The Midfielder
Heartland Soccer Association Newsletter
September 2020

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.
The Heartland Invitational Driven by Discount Tire continues its reputation as the biggest and best tournament in the Kansas City area. Split over two weekends (Girls weekend and Boys weekend) to accommodate the number of teams wanting a chance to compete one last time. In 2019, over 750 teams from throughout the central United States traveled to compete in this end-of-the-year showdown. Our access to additional fields allows us to accommodate the many teams looking for a competitive season finale.

2020 HIT - Girls
Driven by Discount Tire
SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex
GARMIN Olathe Soccer Complex

November 6th - 8th, 2020
Registration Deadline:
October 5th, 2020

2020 HIT - Boys
Driven by Discount Tire
SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex
GARMIN Olathe Soccer Complex

November 13th - 15th, 2020
Registration Deadline:
October 12th, 2020

Midwest All Boys
GARMIN Olathe Soccer Complex 
September 25th - 27th, 2020 
Registration Closed

Join us for the second Midwest All Boys Tournament. This  tournament is the companion to our long-time Midwest All Girls tournament which brings together thousands of girls with more than 300 teams from throughout the Midwest. The Midwest All Boys presents a great opportunity for your team to test itself against compatible skilled level teams from many different states. The tournament will be hosted at the new GARMIN Olathe Soccer Complex featuring all turf soccer fields.
 Midwest All Girls
Fueled by Tohi
SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex
GARMIN Olathe Soccer Complex
Multiple levels of play
October 2nd - 4th, 2020
Registration Closed

This long-time classic tournament brings together thousands of girls with more than 300 teams from throughout the Midwest, presenting a great opportunity for your team to test itself against compatible skilled level teams from many different states. The tournament will be hosted at the SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex and the GARMIN Olathe Soccer Complex. 

SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex (OP)
13700 Switzer Rd Overland Park, KS 66221 Located at 135th and Switzer just south of the Blue Valley District Athletic Complex.
Click to View Field Maps and Location Details

 GARMIN Olathe Soccer Complex (OSC)
10541 S Warwick St Olathe, KS 66061
Click to View Field Maps and Location Details

Compass Minerals Sporting Fields (CMSF)
1500 N 90 St Kansas City, KS 66112
Click to View Field Maps and Location Details

 Swope Soccer Village (SSV)
6310 Lewis Road Kansas City, MO 64132
Click to View Field Maps and Location Details

 Compass Minerals National Performance Center
1913 Pinnacle Way Kansas City, KS 66111
Click to View Field Maps and Location Details

Get Your Kickin' Chicken at a Kansas or Missouri Restaurant Near You! 8 Local Locations

Concussion ImPACT Testing
2019/ 2020 Tournament Numbers
(number of teams)
Border Battle '20
Heartland Spring Cup '20155
KC Champions Cup '19
Mother's Day Classic '19449
Kansas City Invitational '19282
Heartland Fall Friendlies '20
Fall Kick Off Challenge '20
Heartland Midwest Classic '20
Midwest All Boys '20
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.
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


2020 Heartland Numbers

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

Register Now for the Grassroots D License in Wichita, KS.


Dates:  Part 2 - October 16-18, 2020 
Location:  Stryker Soccer Complex;
2999 N Greenwich Wichita, KS 67226

*COVID-19 Safety protocols will be utilized during this course.  
More details to be provided to candidates participating in course leading into course.

FYI:  ALL coaches wishing to be on a State Cup team roster will need to have a minimum of a Grassroots D License for 2020-2021, per the tournament rules. 

The Pediatric Center at Overland Park Regional Medical Center is  partnering with Athletic Testing Solutions to offer HeartCheck on Wednesday, October 21 from 5 - 8 p.m.
Athletic Testing Solutions will be onsite providing echocardiograms (heart ultrasound) and EKGs for kids ages 8 to 25.  The testing is designed to identify congenital and genetic heart conditions that often go undetected or are misdiagnosed. Appointments take approximately 30-minutes and are completely painless. Learn more and reserve your child's spot today at

This Month in History: September

 During World War 1 women in England were needed to work factories while many men were away fighting. Eventually football clubs were formed by women as they played the game with their male counterparts as noticed by an employee at Dick, Kerr. Alfred Franklin urged women to form a factory team and play for charity forming the Dick, Kerr Ladies F.C. football club. Their debut game had over 10,000 fans to witness their 4-0 win. They continued to play for charity giving to wounded soldiers with their revenue. In 1921 the Ladies F.C. had come to North America to embark on an ambitious 20 game tour as a result of women's football being banned by the England Football Association for fear of threats to the men's side. They first arrived in Canada however the Canadian governing body had banned women's football, so the Ladies headed to the US. On September 24, 1922 the Ladies prepare for their first game against Paterson Football Club a men's side as part of the American Soccer League although the Ladies lost their skill impressed many spectators. It was one of only three losses on their nine-game tour against mostly men's teams. Ladies F.C. continued as a club until 1965 despite the ban from the FA.

Czubinski, Grant. (June 9, 2015). Dick, Kerr Ladies in Washington, DC, 1922.
Order New Apparel Today!
HSA apparel
2020 Heartland Referee Meetings
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, 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:

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

"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!

Sand Soccer Comes to Kansas!

Kansas Youth Soccer is excited to bring the opportunity for youth players to experience the game of sand soccer!  This exciting game is perfect for all levels of players to participate in during future summer months and we hope your club or team takes the time to see what programming they can offer to help improve your overall game.
Please join us in welcoming  Thunder Beach KC Sand Soccer to the Kansas Youth Soccer Family as our newest League Member!
Official announcement:  CLICK HERE

Questions or interest please email at: [email protected]

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.
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 2020 Season.

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]
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] 
AB May
Academy Sports and Outdoors
AC Print
BFAME KC Entertainment
Commercial Capital
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
R Todd Laytham CPA, LLC
Salty Iguana
Security Bank
Scooter's Coffee
Soccer Master
Spin Pizza
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City II
Starting Point Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
Storage Mart
Swope Park Rangers
Taco Bell
The Rub Bar-B-Que
T-riffic T-shirts
Urban Air

With 252 teams, the Heartland Midwest Classic Presented by Museum at Prairiefire was a great success and a wonderful way to celebrate the Labor Day weekend. This early tournament brought in all ages and level of play. Teams enjoyed playing on World Class turf at both the SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex and GARMIN Olathe Soccer Complex. Thank you to everyone who participated and congratulations!

If you have pictures from the tournament, we would love to see them! You can email them to [email protected]

Heartland Soccer is excited to once again partner with Tohi, title sponsor of the Midwest All Girls Tournament, and HCA Midwest Health as we GO PINK at SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex for Breast Cancer Awareness.

The Midwest All Girls Tournament fueled by Tohi, the Official Healthy Lifestyle Beverage of Heartland Soccer, will be held October 2-4, 2020 at the SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex. The tournament is set to boast over 300 teams from multiple states, drawing thousands of children, parents, grandparents and families from across the region in one of the Kansas City metropolitan area's largest all-girl annual soccer tournaments.   

Tohi is a Kansas City-based wellness brand innovating antioxidant-rich beverages from Aronia Berries grown in the Midwest. Tohi has all the attributes and functionality consumers value including non-GMO and Kosher certified, no sugar added and low in calories.  The clean label beverages can be found at retail stores throughout the Midwest and online at drinktohi.comAmazon and Walmart Marketplace. "Tohi beverages are beneficial for athletes of all ages and we are thrilled to be partnered with Heartland Soccer to reach families focused on a healthy, active lifestyle," commented Shari Coulter Ford, CEO and Co-Founder of Tohi Ventures.  
Heartland Soccer and Tohi, along with HCA Midwest Health will PINK OUT the SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex tournament weekend. The GO PINK presence is designed to raise awareness for October's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and remind women to get their mammogram because early detection saves lives. 
Field marshals and tournament staff will be dressed in PINK attire and fans and supporters are encouraged to wear PINK to show their support.
"We value our partnership with Heartland Soccer Association and SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex as we work together to help keep kids safe on and off the fields," says Dr. Anne Kobbermann, M.D. Board-certified and Fellowship-trained Breast Surgical Oncologist at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Overland Park Regional and Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Menorah Medical Center. "We love this community event as it also gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of early detection-and that it helps saves lives when it comes to diagnosing and treating breast cancer."
"Our partnership with HCA Midwest Health is a valuable asset to the community and to our organization as we make a positive impact with athlete's safety on and off the field," says Shane Hackett, Executive Director, Heartland Soccer Association. "This event has always been incredibly energizing.  Saturday's unique partnership will help raise awareness for a disease that affects thousands of women each year- and what better time to do that than during one of the region's most popular all-girls tournaments." 
About HCA Midwest Health 
HCA Midwest Health is the Kansas City area¹s leading healthcare provider consisting of seven hospitals, outpatient centers, clinics, physician practices, surgery centers and an array of other services to meet the healthcare needs of the greater Kansas City area. HCA Midwest Health is one of the area¹s largest private sector employers with more than 9,000 employees, the largest provider of charity and uncompensated care, and annually donates more than $1.2 million to local charities. Since April 2003, HCA Midwest Health has invested more than $845 million to enhance and expand patient services and has paid more than $216 million in taxes to local communities. HCA Midwest Health facilities serving the Kansas City area include Belton Regional Medical Center, Centerpoint Medical Center, Lafayette Regional Health Center, Lee's Summit Medical Center, Menorah Medical Center, Overland Park Regional Medical Center, Research Medical Center and Research Psychiatric Center.  Midwest Physicians, which is part of HCA Midwest Health, is a network of experienced, multi-specialty physicians located throughout the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area.  Midwest Physicians currently represents 344 physicians, including 142 primary care providers and 197 specialists with 80 physician practices providing care in 146 locations to serve the community. The physicians, licensed professionals and support staff who comprise the HCA Midwest Health team are dedicated to improving healthcare in the Greater Kansas City and outlying areas.  For more information, visit . For more information on Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HCA Midwest Health, visit

About Tohi Ventures
Tohi is an emerging wellness brand innovating antioxidant-rich products from a trending specialty crop, Aronia Berries. Aronia is native to North America and Tohi sources Aronia directly from Midwestern growers across seven states, supporting their sustainable growing practices. Tohi is the creation of two female friends, each with significant healthcare, entrepreneurial and investment experience and a shared philosophy of a nutrition first approach to wellness. For more information, visit Fans can follow Tohi on InstagramFacebook and LinkedIn.

About Heartland Soccer Association
Heartland Soccer Association is the region's largest youth soccer league with approximately 1,500 league teams, 3,000 tournament teams, 72,000 players, 4,000 coaches and 2,000 referees participating annually. Heartland Soccer Association was formed in 1977 as the Johnson County Soccer League and has grown from an initial 600 players to its current size. Today Heartland Soccer Association is a nonprofit and educational youth soccer association. Although the base for Heartland Soccer is still in Johnson County, it now draws teams to play in the league from throughout the metro area. The Heartland tournaments draw teams from as many as a dozen states every year. For more information, visit .

1) How is the start of the season going given the circumstances? I think everyone was excited to finally get back on the fields and start practicing this summer. Fall league is underway with mandatory mask requirements for all spectators. The first three tournaments of the season have been record numbers but with mainly local teams in attendance. I don't expect we will see many of our teams traveling out of state and many teams traveling into KC this season.   

We lost access to the Compass Minerals Sporting Fields this season so we are back at Heritage Soccer Park. The fields are in nice shape since we haven't played on them in a couple of years. We started there in 1977 so maybe it's a little bit of a homecoming.

2) Heartland has put in lots of great protocols to keep everyone safe, what decisions went into these? We have worked with our health partners, the local governments and US Youth Soccer to establish Return To Play Guidelines. Our goal is allow our kids to continue to play the game of soccer and, to date, we have not seen any evidence of cluster outbreaks since the return of practice and games. We have been told being outdoors plays a large part and everyone playing their part with masks and social distancing is important to stop the spread of Covid-19.  

3) Will tournaments the remainder of the year look any different? This season we added two early tournaments since we moved the start of league back two weeks. The Fall Friendlies and Heartland Open Cup were both well attended. The Fall Kickoff Challenge and Midwest Classic had record registration as has the Midwest All Boys which have closed registration. The Midwest All Girls and Heartland Invitational Tournaments are the largest tournaments in the Midwest. I don't expect to see large numbers of out of town teams traveling here but do expect to see more local teams playing.  

4) What advice do you have for student-athletes getting back into the groove of school (whether that's in-person or online)? 
The best advice is enjoying being out on the pitch with your teammates and friends. My youngest daughter plays in Heartland and its great to see her play again. Next week my grandson starts back up and I'll be out there coaching with my son.  It's such a great time.  

5) Any new updates we should be aware of? 
Two things. First, we've had a lot of interest in our Winter Outdoor League.   We will be expanding the age groups for the first time to include U9 and above. All the games will be played at GARMIN Olathe Soccer Complex and SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex with weeknight and weekend games. Registration is open.  

Second, our Heartland Futsal League is the largest futsal league in the country and teams are registering now. Futsal is one of the best ways to work on small balls skills and development. I know first hand from coaching and watching the skill development of my own children that futsal is an excellent way to enhance playing ability over the winter months.   
Visit SCHEELS, your retail destination.

Our top priority is to get back on the field in the safest way possible for our players, referees and coaches. We appreciate the adjustments you have made to handle recent changes and are grateful for your patience as we determine the safest route for our players and staff.

The guidelines below are effective immediately and will remain in effect until further notice.

  • All spectators and visitors must wear masks inside the soccer complex for league and tournament play.
  • Social distancing must take place off the field. This includes players/coaches on the sidelines & parents/guardians/siblings/etc. during their visit to the facility.
  • All individuals are required to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth when entering and exiting the complex or when unable to social distance.
  • See references below for exceptions and more information.
  • Continue to follow proper precautions (i.e. wash/sanitize hands, stay home if sick, avoid touching face, wear a mask, etc.).
  • Do not share sports equipment.
  • Vulnerable populations are asked to stay home.
  • If you get sick, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment recommends you isolate at home for 10 days after the onset of symptoms, until you are fever free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, and until you have a significant improvement in symptoms.
  • Be aware of all travel-related quarantine mandates if you travel from out of state.
Principles and Responsibilities:Club/League/Tournament Responsibilities:
  • Create and distribute protocols to members.
  • Have an effective communication plan in place.
  • Maintain participant confidentiality regarding health status.
  • Have an action plan in place, in case of notification of a positive test result.
  • Train and educate all staff on protocols and requirements, including state and local regulations, CDC recommendations and other necessary safety information.
  • Be prepared to shut down and stop operations.
  • Provide adequate field space for social distancing.
  • Provide hand sanitizing stations and waste receptacles at fields for individual participant use.
  • Develop a relationship and a dialogue with local health officials.
  • If a staff member gets sick, isolate at home for 10 days after the onset of symptoms, until you are fever free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, and until you have a significant improvement in symptoms.
Coach Responsibilities:
  • Take your temperature daily to ensure you are fever free.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after training.
  • Bring, and use, hand sanitizer with you at every training.
  • Ensure the health and safety of the participants.
  • Inquire how the athletes are feeling. Send home anyone you believe acts or looks ill.
  • Practice social distancing, place bags and equipment at least 6 feet apart.
  • No group celebrations, high-5s, hugs, handshakes, fist-bumps, etc.
  • Follow all state and local health protocols and guidelines.
  • Ensure all athletes have their own individual equipment (ball, water, bag etc.)
  • Ensure that the coach is the only person to handle equipment (e.g. cones, disk etc.); do not enlist parental or attendee assistance.
  • All training should be conducted outdoors and compliant with social distancing per state or local health guidelines.
  • Always wear a face mask.
  • Coaches should maintain social distance requirements from players based on state and local health requirements.
  • Have fun, stay positive - players and parents are looking to you for leadership.
  • If a coach gets sick, isolate at home for 10 days after the onset of symptoms, until you are fever free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, and until you have a significant improvement in symptoms.
  • Provide substitute coach(es) in the event that a coach is unable to attend games due to illness.
Parent Responsibilities:
  • Ensure your child is healthy, and check your child's temperature before activities with others.
  • Consider not carpooling or very limited carpooling.
  • Wear a mask if outside your car.
  • Ensure all equipment (cleats, ball, shin guards etc.) are sanitized before and after every training and game.
  • Notify your coach immediately if your child becomes ill for any reason.
  • Do not assist your coach with equipment before or after training.
  • Be sure your child has necessary sanitizing products with them at every training.
  • If a parent gets sick, isolate at home for 10 days after the onset of symptoms, until you are fever free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, and until you have a significant improvement in symptoms.
Player Responsibilities:
  • Take your temperature daily to ensure you are fever free.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after training.
  • Bring, and use, hand sanitizer with you at every training.
  • Wear a mask before and immediately after all training and games. Players are notrequired to wear masks during the games, warm-up and training.
  • Do not touch or share anyone else's equipment, water, food or bags.
  • Practice social distancing, place bags and equipment at least 6 feet apart.
  • Wash and sanitize all equipment before and after every training.
  • No group celebrations, high-5s, hugs, handshakes, fist-bumps, etc.
  • Follow all CDC guidelines as well those of your local health authorities
  • All participants should be required to bring and fill their own containers.
  • Water containers/bottles must not be shared.
  • Communal drink stations such as hydration carts should not be used. Participants are encouraged to bring larger than normal water containers to limit the need for refilling.
  • Significant consideration must be given in devising plans for refilling personal water containers, if necessary, without contamination from participants. Extra care should be taken to sanitize any coolers used.
  • Administrators should not assist with the personal water containers of participants and staff.
  • If a player gets sick, isolate at home for 10 days after the onset of symptoms, until you are fever free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, and until you have a significant improvement in symptoms.
We hope you are having a great Fall 2020 season so far. We have seen some great games already and know that it will continue through the next couple of months.

We are all pulling together to make sure the kids get to keep on playing this season, with all of the uncertainty around us. Wearing of masks by spectators is MANDATORY at all times inside the complexes. We understand this is a tiny inconvenience for us adults and coaches but could be the difference between us playing or not. When we think of it that way there should be no discussion.

Coaches and team administrators, please remember to go and grab your player cards after each game. Often the referees will bring them back to you, but there are times when they are running to other games when they won't have time to return them. The cards are kept in the plastic tubs at the corner of the field where the referees congregate. Please ensure you have them before you leave the complex.

Please also remember to fill out your roster cards before the game and have them ready for check in. There were 8 in the league packet that you received at the start of the season. If you do happen to forget one, please go to the referee check in area as they will have a spare.

Thanks as always for your support of the league.

Heartland Staff
The Referee Blog
Does it feel good to be back playing soccer?  What are we continuing to do to keep the complex open and to make Heartland the league where you want to play?

2020 has been a "unique" year.  I have been on vacation, but this past weekend I had the opportunity to be a part of the Heartland Soccer Association Fall 2020 season at the SCHEELS Overland Park complex.  Here are some of my observations of the social experience that we call soccer.

It was different to hear the loudspeaker come on every hour to remind everyone that there are some new rules that are being enforced this fall.  If you were out there you heard the reminder that masks and social distancing are the new normal.  I appreciate the efforts by most of our fans to "be smart and to be safe".  Masks were the norm.  I did see one of our young Assistant Referees working on the parents' sideline wearing a mask.  That caught my attention.  Then we looked over at the sideline and noticed that there were a few the fans that had taken their masks off.  The young official was being safe and smart.  When the Field Marshall asked the fans to "mask up" they did it without complaint and the day went on.

For those of us at the SCHEELS complex on Saturday, we experienced something else that was new.  Stinging gnats were everywhere, and they were making watching the matches a little difficult.  I watched the fans on Field 1, and it was like everyone was doing the Macarena (slap your arms and then your legs and the repeat).  2020 has its share of new experiences.

What really impressed me was the normalcy.  The teams were excited when they went on the field.  When the Referees blew their whistles to start the matches you felt the enthusiasm of the players and the passion of the coaches and the fans.  It was the game we love being played on the world-class soccer fields we have at Heartland Soccer.

In July and August Kansas certified 133 new Referees.  The Mentor program implemented at Heartland works with these Referees (new and experienced) to help them get better to improve your Heartland soccer experience.  I saw many of these new officials working alongside more experienced Referees at your matches this weekend.  Overall, I am happy with their development.  Let me some feedback from coaches on how they are doing at the start of the season:
  • I just wanted to compliment our Referee today... Our team even lost, but he was consistent and competent.  He didn't call every little touch, but also didn't allow the game to get out of hand.  He always asked each player if he was OK when down.  The Referee is 17 years old and has been working at Heartland since he was 12.  Experience and mentoring made a difference with this Referee.  He is also a Peer mentor.
  • I just wanted to tell you what a great job your center Referee did for this game.  He had 2 pretty inexperienced AR's, but he worked with them.  He called advantage like he should have... He was joking and talking to the sidelines.  I wish he could Referee all the games!  I know you don't get many positive things said about a Referee, so I wanted to make sure you were aware and pass it along to the Referee.  This Referee is 35 years old and just started working as a Referee in 2020.
It would be wonderful if every match generated compliments from the coaches and the fans.  Of course, this is not the case.  We have received our share of complaints also.  This is to be expected when the level of passion is as high as it is at Heartland.  We appreciate the compliments and deal with the complaints.  

We know a successful League is measured by the quality of the venue (not a problem with Heartland - even with Heritage back in the mix for this season), the quality of the competition (yes, we have seen some lopsided scores this season, but many of the matches have been close), and the quality of the Referees.  We will continue to do what we can to improve the quality of the Referees.  How can you help us be successful, so Referees stay around and get better?  Now that is a good question.
 Health Tip:
Youth Sports Participation During COVID-19: A Safety Checklist

HCA Midwest Health wants to remind you that as youth sports start back up in some communities, remember these steps to help keep players, coaches and families safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the Sports season starts:
Check to make sure sports and recreation activities are approved by your local and the state government.
Understand the new safety rules and expectations for participation during COVID-19.
Each child should have their own cloth face covering, hand sanitizer, towel, water bottle, and tissues labeled with their names.
All youth athletes should have an up-to-date sports physical before participating.
Prior to practice or games:
Athletes should stay home from practice or game if they're feeling sick or have a fever.
Wash hands before arriving, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren't available.
Bring labeled (with name) personal sports equipment, water bottle, towel, tissues, hand sanitizer, and cloth face covering.
Stay in the car or assigned school location until the coach is ready to start practice.
Avoid gathering in groups before practice, maintain social distance and wear a cloth face mask.
During sports practice or games:
Whenever possible, athletes maintain 6-8 feet of physical distance during drills and conditioning.
When possible and safe, athletes should each wear cloth face covering--especially on the sideline , in dugouts, and during team chats. However, masks should not be worn during:
  • Active exercise.
  • Water sports.
  • Sports where face covering could get caught on equipment or accidently cover eyes. 
Avoid these behaviors:
Huddles, high-fives, fist bumps, handshakes, etc.
Sharing food or drink with teammates.
Cheering, chanting, or singing when closer than 6-8 feet from others.
Spitting or blowing nose without tissue.
Store personal equipment 6-8 feet away from other teammates' equipment.
Minimize sharing sports equipment when possible.
Sanitize hands before and after using shared equipment such as balls, bats and sticks. 
Tell a coach if you are not feeling well and leave practice or game with a parent or caregiver.

After sports practice or games:
Sanitize or wash hands.
Wash cloth face coverings, towel and practices clothes or uniform.
Clean personal sports equipment and water bottle.

Talk with your child's pediatrician if you have any questions about youth sports participation safety based on COVID-19 in your community and your child's health.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, and the National Athletic Trainers' Association.
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


Coaches Corner

Referee Corner:  
Leaving the field of play without the Referee's permission...

Last Saturday there were several incidents that led me to choosing this topic for further discussion in this month's newsletter.  This is a good topic to review both the letter and the spirit of the law.  
Let's start with what the Laws of the Game have to say.  The subject is covered in Law 12 under Cautionable offenses:

A player is cautioned if guilty of:
  • Entering, re-entering or deliberately leaving the field of play without the Referee's permission.
  1. A female soccer player said she was feeling bad and was going to throw up.  The coach told her to take a knee. The player was at the halfway line.  The Assistant Referee was also at the halfway line.  The player was confused and kept shouting "I am going to throw up!".  Finally, she took a knee, the Assistant Referee signaled to the Referee and the player was given permission to leave the field.  She went right to the trash can to throw up.  No incident on the field.
  2. In another match a player said she was injured and ran off the field.  Another player on her team ran onto the field to take her place.  She did not wait for permission from the Referee.  In this case, her team was on the attack and she immediately got involved in a play that resulted in a goal being scored.
The Law says you cannot leave the field of play without the Referee's permission.  However, we can recognize that the scenarios are not identical and do give us an opportunity to explore fairness and common sense.
In the first incident (the player who felt like she was going to throw up), we want to consider two factors:
  1. What would be the result if she did not leave the field and ended up getting sick on the pitch?
    1. If she threw up on the field, play would have to be stopped.  The Referee would have to call the facility people to clean up the mess before play could be resumed.  This would (at the League level) be done with a running clock.  The players would lose time that they could be playing.
  2. What advantage, if any, would her leaving the field give her team?
    1. I would propose that being a player down until the opportunity to substitute would not be an advantage for her team.
The Spirit of the Law would say that this player could leave the field without incurring a Yellow Card.  Everyone benefits and there is no advantage.  Let's contrast this with the second incident.
In the second incident the player subbed for the injured player without the Referee's permission and immediately got involved in an attack that resulted in a goal.  Let's look at the same considerations.
  1. What would be the result if the injured player left the field and the substitute waited for the Referee's permission to enter the field?
    1. Again, the team would be down a player, which is not an advantage.  
  2. What advantage, if any, did the unauthorized substitute give her team?
    1. She was not known to the defenders as a player.  By getting involved in the play she was able to create a scoring advantage for her team (which we would consider to be an unfair advantage).  In this case, the Referee team must make 2 decisions:
      1. Disallow the goal
      2. Caution the player for entering the field of play without the Referee's permission
The Laws of the Game consider entering, re-entering or deliberately leaving the field of play without the Referee's permission to be misconduct sanctioned by a Yellow Card.  In the first incident there was no advantage when the sick player left the field.  In fact, it put her team at a disadvantage and by not throwing up on the field, everyone benefitted.  In the second incident the violation was when the substitute entered the field without permission and provided her team with an advantage.  

If you are sick or injured and leave the field, Referees have the flexibility to not stop the game and issue a caution.  If, however, you decide to enter or re-enter without permission, the Referees are instructed to stop the match and issue the caution.  The Laws are to be followed, but there are times when they can be bent for the benefit of everyone.  

The moral.... Ask for the Referee's permission before entering or leaving the field but understand that the Referees can make exceptions as we shared in this article.

Thank you.
Papa John's Heartland Referee Spotlight:


When did you start reffing?  
Rick- 1983
Addie-I started reffing in August. I got certified in December but wasn't able to do games until August. 
Carter- Winter 2020

What made you decide to get certified to referee?  
Rick- I was coaching my sons team and there were many times that referees were not available and we had to cancel the games
Addie- I wanted to learn more about soccer and thought reffing was a good way to do it. 
Carter- As a job and to be outside

What is your favorite part about reffing?  
Rick-How I formed life-long friendships with other refs.  It also gives me a reason to stay in shape.
Addie-Seeing different types of teams at different levels play.
Carter- Being outside

What is a life lesson you feel you have learned from reffing?   
Rick-How to read people and situations
Addie-I've learned more about the rules and understanding that it is more difficult than I thought to be a referee. 
Carter- Be kind and considerate to people who don't understand rules

When did you start reffing futsal?  

What is your favorite part about reffing futsal? 
Rick-Speed of the game

What level of referee to you aspire to be?  
Rick-I have reached my top level as the State Director of Assessors
Carter- State

Do you play soccer? 
Addie- I play for Toca 07 Girls MLS. I've played for 4 years
Carter- I play for KCSG and Olathe South. Go Falcons! I've played for 12 years.

Do you participate in any sports/activities?
Rick-Not presently as my children and their activities, grandchildren and their activities and referee position and its duties keep me busy 
Addie- I like painting and other forms of art.

What was the last book you read? 
Rick-I'll be gone by Dark by Michelle McNamara. It is about the Golden State Killer. I also enjoy any book by Harlan Corbin.
Addie- The last book I read was The Giver and my favorite part was when Jonas escaped. 
Carter- David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. It was about underdogs and overcoming odds. 

What types of movies do you like? 
Rick-Action packed and mysteries  
Addie- The last movie I watched was Wonder and my favorite part was when August was accepted. 
Carter- Action. Last movie I saw was Knives Out. Best part was exposing the killer. 

What is your favorite sports team?  
Rick-KC Chiefs or Manchester City FC and Sporting KC and the Royals
Addie- The Chiefs  
Carter- Chiefs and Manchester United