May 2021
Referee Review
Referee Corner
A foul is a foul, right? What are the players’ responsibilities?
The Referee’s primary duty is to enforce the Laws of the Game. The LOTG states, “although accidents occur, the Laws should make the game as safe as possible. This requires players to show respect for their opponents and Referees should create a safe environment by dealing strongly with those who play is too aggressive and dangerous. The Laws embody the unacceptability of unsafe play in their disciplinary phrases, e.g., ‘reckless’ and ‘endangering the safety to an opponent’ or ‘using excessive force’.”

The Laws start by saying that the players should respect their opponents. When they do not, then the Referee gets involved.

During a recent tournament Championship Match, the coaches from both teams shared that the Referee needed to be prepared for a tough match. The teams were from the same city, were used to winning, and had a history of “rough” games. Sounds like a reasonable request, right? Now the interesting fact about this game is that the teams were U9 Girls.  

This information was shared with the Referee team. The Center Referee was an 18-year-old lady with a lot of experience doing centers. In the first 5 minutes there was a foul and one of the young players was injured. The Referee blew her whistle for the foul. The injured player’s mother came onto the field to attend to her daughter. She was very vocal in saying, “I knew this was going to happen!”. The contact occurred. The Referee acknowledged the foul. The question: did the opponents show respect as required by the Law or did they go as far as they could forcing the Referee to make a decision?

Let’s look at another example. Do you see a foul in this picture? It sure looks like the blue player kicked the white player. This is something we can all agree on. The Referee should blow the whistle for a Direct Free Kick foul – kicking the opponent.

A more in-depth look at the play shows us the player’s responsibilities according to the Laws of the Game. Look at where the ball is. Does the blue player have a reasonable opportunity to play the ball with her foot? If the answer is yes, then we could consider this to be a careless contact. If, however, you think that there is little or no opportunity to play the ball with her foot, then we are elevating the player’s responsibility from careless to reckless. This calls for a stronger sanction by the Referee against the player, whose decision was the catalyst for the call.

What is the worst decision that a Referee could make in this situation? It would be to not blow the whistle. What other choices would the Referee have? They could blow the whistle harder. They could talk to the player to remind her to respect the opponents. They could issue a Yellow Card for a Reckless foul.
A foul is a foul. Referees need to keep the game safe for the players; however, the players also have a responsibility. If you would not want someone to do this to you, then you should not do it to someone else.

Some of our less experienced Referees might hesitate to blow the whistle in this kind of situation. We would all agree this is a mistake. We are working with our less experienced officials to reduce the number of times that they will not whistle for the foul. Remind your players that they also have a role in a fair and safe soccer match. 

We all have a part to play in delivering Safe and Fair matches. Support your players and the Referee development process. Encourage the Referees so they will come back next week and next season and build from an expanded base in experience. Thank you.
The Referee Blog
Things we hardly ever hear…  

Tournaments bring out extra passion in players, coaches, and fans. In one weekend teams can go from registered to play to Tournament Champions. Each game has a heightened level of importance. You want to win, but you also must watch what the other teams are doing in terms of tie breakers. Referee decisions are more highly scrutinized. (keep in mind that the Referees are not playing. They are enforcing the Laws of the Game. When a player commits a foul, it is their role to call it.)

During a recent Heartland tournament, the Tournament Director was approached by the coach and players from a team that did not win. The complaint was that the Referee made a call that cost them the match. The Director listened. Since he was not present at the match, he checked with the Referee team to get their side of the story. The Referee said that their decision was appropriate based on what they observed on that specific play. The result was upheld. The losing coach was not happy.  

In a later conversation with the Tournament Director, he shared an interesting perspective. He told me that one thing he never heard when talking with coaches and fans was that they did not deserve to win because of a call made by the Referee that went in their favor. He could not remember ever being asked to overturn a win because of a decision by the Referee that went in the favor of the winning team. He said there have been incidents where a coach might disagree with a decision by the Referee like a foul in the Penalty Area that results in a Penalty Kick. Instead of trying to score, the coach would tell their player to pass the ball to the goalie. It has happened, but only very rarely.  

If we have watched a lot of soccer, then we have a pretty good understanding of what a foul is. But can we watch a game with our kids playing and stay neutral? If this was an easy thing to do, there might be more times when we have to admit that we got away with something that affected the outcome of the match. For example, look at the picture at the top of this article. Is there a possible foul in this picture? Yes. Holding is one of the 13 fouls listed in Law 12.

For the Referee to call this as a foul, the Referee needs to answer 4 questions:
  1. Was the act committed by a player? In this case we can correctly assume that there is a white player and a blue player.
  2. Was the act committed against an opponent? Again, we can correctly assume that because they are wearing different colors, it is a player and an opponent.
  3. Was the act committed on the field of play? Yes
  4. Was the act committed while the ball is in play? Since the player and opponent are trying to get to the ball, we will assume the ball is in play.

If you are the Referee, would you blow your whistle based on this picture? And, if you decided to blow your whistle, who would you decide committed the foul? Both players are holding on to the jersey of their opponent. How will you decide which player to sanction for the foul? For most of us it would depend on which team our daughter plays for. Does the score matter? Shouldn’t a foul be a foul? Would it make a difference if the score were tied, and we were in the last minute? These factors should not be considered when a foul is committed.  

I do not have an answer on what the correct decision in this case should be. I do know that the Referee needs to be neutral and, based on what he/she sees, make a decision. If the decision causes you to lose, whose fault was it? I don’t see the Referee holding either one of the players. The Referee responds to the actions of the players only.

Imagine what the game would be like if there wasn’t a Referee. Every decision a Referee makes helps them build the experience they need to make match critical decisions. Your willingness to let them learn is a major part of our soccer community.  

We can always use more Referees. Become neutral and consider joining the Referee family. You can learn more at
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 Caleb
When did you start reffing? August 2019 

What made you decide to get certified to referee? My love for soccer and a good first job.

What is your favorite part about reffing? Learning. Through reffing, I see the game from a different perspective which is helping me learn and see the game of soccer better as a player and referee.

What is a life lesson you feel you have learned from reffing? Confidence. I am learning to make quick, decisive decisions under pressure.   

When did you start reffing futsal? Nov. 2020

What is your favorite part about reffing futsal? The speed of the game.

What level of referee do you aspire to be? I enjoy reffing and aspire to continue to learn and move to the highest level I can achieve.

Do you play soccer? I play for Mustang United FC. 

How long have you played soccer? 11 years

Do you participate in any sports/activities/clubs/ youth groups/ community service? Besides soccer, I have played the violin for 9 years. I play in the Olathe Youth Symphony, REW Homeschool Orchestra, and my church worship team. I attend Reach Church DeSoto youth group. 
What was the last book you read? The Forgotten 500. It is the story of the rescue of 500 forgotten WWII soldiers in Yugoslavia. I enjoy history and especially WWII history. 

What types of movies do you like? I enjoy movies based on true stories whether historical or sports. 

What is your favorite sports team? Any professional soccer and the Chiefs
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
Commercial Capital
Dick's Sporting Goods
Drs. Hawks, Besler, Rogers & Stoppel
Discount Tire
First Watch
Hasty Awards
HCA Midwest Health
Jason's Deli
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
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
Storage Mart
Taco Bell
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: 
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