The Midfielder
Heartland Soccer Association Newsletter
February 2020

Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs and thank you for bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to KC for the first time in 50 years! 
Get Your Kickin' Chicken 
at a Kansas or Missouri Restaurant Near You! 
8 Local Locations

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.
2019 Tournament Numbers
(number of teams)
Border Battle '19
KC Champions Cup '19
Mother's Day Classic '19 449
Kansas City Invitational '19 282
Fall Kick Off Challenge '19
Heartland Midwest Classic '19
Midwest All Boys '19
Midwest All Girls '19
Heartland Invitational Girls  '19
Heartland Invitational Boys '19

*In the last 12 months Heartland welcomed teams
 from a total of 17 states and Canada.


Border Battle 2020
SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex 
February 28 - March 1, 2020
The 2020 Border Battle Soccer Tournament will be held at one of the country's finest soccer facilities, the SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex, home of the 2020 USYSA National Championships.
This tournament is well established and recognized as one of the top spring tournaments in the Midwest. It annually attracts ECNL, NPL, State and Regional Champion teams from up to 14 different States. We are anticipating another sell out event in 2020 with teams traveling from all over the Midwest!

Registration CLOSED
February 3rd, 2020

1st Annual Heartland Spring Cup
GARMIN Olathe Soccer Complex
Inaugural Heartland Spring Cup
March 20 - 22, 2020
The Heartland Tournament series is excited to add the inaugural Heartland Spring Cup tournament to the Spring 2020 tournament season. The Heartland Spring Cup will be an excellent early season opportunity for your team to test itself against comparable opponents and features multiple levels of play to ensure that every team finds itself matched against similar competition.

Registration Deadline:
February 24, 2020

Thank you to everyone for making Heartland Soccer recognized as THE LARGEST soccer league AND tournament host in the United States! Seriously, how cool is that?! We are so incredibly proud to be a part of this growing soccer community!
Heartland Soccer Association


2019/20 Heartland Numbers

Fall league teams '19
Spring league teams '20
League players 
Tournament teams
Tournament players 

The Heartland is known for some crazy weather. Share a photo of the coldest game you recall playing.

"State cup in the snow at Wyandotte fields, Oct 2019."
 "March 2017"
"36 degrees and pouring rain!!"

"2 years ago at SCHEELS I think it was emerald cup or Heartland Invitational but it was sleeting 30° and sleeting the whole championship game."

"March 2017. My son had ice and snowflakes in his eye lashes! So cold!"

This Month in History: February
On February 11 th , 1987, Matt Besler was born. Matt Besler was 
born in Kansas City, Missouri, and grew up in Overland Park, Kansas. Matt went to Blue Valley West high school where he earned many accolades all four years in soccer. He then went on to play at the University of Notre Dame where he received many All-American, and All-Conference awards.

Matt went on to play after college and was drafted 8th overall in the first round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft by Sporting Kansas City. In his rookie year, he appeared in 28 games and had 26 starts. He is number 5, plays defender, and is also a captain for the Sporting Kansas City team. He has continued to earn accolades even after his high school and college careers, including being named Sporting Kansas City's Defender of the year 4 different times. Now, Besler is 32 years old and has played in 11 seasons for his hometown team.
Concussion ImPACT Testing
Order New Apparel Today!
HSA apparel
Feb 19
Spring 2020 schedule posted after 5pm
Feb 21-23
Dick's Sporting Good Discount Weekend for Heartland
Feb 28-Mar 1
First weekend of League play/ Border Battle Tournament
Mar 6-8
League play
Mar 13-15
League play
Mar 20-22
Heartland Spring Cup / League Play
Mar 27-29
League Play
Apr 3-5
League Play
Apr 3-5
Dick's Sporting Good Discount Weekend for Heartland
Apr 10-11
League Play
Apr 12
Easter No Games
Apr 17-19
Kansas City Champions Cup Driven by Discount Tire / League Play
Apr 24-26
League Play
May 1-3
League Play
May 8-10
Midwest Mother's Day Classic/ League Play
May 15-17
Rainout Weekend
May 22-24
Kansas City Invitational Tournament
2020 Heartland Referee Meeting Dates Announced!
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.  

Monday, March 2
Monday, April 6
Monday, May 4
Monday, August 3
Monday, September 14
Monday, October 5

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:
Announcing the January winner of our 
Academy Sports  'Social Media Giveaway'  
Congratulations Heather Murrell Crane! Your photo was selected as the winner of the January Academy Sports + Outdoors contest. Enjoy your $50 gift card

The Referee Blog
A new season:  It starts with optimism for everyone including the Referees!  But there are signs of potential problems....

The Chiefs played in Super Bowl 54 on Sunday and won with a spectacular comeback in the 4th quarter. The weather had a high of 67 degrees. We are enjoying a special week in the Kansas City area. We know that there is more winter to come, but the Spring soccer season is right around the corner. The first tournament of the Spring, the Border Battle, is just 4 weeks away.  A record number of teams have signed up for the Spring season at Heartland. For example, there are 78 teams in Boys U9 Premier, 96 team in Boys U12 Premier, 69 teams in Girls U12 Premier, and 63 teams in Boys U16 Premier.  Every team has a perfect record today and believes they will have a successful season. Everyone is optimistic and looking forward to warm weather and success on the pitch.

In 2019 there were almost 2,200 certified Referees in the State of Kansas.  As of today, the number of certified Referees in the State is ONLY 1,500. This means Kansas, like the rest of the country, is facing a problem.  Will there be enough Referees to cover the matches that will be played? We have more Entry Level and Recertification clinics scheduled which means the problem won't be as large as it is right now.  What can we do to address this potential issue?

The Kansas State Youth Soccer Association will continue to fund the Mentor program for the Spring season.  This means we will assign more experienced Referees to work with our younger Referees to help them develop their skills faster.  Everyone who participates in soccer in Kansas are the benefactors of the Mentoring program.  
  • More effective Referee decisions will result in safer and fairer games for the players.
  • Fans should see fewer "bad calls" which translates to more enjoyment for them.
  • Referees will develop more confidence faster which should positively affect retention.
Heartland continues to recruit for new Referees, especially from the player pool.  These are the people that best understand how the game of soccer should be played. In every new Referee class, we ask the question: have you ever had a Referee that made a call you didn't understand?  Almost every hand goes up. Players who become Referees understand the impact of their decisions on the game. Getting players to participate as Referees helps the game to grow better. When we ask new Referees if they want to be an Assistant Referee on the coach's side or the parents' side, what do you think they say?  Congratulations to the coaches, because this is the side where the Referees want to be.

Fans also make a big difference in the retention of Referees.  Most of your Referees (80%) are under the age of 18. For many this is their first job.  Your support of their efforts can be the difference in whether they work harder or they quit.   Yes, they are being paid to officiate. I hear from some of you that you expect value for your investments.  That is why we have the Mentor program. And that is why we encourage you to share your opinions with your coaches so they can share them with the Referee Administration.  Would you respond differently if the young Referee was your child?  

Yes, we have optimism that the Spring season will be the best season ever at Heartland.  No one has lost a game, been given a caution or send off, or experienced a "bad" call. But we see that there are issues in terms of the number of officials.  Commit to help us make this an issue that does not affect the future of the game at Heartland. How can you be a part of the solution? Be understanding. Consider getting certified as a Referee so the calls will be better, and we will have the number of Referees to cover the matches.  

 To learn more or to sign up for a clinic:
Thank you.  See you on the pitch this Spring.

First time checking out The Midfielder?
Executive Director Shane Hackett explains why this is a 
great tool for players, coaches and parents. 
Sign the petition and show the world that Kansas City deserves to be a host city for the WORLD CUP!!!

Sign the Petition

Kansas City - In The Heart of It All

#KC2026 #United2026
Go behind the scenes at Children's Mercy Park! Learn about the history of Sporting KC and take a look at the Pitch, Press Box, Broadcast Booth, Locker Room & more! For more information contact Kylie Perkins at
[email protected]  or 913-912-7578.
2020 Awards Gala
Heartland Soccer Association held its 3rd Annual Awards Gala on April 8, 2020 at the Museum at Prairiefire in Overland Park. Thank you to everyone who supported our Gala! Over 200 attended the annual event and we gave out over 60 awards! We are so grateful to our generous community and we are so proud of all of our award winners. Of course without our sponsors, this event wouldn't be the success that it was. What a great way to honor our soccer community and kick off the spring season!

February Health Tip:
Ease back into Springtime Sports 

Spring can be a peak time for injuries as people rush back into warm weather sports without being properly prepared, an expert says.

"Many weekend warriors either may not be exercising during the week, or if they are, they're not exercising in ways that help prevent injury before going full force into a weekend of playing sports," Dr. Justin Connor, pediatric orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Overland Park Regional Medical Center

"In these adults, I see a lot of acute tendon or muscle injuries, such as a torn Achilles tendon or a pulled hamstring. Teens tend to have a lot of overuse injuries. Many teen athletes play multiple sports or play the same sport on multiple teams, so they're at risk for tendonitis, stress fractures and shin splints," Dr. Connors says.

He offers a number of injury prevention tips.

"Weekend warriors and recreational athletes should include some type of athletic training during the week, ideally twice a week, to help strengthen the muscles they use in their dominant sport," Dr. Connors says.

Even working out once a week can decrease the likelihood of injury. Training should mimic the sport played and include more explosive types of exercises, such as jumping rope, lifting weights or sprint intervals, he recommends.

Teenagers who play sports multiple days in a row need to take time off for recovery too. Dr. Connors recommends that teens relax and let their muscles and tendons rest on days off.

Besides helping to prevent injury, there's an extra benefit from rest - a positive impact on performance.

"Teens also should strive for good nutrition to properly fuel their bodies. They should eat meals between practices that include vegetables and lean proteins and stay well hydrated with water and sports drinks," Dr. Connors says.

It's important to make sure any injury is fully healed before heading back to play. Going back too soon puts athletes at risk of repeat injuries.

But, he said it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between an injury and soreness. A little soreness for a few days is normal.

"In general, be aware of what feels or sounds like a 'snap' or 'pop,' or any swelling or pain that gets worse. These usually indicate an injury that needs medical attention," Dr. Connor says.

HCA Midwest Health is the official healthcare provider for Heartland Soccer Association and we work with parents and coaches to keep athletes safe and on the field of play year round, learn more about our services at  

Coaches Corner

Order online at Minsky's for Love Your Pet Week & Help Chain of Hope!

Pet owners, this one's for you! National Love Your Pet Day is February 20, but Minsky's is extending the celebration - and helping Chain of Hope - for an entire week!
Monday, February 17th - Sunday February 23rd, when you order any Large Gourmet Minsky's Pizza online and use the special online ordering code:

Minsky's will donate $1.50 for each large gourmet pizza ordered to help support Chain of Hope and you'll receive $1.50 off your large gourmet pizza!
Plus, adopt a pet at Chain of Hope this week and receive a coupon for a FREE Small Gourmet Pizza!
Help Chain of Hope find forever homes for KC dogs and cats. Join Minsky's for "Love Your Pet" week and help our friends at Chain of Hope!
Monday, February 17 - Sunday February 23, 2020. To activate donation, just enter the online order code at checkout: CHAINOFHOPE
$1.50 donation & $1.50 discount will apply to all large gourmet pizzas ordered using the valid online order code.
Dear All,

The new season is almost upon us! 

The seeding saga is over and the schedule is being set. In multiple age groups we had many teams all requesting the same division. We tried to accommodate everyone but with those numbers it was impossible. We appreciate your patience and we assure you every decision is based on trying to make competitive divisions.

The schedule will be posted February 19 th after 5PM. Again, every attempt is made to accommodate scheduling requests but with over 1300 teams some of those are impossible.

The first weekend of league play is Feb 28 th through March 1 st . That is also the weekend of the Border Battle tournament so we are definitely hitting the ground running.

Enjoy what is left of your Winter and get ready to watch the players back on the pitch this Spring. 

Thanks and GO CHIEFS!!!!

Heartland Staff.

 Congratulations to Acacia Weis (Salina, KS) for representing Kansas ODP and Kansas Rush Wichita at the 2019 US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Thanksgiving Interregional in Boca Raton, Florida last week. Acacia played for the 2005 Midwest team that finishes the event with a 1-1-1 record highlighted by a 3-2 win vs East ODP. Congrats Acacia and way to represent Kansas Youth Soccer! #KansasODP #KansasYouthSoccer #USYouthSoccer
The Referee Corner
Let's celebrate our 2019 Referee Award winners ... 

On February 8 th Heartland and KSYSA will sponsor the "Gala Awards" banquet.  This is our opportunity to celebrate outstanding efforts by players, administrators, coaches, and the Referee Award winners.&nbsnbsp; 
We understand that every Referee performance is important whether you are a player, a coach, a fan or a Referee.  It is difficult to single out individual achievements from the Referee family, because we succeed or fail as a group.  But, when we see extra efforts, we need to point them out. This is what we are doing with the Referee Awards. We are pleased to share those of our family who have been selected for this extra recognition with you.

Iron Man:  Showing up for assignments is the first step in the job of being a soccer Referee. These officials did this more than anyone else. When you think of the weather in Kansas, this means they worked in the cold, the wet, the heat and the wind.  
Each of these winners did more than 160 matches in 2019:
  • Sterling Hammett
  • Brooklyn Swanger
  • Alan Rosenak
  • Jason Schierbaum
  • John Knapp
  • Davis Kinch
  • Cole Moberly
  • Oliseh Chuks
  • Mark Kinch
Outstanding Assistant Referees:  This award recognizes consistent effort and performance in the role of an Assistant Referee.  Everyone would like to have these officials on their line.
  • Christina Gbenado
  • Leah Cooper
  • Gabrielle Klein
  • Adam Wiman
  • Anabel Brigmann
  • Evelyn Vitali
Rookies of the Year:  In 2019 we certified over 500 new Referees.  This award recognizes those who distinguished themselves through their performance in their first year as a certified Referee:
  • Joshua Huayaban
  • Sierra Pint
  • Eric Munch
Most Improved:  When effective Referees work hard to improve, their efforts are visible to the Field Marshalls, the coaches, the players and the fans.  These Referees continued to strive to get even more consistent and effective throughout the year:
  • Keegan Ellis
  • Chris Nosworthy
  • Raghav Rao
  • Sydney Hammett
Referee of the Year:  This prestigious award goes to a Referee that anyone would be happy to see in the middle of their match.
  • Ryan Frier
State Referee Committee Service Awards:  The State Referee Committee Service Award recognizes contributions made by the recipient in service to other Referees in their areas of emphasis.  These are contributions which will be realized for a long time after the recipient "retires". These contributions will be perpetuated by the "next generation" of Referees.  This Award is given to people who have contributed this extra level of service to the development of the Kansas Referee. Our winners for 2019 share a common role, that of Referee Assignors.  It is their responsibility to match Referees to specific games and to build Referee confidence as a result of their assigning decisions. This is a vital role and a very difficult one to do every weekend.  The 2019 winners put their heart and their head into this role and have made a difference that everyone understands.
  • Jeff Bingman
  • Blaine Hougland
Thank you to all our Referee team.  We share with the Referee family in recognizing these individual accomplishments.


Registration Deadline is March 9 th , 2020!

2020 Kansas State Cup:
Winners of State Cup advance to the Midwest Regional Championships in Westfield, IN June 19 th - 24 th , 2020!  #KSStateCup  #RoadToKS

2020 Kansas Presidents Cup:
Winners of Presidents Cup advance to the Midwest Presidents Cup in St. Louis, MO June 11 th , - 15 th , 2020!   #KSPresidentsCup  #RoadToNV

2020 Kansas Jr. State Cup:
Games may be played from May 29 th - June 2 nd , 2020.  #KSJrStateCup  #TeamKansas

Papa J ohn's Heartland Referee Spotlight:

Q&A with Sierra
When did you start reffing?  May 2019
What made you decide to get certified to referee?  Well, money was the main reason. But I also wanted to do better than some of the bad reffing I've seen.
What is your favorite part about reffing?  I like feeling a part of the community. And the little kids are so stinking cute!
What is a life lesson you feel you have learned from reffing?  Being comfortable talking to many different types of people.
What level of referee to you aspire to be?  I don't really have a goal of reaching a certain level, I just want to become a better referee.
Do you play soccer?  Yes, I do play soccer.  All the leagues I've played for include: OP Soccer Club, FCKC (When it was still FCKC) and now Leawood Parks and Rec. 
How long have you played soccer?  Since I was 6, so 7 years.
Do you participate in any sports/activities?  Extra activities I enjoy doing are: choir, art and reading.
Do you have another job in addition to reffing?  Yes, I babysit.
What was the last book you read?  It's a series called Let the Sky Fall .  It's science fiction, so it's about a bunch of supernatural things. Probably when they end up defeating the enemy from the past 3 books was my favorite part.
What types of movies do you like?  I like romance movies.  The last movie I watched was Dumplin'.  My favorite part was that she gains her self confidence and her self acceptance in the movie.
What is your favorite sports team?  US Women's National Team.  PS my favorite players are Crystal Dunn and Rose Lavelle.  

Coaching Courses for 2020 to be announced soon!

To get course details and learn how to register CLICK HERE

Matt Gordon
Coaching Education Department
10529 South Warwick St. | Olathe, KS 66061
[email protected]
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]

Register Now for 2019-2020 Kansas ODP!

Kansas ODP is looking for the very best youth players looking to enhance their technical and tactical ability as a player.  Players born from 2003-2008 are eligible to participate in these player evaluation trainings that take place throughout the year.  Kansas ODP is separate from your club team and you train with players from across Kansas.  

NEED MORE DETAILED INFORMATION? CLICK HERE or contact the Kansas ODP Administrator. 
Amy Cramer
Kansas ODP Administrator
10529 South Warwick St. | Olathe, KS 66061
[email protected] D irect Line:  913-991-3690

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]  
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 Spring 2020 Season.
AB May
Academy Sports and Outdoors
AC Print
Big Whiskey
BFAME KC Entertainment
Commercial Capital
Dave and Buster's
Dick's Sporting Goods
Drs. Hawks, Besler, Rogers & Stoppel
Discount Tire
First Watch
Hasty Awards
HCA Midwest Health
Heritage Tractor Supply
Jason's Deli
Jimmy John's
Kansas City Comets
Krusich Dental
Land of Paws
Lenny's Subs
Levine Advertising
Menorah Medical Center
Minsky's Pizza
Molle Toyota
Momo Bands
Museum at Prairiefire
Overland Park Regional Medical Center
Overland Park Ballroom
Papa John's
Raising Cane's
Rob Ellerman and 
Reece Nichols Real Estate
Research Medical Center
Rock and Brews
R Todd Laytham CPA, LLC
Salty Iguana
Security Bank
Scooter's Coffee
Soccer Master
Spin Pizza
Starting Point Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
Sporting Kansas City
Storage Mart
Swope Park Rangers
Taco Bell
The Rub Bar-B-Que
The Storage Place
T-riffic T-shirts
Urban Air

"Why be a critic when YOU can be THE REFEREE!"

Register Now to become a referee! New Entry Level Referee Courses Available Now! Just click the link below to find one near you!