June 2021
Heartland Soccer Association’s Spring 2021 League has officially ended and we are so proud of all of the teams that participated in both league and tournament play this season. Although the majority of the teams that participated are from the KC metropolitan area, it was fun to welcome in clubs from all across the midwest. What a wonderful season and we thank you and all of our sponsors for your ongoing support.

Fall league play kicks off August 13 and the deadline to register is July 9th. The full schedule will be posted after 5:00 p.m. on August 5th.

On top of the astonishing league numbers, we will host 8 tournament weekends this fall; starting with the Heartland College Showcase in July.

More about Heartland Soccer Association:
Heartland Soccer Association is recognized as the largest soccer league and tournament host in the United States. Our league and tournaments are held at the world class all turf soccer facilities of SCHEELS Overland Park Soccer Complex, Swope Soccer Village, Compass Minerals Sporting Fields and GARMIN Olathe Soccer Complex.

The league accepts players of all skill levels including recreational and premier level players and teams. Each year over 170+ different soccer clubs compete through the Heartland League in Spring, Fall and Winter leagues. Over 1,300+ teams and 30,000+ youth from age 8 to 19 compete each league season and many age groups have up to 9 subdivisions with 9 or more teams playing in each subdivision. The sheer number of teams allow players and teams the opportunity to compete against similarly skilled teams at all ages.

In addition to league play, Heartland Soccer Association hosts 14+ exceptional tournaments each year. Our tournaments draw in more than 2,700+ teams and 43,000+ youth players, from over 16 states including Texas, Minnesota, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Colorado and Illinois, as well as Mexico and Canada.

In league and tournaments in addition to the players, there are 4,000 coaches and 2,300 referees each year who participate.

Referee Review
Referee Corner
Let’s talk about how to get a Yellow Card…
Law 12 describes Fouls and Misconduct with Misconduct including Yellow Cards. This month we are going to review what the Law says about Cautions (Yellow Cards).

The LOTG states, “If an offense involves contact it is penalized by a direct free kick or penalty kick… Reckless is when a player acts with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, an opponent and must be cautioned”. A Direct Free Kick that is deemed RECKLESS is one way for a player to receive a Yellow Card. There are more ways though.

The Laws also state that a player is cautioned if guilty of:
Delaying a restart of play
Dissent by word or action
Entering, re-entering, or deliberately leaving the field of play without the Referee’s permission
Failing to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a dropped ball, corner kick, free kick, or throw-in.
Persistent offenses (no specific number or pattern of offenses constitutes “persistent”
Unsporting behavior

The Laws now provide for cautions for Team Officials also. Here are some of the additional details for some of these Mandatory cautions: 

Cautions for unsporting behavior. There is a list of different circumstances when a player must be cautioned for unsporting behavior including:
Attempts to deceive the Referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled.
Changes places with the goalkeeper during play without the Referee’s permission
Commits in a reckless manner a direct free kick offense.
Handles the ball to interfere with or stop a promising attack.
Commits a foul which interferes with or stops a promising attack (except for when the Referee awards a Penalty Kick for an offense which was an attempt to play the ball)
Denies an opponent an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity by an offense which was an attempt to play the ball and the Referee awards a Penalty Kick.
Handles the ball in an attempt to score a goal or in an unsuccessful attempt to stop a goal.
Makes unauthorized marks on the field of play.
Plays the ball when leaving the field of play or after being given permission to leave.
Shows a lack of respect for the game.
Uses a deliberate trick to pass the ball to the goalkeeper with the head, chest, knee, etc. to circumvent the Law.
Verbally distracts an opponent during a play or at a restart.

Celebration of a goal. Soccer is about scoring goals. The Laws outline what is not allowed in a celebration:
Gesturing or acting in a provocative, derisory, or inflammatory way
Covering the head or face with a mask or similar item
Removing the shirt or covering the head with the shirt

Delaying the restart of play.  There is a list of different circumstances when a player must be cautioned for delaying the restart of play. When does this happen? When a team is leading by a goal and wants to take time off the clock. In FIFA matches the Referee will add time to compensate for this tactic. At Heartland, we need to be decisive and stop this action because we do not add additional time. 

Yes, there are multiple offenses and tactics that will earn a player or a team official a Yellow Card. Two Yellows and you must leave the game. Understanding the Laws of the Game will help all of us better know why the Referee did or did not show the Yellow Card.
Players and team officials have a part to play in delivering Safe and Fair matches. Thank you for letting us share this part of Law 12 for our better appreciation of the beautiful game of soccer.
The Referee Blog
Come on Referee, I want an explanation for that call… 

Referees are entrusted with managing the game of soccer in accordance with the Laws of the Game. They review the Laws annually and when they are unsure of the application of the Law, they ask more experienced officials questions to better understand their options and how to make the best decision during any match. However, many times players, fans, and coaches demand that the Referee provide them with an explanation for their calls.

Soccer is a fast-paced game. It is a game that involves contact. Some contact is legal, and some is not. Referees evaluate many factors in real-time to make decisions. And, after they decide, they must go on to the next play. If they dwell on a past decision, there is good chance that they could make a mistake on the next one. Imagine what the game would be like if there was not a trained Referee.  

The culture around the world is that anyone has the right to question the Referee’s decision. What we are experiencing today is that players, coaches, and fans now want the Referee to meet with them and explain their decision. Why are they asking for this? There are a couple of reasons: (1) it could be that they want to learn, or (2) they disagree with the call and want to have their chance to get the Referee to change the call.

We are coming to the end of the season. The Referees have been gaining experience which should improve their decision making. By the end of the season, we would expect that the Referees should get more (not all) decisions right. If the coaches and fans were interested in getting an explanation with the goal of learning, we would also expect that there would be fewer demands for explanations at the end of a season. However, the demands for explanations are not slowing down.

We have said in the past that every decision a Referee makes helps them build the experience they need to make match critical decisions. Coaches and fans should have a similar growth in experience on what goes into a match critical decision. How is that working out for us at Heartland?

A couple of weeks ago, in a U11 match, parents followed a Referee into the parking lot. Did they want an explanation for calls made by the Referee so they could learn? I don’t think so. They wanted to complain about the Referee decisions. They directed ugly, threatening, and personal remark at the Referee. This was not a request for an explanation. It was abusive behavior against an adult Referee. This Referee seriously considered quitting.
In another match (U15), the parents questioned decisions by an Assistant Referee. Were they asking questions so they could learn? No, they made it clear that they were right, and the Assistant Referee was wrong. The Assistant Referee put his flag down and left the field. He made the decision to quit his multi-year Referee career. Another casualty of abusive conduct by fans.

Finally, in another match (U17), fans were not pleased with an offside decision by the Assistant Referee and the Referee. They demanded an explanation too. I was told that they did it in a very professional manner. However, the Referee did not see it as a professional request and ejected the most vocal fan. The ejected fan told me after the match that the problem was that the Referee needed to get a thicker skin and not be affected by the fans’ comments.
We can see that the right to question (complain) about calls is happening at all age groups. Our willingness to learn the Laws of the Game and understand the challenges of applying them in a dynamic game with gray areas is a major part of a successful soccer community. THANK YOU to those of you who are willing to enjoy the game without complaints!  

For those of you who believe you have the absolute right to challenge decisions and complain to the officials, I would like to offer several solutions to help us improve the quality of officiating at Heartland.  

If you have concerns about the correctness of decisions, please share these concerns with your coach. The coaches can then share your concerns with the Referee administrators. We will talk with the officials to educate them on their options and how to be even more correct in the future. If they do not respond, we will take the lead in managing them.

If you continue to complain and threaten the Referees, they will leave. We will replace them with new and less experienced Referees. These newer officials will make mistakes as they learn and get more experienced. This is not a winning strategy for anyone.

Challenging Referee calls is a part of the global soccer culture. It happens in the highest levels of competition. One of the most decorated Referees in the world responded to challenges of his decisions with the infamous “Colina stare”. I am sorry that he is not available for assignments at Heartland. If he was, how would you respond to his stare?

We need more Referees. The ways to increase our numbers are simple. We certify new Referees and retain those who are already certified. And yes, we will continue to train them to make more correct decisions more of the time. But they must come back.

We welcome you to become more knowledgeable, the become more neutral as an observer, and to consider joining the Referee family. New Entry Level Classes will begin in the mid-July time frame. You can learn more at https://www.kansasreferee.org/page/show/5761536-instruction
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. 
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 
Q&A with Annabelle
When did you start reffing?  I started reffing when I was 12

What made you decide to get certified to referee? I wanted to become a referee to understand the game better and I love being around the game.

What is your favorite part about reffing? My favorite part about reffing is the confidence and patience it has given me. 

Do you play soccer? I played club soccer for KC Legends and will be playing for Wesleyan University in Connecticut in the fall. I have been playing for about 12 years. 

Do you participate in any sports/activities/clubs/ youth groups/ community service? As for clubs, I was president of Respect Diversity Club at my high school, Notre Dame de Sion. We discuss current events as well as initiate programs for our school over topics such as diversity, racism, and other important issues. I also enjoy art, biking, music, road trips, and soccer, of course. 
What was the last book you read? The last book I read was One Flew Over the Cuckoos' Nest, which follows the journey R.P. McMurphy through a mental hospital as he battles Nurse Ratched and tries to escape. My favorite part of the book the ending when Chief Bromden breaks the glass and escapes after McMurphy's death. 

What types of movies do you like? I like action-adventure, sci-fi along with old classics. The last movie I saw was Unholy at a drive-in movie theater with some friends. My favorite part was getting so scared, I had a muscle cramp.  

What is your favorite sports team? My favorite sports team is Paris Saint-Germain. 
2021 Kansas Junior State Cup
Champions & Finalists
KC Legends Soccer Club Billy Goats 10 Red 
11U Boys Finalist: Toca F.C. 2010 MLS
11U Girls Champions: Kansas Rush Academy 2010
11U Girls Finalist: Metro United Soccer Club KC Fusion Academy 10
12U Boys Champions: SPORTING Blue Valley Academy 09
12U Boys Finalist: KC Legends New Balance Academy 09
12U Girls Champions: Sporting Blue
Valley Wales 09
12U Girls Finalist: KC Legends
Red 2009
AB May
Academy Sports and Outdoors
AC Print
BFAME KC Entertainment
Capelli Sport
Commercial Capital
Dick's Sporting Goods
Drs. Hawks, Besler, Rogers & Stoppel
Discount Tire
Easton Roofing
First Watch
Hasty Awards
HCA Midwest Health
Jersey Boyz Deli & Subs
Jimmy John's
Kansas City Comets
Krusich Dental
Land of Paws
Levine Advertising
Menorah Medical Center
Molle Toyota
Momo Bands
Museum at Prairiefire
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt
Overland Park Regional Medical Center
Papa John's
Pittcraft Printing
Raising Cane's
Rob Ellerman and 
Reece Nichols Real Estate
Research Medical Center
Salty Iguana
Security Bank
Slim Chickens
Soccer Master
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City II
Starting Point Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
State Farm-Harlan Parker
Taco Bell
The Merchant Fitness
The Rub Bar-B-Que
The Sheridan at Overland Park
TW Sportswear + Print, Ship & Signs
Urban Air
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]
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:  

Questions or interest please email at: 
Sign the petition and show the world that Kansas City 
deserves to be a host city for the WORLD CUP!!!

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