The Midfielder
Heartland Soccer Association Newsletter
October 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.
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 2021 Season.

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 CLOSED

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

November 13th - 15th, 2020
Registration CLOSED

CONTEST: 2020 has opened up some room for creativity. What was your favorite way to Have Fun while spending some time at home? Share a pic or video for a chance to win a $50 Academy Sports + Outdoors gift card. 

Jennifer Borgstadt "Snorkeling in a storage tub"

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 '20
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: October

Pele is a name synonymous with soccer or football. He is an all-time great in the game. It was an adventure for Pele, the Brazilian icon came to the United States in 1975 to invigorate the sport. Early in 1977 Pele and the New York Cosmos went on an international tour with thousands of fans at every stop wanting to meet Pele. October 1, 1977, Pele's final match, the end of an idol. There were 77,000 fans at the Giants Stadium that day to say farewell to the legend. Muhammad Ali was on the field during the pre-game festivities two of the most recognizable people on the planet. The Cosmos played Santos FC Pele's futbol club where he became a star in Brazil. In the first half of the game Pele played for Santos and scored the final goal of his career the 1,281th goal of his career and in the second half he put on his Cosmos jersey and ended his historic career. After the game both goalkeepers hoisted Pele up and did a victory lap around the field. 

Gold, Jon. (Sep 29, 2017). Farewell to the King: When Pele Played his last game 40 years ago.
Order New Apparel Today!
HSA apparel
2020 Heartland Referee Meetings
2021 dates coming soon!
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.  

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.

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
The Midwest All Girls Tournament Fueled by Tohi, the Official Healthy Lifestyle Beverage of Heartland Soccer, was held October 2-4, 2020 at the SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex. The tournament welcomed nearly 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.   
Heartland Soccer and Tohi, along with HCA Midwest Health PINKED OUT the complex. 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. 

 Health Tip:
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and at HCA Midwest Health and Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute, we are dedicated to continuing to deliver world class care in the prevention and treatment of this disease. We want to take the time this month to celebrate survivors and their loved ones, raise awareness around the importance of early detection and screening, spotlight the advances in treatment options, and provide more information on our multidisciplinary approach to holistic care.
Here are a few fast facts you should know about Breast Cancer:
  • One in eight women will be impacted by breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • In the United States, it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women
  • After lung cancer, it is the second leading cause of cancer death.
  • Every year in the United States, more than 250,000 women will be diagnosed breast cancer and 42,000 women die from the disease.
  • Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer can also affect younger women.
  • Men can also be impacted by breast cancer, but it is not as common. About 1 out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the United States affects a man.
  • Early detection is the most effective way of surviving the cancer. When found early, the chance of curing is promising; exceeding over 90 percent.
HCA Midwest Health and Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute provide a comprehensive range of early detection and prevention programs for breast cancer including mammography, clinical breast exams, enhanced surveillance, and genetic counseling and testing. If you would like more information about breast cancer, visit

Discount Tire Celebrates Second Year in Partnership with the Heartland Soccer Association as sponsors of the Heartland Invitational Tournament

Overland Park, KS (October 8, 2020) - Heartland Soccer Association, a nonprofit organization, is excited to announce that Discount Tire theOfficial Tire Supplier of Heartland Soccer Association has come on-board as the title sponsor of the Heartland Invitational Tournament Driven by Discount Tire. Heartland Soccer Association is the region's largest youth soccer league with 21,000 players ranging from ages 9 - 19 participating each season for league play. Heartland also hosts multiple tournaments each year including the Kansas City Champions Cup, which is in its 13th year and has been established as a top spring event that attracts 475-plus teams from throughout the Midwest. The Heartland Invitational Tournament by Discount Tire will be held November 6-8th and 13-15th, 2020 at the SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex and the Garmin Olathe Soccer Complex and is set to attract over 750 teams between the two weekends of play.

This far-reaching partnership with Discount Tire is part of an ongoing commitment to elevate youth soccer as a vehicle for developing well-rounded children both on-and-off the field. "When it comes to buying new tires, Discount Tire is an undisputed leader and we are proud to have them as our partner." explained Shane Hackett, Heartland Soccer Executive Director

"We look forward to celebrating a safe return to play with Heartland Soccer in 2020," said Bob Henderson, Discount Tire Vice President - Heartland Region. "With their core values of sportsmanship, integrity, discipline, respect, leadership and excellence, it made perfect sense to support their efforts through the newly rebranded Heartland Invitational Tournament Driven by Discount Tire."

As part of the partnership, Discount Tire will deliver unique programming and engagement to the Heartland Soccer Association teams, attendees onsite at the Heartland Invitational Tournament and in the local community. 

About Discount Tire
Discount Tire, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., is the world's largest independent tire and wheel retailer. Founded in 1960 by Bruce Halle, the company does business under the trade name Discount Tire in most of the U.S., America's Tire in parts of California, and as Discount Tire Direct in markets outside the reach of retail stores. The company currently serves customers as their trusted neighborhood tire retailer at more than 1,000 stores in 35 states across the country. Discount Tire is heavily involved in motorsports, serving as a primary sponsor of the No. 2 Ford Mustang driven by Brad Keselowski in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, as well as the No. 22 Ford Mustang driven by Austin Cindric in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Discount Tire is also the official wheel and tire retailer of Monster Energy AMA Supercross. For more information, visit or like Discount Tire on Facebook at

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

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.
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 share 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.

Coaches Corner
Soccer Passing Drills
1-In 1-Out
How the Drill Works: 
Players separate themselves evenly into four lines, forming a square shape. Players pass the ball to the player in the middle of the square who will then turn, 180 degrees, pass the ball to the front of the next line. The player who turns and passes then follows their pass and goes to the back of the line. The player who passed the ball to the middle player, then runs into the middle to repeat the process.

This soccer passing drill is suitable for almost any age level, focusing on passing, receiving, and turning skills. Great warmup drill for players to pass and move.
  • The players are divided in four lines that form a square, with one player starting in the middle of the square.
  • Two soccer balls are needed. Give one of the two balls to each of the two lines that are on the same side of the square.
  • Decide on set time for each round.

  1. The passing pattern starts with one of the soccer balls being passed to the player in the middle.
  2. The player in the middle receives the pass, turns 180 degrees, passes to the opposite line, and follows the pass to go to the back of that line.
  3. After the first pass, the player who passed the ball then runs into the middle to receive the second soccer ball. This player will then receive the ball, turn 180 degrees, pass to the opposite line, and follow the pass to the back of the line. The same process as the first player.
  4. This process repeats itself for the decided upon amount of time.
One touch - Depending on the age of the players and their skills, have the players use only one-touch pass in the process.
Weak Foot - Players can only pass, receive, and turn with their weaker foot.
Different Turns - Give players different turns each round (i.e. inside the foot turn, outside the foot turn, etc.)

Coaching Points: 
  • Stress that players should pass the ball accurately on the ground.
  • Excite players to give a pass to their partner that they can handle.
  • Encourage players to use the inside of their foot to pass.
  • Depending on the age and skill of the players, vary the distance between the lines.
  • When working with more developed players, try to increase the tempo and speed of play in order to challenge the players to receive and pass the ball on the run.

Referee Corner:  
Handling - You can protect yourself.  When does this become a foul?

The Midwest All Girl's Tournament was completed on Sunday.  Because of the number of questions on Referee decisions on handling offenses, we are going to talk about handling again this month.  A coach remarked that last week he was told that players would be called for handling even if they were protecting themselves, and this week he was told the opposite.  We will once again review what the Law says about handling.  Remember, the final arbiter is the Referee.  But the Referees should be applying the same standards of the Law.

Let me begin with several incidents from the tournament this weekend.  There was a delay on Field 6 because a player got hit in the face with the ball and had a serious "bloody nose". I say it was serious because the facility crew had to clean blood off the field before play could be restarted.  Did this player have the right to protect her face?  Another player was removed from Field 1, again because of a bloody nose that came as the result of getting hit in the face with the ball.  In this incident there was not blood on the field, but the player sure looked rattled on the sidelines as she waited for the Medical team to come and help her.  The question again is did this player have the right to protect herself from the ball?  Based on the results, we would agree in both cases that these players would have had a better experience if they did not get the ball in their faces. We know what happens when the player doesn't have the chance to protect themselves.  But what if they did use their hands to protect their faces?  What makes this a foul?  Let's go back to Law 12.
It is a [handball] offense if a player:
  • deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm, including moving the hand/arm towards the ball
  • scores in the opponents' goal directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper
  • after the ball has touched their or a teammate's hand/arm, even if accidental, immediately: 
    • scores in the opponents' goal
    • creates a goal-scoring opportunity
  • touches the ball with their hand/arm when:
  • the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger
  • the hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level (unless the player deliberately plays the ball which then touches their hand/arm)
The above offenses apply even if the ball touches a player's hand/arm directly from the head or body (including the foot) of another player who is close.
The focus on the Law is that when a goal or a goal scoring opportunity is created the Referee will sanction for the handling offense.  The logic, we do not score in soccer with our hands.
What if the handling is done by a defender?  The Law gives us conditions where the Referee does not have to call the foul if the ball touches a player's hand/arm:
  • directly from the player's own head or body (including the foot)
  • directly from the head or body (including the foot) of another player who is close
  • if the hand/arm is close to the body and does not make the body unnaturally bigger
  • when a player falls and the hand/arm is between the body and the ground to support the body, but not extended laterally or vertically away from the body
If the ball is played by another player who is close and the player does not have time to react, the Referee might decide to not call a handling violation.  To determine that the contact with the ball was a handball offense, the Referee is instructed to use three general criteria:
  1.  If the player moved his hand or arm to the ball; or,
  2.  If the player had sufficient reaction time to move his hand or arm out of the way of the flight of the ball and failed to do so; or,
  3.  If the player had his hand or arm in an "unnatural" position, including away from the sides ("making the body bigger") or above shoulder level.
If, in the opinion of the Referee, any of these acts occurred, a handball offense should be called.  What we saw this past weekend in multiple matches was
 defenders putting their hands in front of their chest on balls struck from multiple yards away.  The defender's coach and fans took the position that the defender was protecting themselves.  The attacker's coach and fans took the position that this was a handling violation.  This meant the Referee had to consider the three points above and decide in real time on whether to call the foul.  Since many of these incidents occurred in the Penalty Area, the result would be a Penalty Kick, an obvious game changing decision.  

The bottom line:
  • Players can and should defend themselves when the ball is coming at them quickly.  We do not want bloody noses.
  • If the result is a goal or a goal scoring opportunity, the foul will be called.
  • If the ball is coming from distance and the players put their hands to their chest, they are at risk.  If they extend their hands away from their body, they increase the odds that the Referee's application of the criteria will result in a foul.  If it is in the Penalty Area - it will be a Penalty Kick.
My challenge - if you think you can get this call correct every time, please become a Referee.
Visit SCHEELS, your retail destination.


What made you decide to get certified to referee?  
I've always been interested in it and the boredom during COVID finally pushed me over the edge to get certified.

What is your favorite part about reffing?  
The interaction with other referees and the players.

What is a life lesson you feel you have learned from reffing?   
Clear communication is key.

When did you start reffing futsal?  
I've actually never reffed futsal, but I'm considering it this year.

What level of referee to you aspire to be?  
I think reffing college games would be cool.

Do you play soccer? 
I did several years ago, but I gave it up to play tennis in high school. Part of the reason I enjoy reffing is because I feel like I still have a stake in the game in a way.

Do you participate in any sports/activities?
I really enjoyed my time on my high school tennis team.

What was the last book you read? 
Murder in Retrospect-- its an Agatha Christie murder mystery. 

What types of movies do you like? 
I like almost any movie that is based on a true story. The last one I saw was the Big Short.

What is your favorite sports team?  
Inter Milan (not to be confused with Inter-Miami!)
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]