foul, allowing Advantage, disciplinary sanctions, etc.).  The Law says that the decisions of the Referee must always be respected. It also says the Referee may not change a decision on realizing that it is incorrect or on the advice of another match official if play has restarted or the Referee has signaled the end of the first or second half.
Powers and Duties:   There are a number of enumerated Powers and Duties of the Referee:
  • Enforcing the Laws of the Game is primary.  
  • Cooperating with the other Match Officials to control the match
  • Is the official time keeper and records what happens in the match (score, cautions/send offs, etc.)
  • Supervising restarts of play
  • Allowing play to continue when an offense occurs, and the non-offending team will benefit from the advantage and penalizes the offense if the anticipated advantage doesn't happen
  • Administering disciplinary actions
  • Managing injuries, and
  • Dealing with outside interference
This is a long list of duties.  When you consider that the other challenge is managing the players on the field (14, 18 or 22) and the coaches, this is a challenging responsibility.  Because the players are always moving (the dynamic nature of the game) and there is potential for a challenge with every touch your Referee needs to keep his/her focus on what is happening inside the lines.  At the same time the Referee has to be aware of their Assistant Referees and their decisions. This is why we spend a lot of time on signals. A lot of information is shared quickly when everyone is using the correct signals.

Referees make many decisions during each match.  Many of these decisions are not "MATCH CRITICAL" decisions.  When you read reviews of the world's top officials in leagues like the EPL, La Liga, and the Bundesliga the decisions they make in these Match Critical moments are the difference between and effective and a less than effective performance.   The same thing occurs at Heartland. Your Referee may make 100 decisions in a match. The one you will remember is that single decision that resulted in a goal or an injury. We forget all the other decisions that the Referees get right.

Your Referees learn from their mistakes.  Our goal is to help them minimize the number of times they make the same mistake and to give them ideas on how to not make mistakes in the first place.  How can you help us develop your Referees?
  1. If you have questions (or complaints) let your coach know.  If the coach agrees, then we go to step 2.
  2. Coaches should share the concerns with the Referee Assignor (this helps us identify the specific Referee.  We will talk with them and help them to understand the application of the Law as shared above. We might assign a more experienced Mentor to work with the Referee to improve their understanding of the specific situation causing the problem).
  3. You want the new Referees to come back next week, so we can help them improve.  If they don't come back, we all get to start over and that is not the way to resolve the problem.
Thank you for reviewing the Laws of the Game and helping us build the Referee teams that make Heartland Soccer Association the league of choice in the Midwest.

   Papa J ohn's Heartland Referee Spotlight:

Raghav started reffing in the fall of 2016 as a way to stay in shape and make money. Raghav's favorite part of reffing is the fact that nothing is guaranteed in the game. He mentioned "You could have a huge lead, and it could be gone in the next few minutes if you don't keep your head in the game". The most valuable life lesson he feels reffing has taught him is how to stay calm and composed in moments of stress and anxiety. Raghav does not currently referee futsal, and is hoping to move up to a level 7 ref soon. Raghav plays basketball and participates in DECA an organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. He also volunteers at Deanna Rose Farmstead on the weekends when open. He stated "My favorite thing to do would have to be volunteering because of the atmosphere of people". 

When asked about books and movies Raghav said the last book he read was "Things Fall Apart", "It was about the colonization of Nigeria in the 1800's and the best part was learning about the rich African culture". He also mentioned how his favorite types of movies are the Marvel or Avenger movies, with the most recent one he watched being Avengers Infinity War. He said his favorite part was when Peter dies and he says "Mr. Stark, I don't feel so good." Raghav's favorite sport teams are the KC Chiefs for football, KU for college basketball and the Miami Heat for NBA. Congratulations to Raghav for being the Papa John's Heartland Referee Spotlight winner!

The Coaches Corner:

Warm up
Eighteen players warm up via a mixture of jogging, half pace and three quarter pace running over half the length of the pitch followed by some static stretching.   The players then use the 18-yard area to practice passing and control exercises with nine balls.   The focus is on good first touch, body posture, accuracy and communication.   The players work in pairs, moving freely, with unlimited touches.   The players should be aware of the movement of other players in close proximity in terms of ball control.   After five minutes, the players stop and continue with stretching exercises.
Several different control/passing drills are performed:
*             Keep-away - One player keeps the ball away from the other.
*             Keep-away and beat a player - Same as previous but now once a turn is achieved, the player tries to go past his opponent.
*             Juggling and running - One player juggles the ball while the other runs at half pace to the half way line and back.
*             With all the players in the 18-yard box, nine players with a ball move around the area playing passes to any 'open' player. The receiving player uses a one-touch to pass into space as the return pass.

We Want your Photos!

Heartland Soccer Association is seeking action photo shots of kids of all ages and abilities playing soccer in Heartland League Games or Tournaments.  Submitted photos may be included in Heartland Tournament, League and other promotional materials as well as social media posts.

Instructions for submitting photos:
All submitted photo files must be .jpg format, must be a minimum of 1,200 x 1,600 pixels, and no larger than 2 MB in size.  Submitting a photo doesn't guarantee that it will be used.
By submitting a photo for consideration for use in Heartland Soccer Association promotional materials, you agree that:
1.  You are the sole author of the photograph and control all rights for its use.  The photograph is original.  You have the rights to grant usage of the photograph as stated below.  There has been no prior sale, publication or transfer of rights to the photograph. The photograph shall not contain any libelous or scandalous matter.  To the best of your knowledge, the photograph's creation, publication and use shall not infringe any copyright, right of privacy or right of publicity, or infringe or violate any right of any third party.
2.    You grant to Heartland Soccer Association all rights to use the photograph in any and all forms of media, including but not limited to electronic, digital media and print.
3.     You allow Heartland Soccer Association the right to edit, revise, adapt and crop the photo as necessary.
Send Photo submissions to: [email protected]
Get certified to be a referee!
As our local soccer community grows, the need for new and experienced referees continues.  Join America's Largest Soccer League.  More details on referee meeting schedules, training and education can be found on the 

Sign Up to Become a Referee for the Fall 2018 Season.
3 Women and an Oven
4 Wheel Parts
7 Eleven
AB May
Academy Sports and Outdoors
Anthony's Plumbing, Heating and Cooling
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing
Big Whiskey
Chick fil A
Commercial Capital
Dairy Queen
Dave and Buster's
Dick's Sporting Goods
Drs. Hawks, Besler, Rogers & Stoppel
Dunkin' Donuts
FC Kansas City
Fry Wagner
Go Ape
Harlan C Parker State Farm
Hasty Awards
HCA Midwest Health
Heritage Tractor Supply
Holiday Inn Express Shawnee
Jimmy John's
Jon Russell's BBQ
Kansas City Comets
KC Motor Company
KC Steak Company
Krusich Dental
Lenexa Public Market
Lenny's Subs
Levine Advertising
Menorah Medical Center
Minsky's Pizza
Molle Toyota
Momo Bands
Morrill & Janes Bank
Museum at Prairiefire
Overland Park Regional Medical Center
Oxford Animal Hospital
Pacific Dental Services
Papa John's
Pizza Hut
Raising Cane's
Research Medical Center
Ritz Charles
Rock and Brews
Rosati's of Overland Park
Salty Iguana
Scott the Electrican
Security Bank
Soccer Master
Spin Pizza
Sport Shake
Sporting Kansas City
Storage Mart
Swope Park Rangers
The KC Steak Company
The Storage Place
The Roasterie
The Rub Bar-B-Que
Tick Tock
T-riffic T-shirts
Urban Air