Heartland Soccer Association
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.
Upcoming Tournament: 
2017 Sport Shake Midwest Mother's Day Classic
May 12-14, 2017
*registration is now closed*

Heartland Soccer Association is thrilled  to announce our continued partnership with Sport Shake, a delicious, creamy milk shake that is made with real dairy. The partnership includes Sport Shake as the title sponsor of the Sport Shake Mother's Day Classic, to be held May 12-14, 2017 at the Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex and Swope Soccer Village.  

"We are very excited to have Sport Shake expand their presence at the Heartland family of tournaments," stated Shane Hackett, Executive Director at Heartland Soccer Association. "Sport Shake is a great protein product for our young soccer players and athletes. Not only is this a terrific protein product for our young athletes but it's great to have a locally headquartered product supporting our kids here in Kansas City and the region."

One can of Sport Shake provides 9 grams of protein to help muscles recover, and an excellent source of calcium to build strong bones. It also has a good source of potassium to replace what's lost in sweat, with more potassium in one serving than in an entire banana!

"At Sport Shake, we are proud to sponsor Heartland Soccer Association to help young athletes reach their potential.  With the best tournament facilities in a city known for soccer, this partnership with Heartland is a way the Sport Shake team can support some of the most enthusiastic soccer players in the country. We believe we have the best tasting protein shake on the market, but most importantly, that it has the nutritional profile to help soccer players quickly recover and show their power on the field the next day," said Ted Sowle, AVP, Marketing with Dairy  Farmers of America, Inc. ("DFA").

Sport Shake is made in southern Missouri where milk from surrounding Kansas and Missouri farms goes into the product.  The brand is owned by DFA, a dairy cooperative headquartered in Kansas City. 
Sport Shake is available at select Price Chopper, Hy-Vee, Hen House and CVS locations. 

Visit SportShake.com or follow them on social media for more information, and be sure to sample the product at upcoming HSA tournaments. 
SeatGeek Kansas City Invitational
May 26th - May 29th, 2017
SeatGeek Kansas City Invitational is held over Memorial weekend and consistently sells out. This tournament offers four different levels of competition: Gold, Silver, Bronze and Recreational. Teams have traveled from 14 different states to play in the SeatGeek Kansas City Invitational. Seeding of teams ensures that everyone can compete against opponents of their own ability level. All Kansas City Invitational games will be played at the Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex and the world class quality Swope Soccer Village.
Job Openings!
Heritage Soccer Park Concession

*Part time register attendant.
Must be 14 years old.

*Part time concession cart attendant.
Must be a minimum of 16 years old with
a valid driver's license.

If interested, email Ramiro: noboa66@gmail.com


"River had a great tournament weekend! His favorite thing was having fun and getting to play soccer"
"These girls sure are fun to watch"

"Congratulations to KC Prime Premier 2008 Boys who were finalists in the KC Champions Cup  today. After a closely fought game that finished in a tie, the boys went all the way to penalties kicks.  #KCPrimeStrong"

" Great Action this weekend  #KCChampionsCup"

Apr 14-15 League play
Apr 16 Easter Sunday/No Games
Apr 21-23 League play
Apr 28 - 30 League play
May 5-7 League Play
May 12-14 Sport Shake Midwest Mother's Day Classic / League play
May 19 - 21 Rainout weekend
May 26 - 29 SeatGeek Kansas City Invitational Tournament

Soccer Pictures Your Way
Action Shots for 3 games and Team Photo $150
You own your pictures provided by an online gallery. All pictures have free downloads. With the gallery link you can share them with team members and families. Each gallery can be password protected for private viewing. Editing included. The Gallery contains all full frame pictures. Contact: ehaffner@kc.rr.com   or   http://www.ehsportsphotography.com/
2016/17 Heartland Numbers

Fall league teams
Spring league teams
League players 
Tournament teams
Tournament players 

2016/17 Tournament Numbers
(number of teams)

Border Battle '17
Sport Shake KC Champions Cup '17 407
Mother's Day Classic '16 407
KC Invitational '16
Fall Kick Off Challenge '16
Heartland Midwest Classic '16
Sport Shake Midwest All Girls '16
ALDI Heartland Invitational Girls  '16
ALDI Heartland Invitational Boys '16
In the last 12 months Heartland welcomed teams
 from a total of 17 states and Canada.

Concussion ImPACT  Testing

Open to all Heartland Soccer participants
for more information contact :
Betsy Kellerman Betsy.Kellerman@hcamidwest.com
(913) 541-3365

Overland Park Regional Medical Center

From the Heartland League Director,
Richard Davies  
Dear All,

Hopefully you have all had a fantastic and fun start to the Spring 2017 soccer season!! 

We are over a month into the season and have see some exceptional soccer and sportsmanship by players, coaches and parents.

There have been a couple of examples where players, parents and coaches have got a little excited and have been excused from the games. Lets remember that the game is for the kids and as adults we have to be a positive role model. This is especially true at the older age groups, which is with the boys in the Spring. These guys play very hard and often with emotion. Occasionally that can overflow and the players will be cautioned for that behavior. That caution should be seen as positive officiating and not a reason for adults to support bad tackles, retribution or wreckless play. However old the player is in the youth game they can still take the cues from the adults around the field.

We are continuing to work extensively with our referees and genuinely feel we are on the right path to improving the standard of officiating in the City. Please remember that a lot of the younger referees are learning the job as they are doing the job, give them the respect they deserve. If you feel there is a major issue, please contact a Field marshal, do not approach a referee.

Have fun at the fields and enjoy watching your kids play.

Heartland staff.
2017 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.    

Wednesday, May  10
Monday, June 12
Wednesday, July 12 
Monday, August 7
Wednesday, September 13 
Wednesday, October 11 
Wednesday, November  8 
Monday,  December 11

*Mentors will meet from 6PM-7PM
*Monthly Referee Meeting from 7PM-8:30PM

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 6503 West 135th St, Overland Park, KS 66223

Thank you to Scheels for providing gift cards to our March 15  referee meeting award winners.
winners: Jarred Mosher, Logan Clark, Reid McDowell, Owen Sovereign, Ashley Thomas, Jacob Adams, Bella Burris, Bob Gutschenritter, Rabin Khan, Michael Roland .

Get certified to be a referee!
  Sign up to be a referee for
Spring 2017 Heartland  league.
Reimaging How the World
Manages Youth Sports
                                 Health Tip
           20 Essentials for Your First-Aid Kit

When kids are out of school, there is more time for those occasional bumps and bruises. Having a well-stocked first-aid kit at home is the perfect way to deal with injuries at a moment's notice.

You should always keep a first-aid kit in your home.  It should be kept within easy reach of an adult but should be stored away from children. Having a well-stocked first-aid kit is essential to ensuring the right supplies to deal with an emergency at a moment's notice.

First-aid kits can be purchased at a local drugstore or you can put one together yourself. If you make the decision to make one yourself, chose a container that is spacious and easy to open and carry. Plastic tackle boxes, for example, make great homemade first-aid kit containers.

Having a well-stocked first-aid kit at home is the perfect way to deal with injuries at a moment's notice.

If you decide to make your own kit, here are 20 essential supplies you will need to make sure to include:
  • A first-aid manual
  • Different sized sterile gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Band-Aids in several sizes
  • Elastic bandage (like an Ace wrap)
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
  • Acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Disposable instant cold packs
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Plastic non-latex gloves
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • A blanket
  • Mouthpiece for administering CPR (can be purchased at the drugstore)
  • Calamine lotion
  • A splint
  • Thermometer
Make sure to read the entire first-aid manual to understand how to use the contents of your first-aid kit. Not doing this could put you in a tough situation if there ever came a time to use one of the supplies.

Check your first aid-kit regularly. Some things in your first-aid kit you might not ever use, but some might frequently run out like Band-Aids. Replace the missing items so you have them in the future. A well-kept first-aid kit is a necessity in every home to help you handle an emergency in your household.

When kids are out of school, there is more time for those occasional bumps and bruises. Having a well-stocked first-aid kit at home is the perfect way to deal with injuries at a moment's notice.

2017 State Tournaments
 Scheel's Overland Park Soccer Complex
May 30th-June 7th 

Come out and support #TeamKansas #roadtofrisco

In Search of Perfection: The Referee Development Conundrum:

The Spring season is in full swing now and the ecosystem confirms soccer is a passion at Heartland.  Wind or sun, snow or rain, great weather or cold weather have not stopped the games from being played with passion and effort across the many Heartland venues.  Coaches are coaching.  Players are playing.  Fans are cheering them on.  And, Referees are officiating.

Last month we remarked how important it is that you, as a parent of a soccer player, recognize that our young Referees are learning how to officiate the game much like your child is learning how to play the game.  What does learning to be an effective Referee mean?
A recent report by Sky Sports in the United Kingdom was titled, "How many calls to refs get right?" (March 20, 2017).  According to the Professional Games Match Officials organization, the Premier League Referee makes around 245 decisions per 90-minute game.  That is one decision every 22 seconds.  They went further and looked at the kinds of decisions these officials make:
  • Approximately 20% of these decisions are technical - what is the restart when the ball leaves the field of play (goal kicks, corner kicks, throw-ins)
  • This leaves 80% to judging physical contact and disciplinary actions.  For the Premier League 35 of these decisions were decisions where an action was taken (fouls, restarts) and the rest were decisions where play was allowed to continue.
These Referees were not perfect (no Referee is).  What the report shared was that in total, these highest-level Referees make around five errors per game.  This means they are right 98% of the time per the Laws.  Of course, when you make a decision and one team is happy, that means the other team is not".
If the highest-level Referees miss 5 calls, what about the Referees at Heartland?  They are new and even the best will make more than 5 different calls than the coach, players and parents would want.  How do we address this?

 Heartland has invested in a Mentor program where more experienced Referees watch the new Referees and talk about skills and decisions to increase the speed of getting better.  If a new Referee got 50% of the calls right in the last game, the goal is to do even better in the next game.  We understand that perfection is expected every match.  It doesn't happen in the highest leagues and you know it doesn't happen at Heartland.  That is the conundrum.  We want perfection, but strive for improvement.  Remember, there is more to being a Referee than just blowing a whistle.

Thank you for helping us respond to this conundrum.  You let us know about the match critical decisions that you saw, and we share that information with our Referee Development Group.  Our joint efforts will make better Referees every week, and that is what we all want - right?

Coaching Requirements
Heartland Soccer League is sanctioned by Kansas Youth Soccer. There is a minimum coaching requirement. All recreational and premier coaches must complete the F license course. It is online and can be found at the following link. 
If you have a referee, coach, club, team or player accomplishment or photo that you would like to share please email Katie Falco at katie@falcocreativemedia.com
3 Women and an Oven
4 Wheel Parts
7 Eleven
AB May
Academy Sports and Outdoors
Audi, Shawnee Mission
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing
Boy Scouts of America
Buca di Beppo
California Pizza Kitchen
Chartroose Caboose
Chick fil A
Columbia College
Cricket Wireless
Dick's Sporting Goods
Drs. Hawks, Besler, Rogers & Stoppel
FC Kansas City
Freezing Moo Ice Cream
Fry Wagner
Gambino's Pizza
Global Connections
Grill Park Place
Hague Quality Water
Harlan C Parker State Farm
Hasty Awards
HCA Midwest Health
Huntington Learning Center
J&K Soccer
JF Consulting
Jimmy John's
Jon Russell's BBQ
KC Comets
Krusich Dental
Land of Paws
Legoland/Sea Life
Lenny's Subs
Levine Advertising
Market Leverage
Menorah Medical Center
Mickey Cotton Candy Man
Missouri Comets
Molle Toyota
 Momo Bands
Moneytalks Financial Foundation
Morrill & Janes Bank
Museum at Prairiefire
Noodles and Co
Overland Park Regional Medical Center
Pacific Dental Services
Paciugo Gelato
Papa John's
Pizza Hut
Pizzeria Locale
Price Chopper 
Raising Cane's
Research Medical Center
Rock and Brews
Rosati's of Overland Park
Scott the Electrican
Security Bank
Simple Science
Simply Soccer
Simplified Team Management
Slim Chickens
Smoothie King
Soccer Master
Sport Shake
Sporting Kansas City
Storage Mart
Sunflower Bank
Swope Park Rangers
The Foot Spot
The KC Steak Company
The Roasterie
The Sports Medicine Store
The Storage Place
Timber Challenge
T-riffic T-shirts
University of Missouri Kansas City
Urban Air
Valley View Bank
Which Wich
Worlds of Fun/Oceans of Fun
Zip KC

The Bustle at Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex Continues

The sound of cleats on turf. The whistles. The cheering. 
These are just some of the glorious sounds you will hear on any given Saturday or Sunday as nearly 500 games per weekend are played at 135th and Switzer. 

Averaging just under 20,000 visitors per weekend and 1.5 million in attendance per year, Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex is one of the country's top amateur soccer facilities and perhaps the most well-known soccer complex in the United States. For good reason.

Overland Park was recently named the country's top "soccer city" by Livability-  and one of  the major factor is due to the Scheels Overland Park Complex. The facility, which opened in 2009, currently has 12 lighted regulation-size synthetic turf fields, 1,100 square feet of meeting space, a fully equipped strength and fitness room, two playgrounds, a field cooling system, a tournament storage area, referee lounges, player locker rooms, a permanent first aid office, three cafes and ample parking.

At Heartland Soccer Association, we have an average of 375 teams participating in each of our tournaments traveling in from up to 12 states. The amount of travel has never surprised us, considering our state-of-the-art accommodations. With Heartland having some of the largest youth soccer tournaments, Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex is ideal and plays a large part in why our tournaments continue to grow each and every season. On top of the amazing facility itself, the community around the park features more than 35 hotels and 200 restaurants, Scheels Sporting Goods (a destination hotspot), tons of shopping, among many other local attractions. 

Besides our 1,300 amazing teams that participate in Heartland Soccer, the complex makes us proud to be one of the best and largest youth soccer associations in the country. It is the cream of the crop and we couldn't have the success we have without it. 

The ambience. The passion. The excitement. The complex stands for what we love about soccer. 

Spring League Reaches Halfway Point!
Here is a message from our executive director, Shane Hackett

Gateway Sports Village Update

If you have driven past the Gateway complex over the winter months, you can see that phase 1 soccer fields are grade
d to field level. Special thanks to our construction partners that worked quickly to reshape the landscape. Phase 1 consists of seven soccer fields and Main Street retail land parcels. Once the phase 1 fields are installed, construction equipment will move to the east of Main Street and continue building the balance of the soccer fields. 

Our architects, world renowned sports firm Populous, HDR Engineers, our construction partner Lillig Construction and the City of Grandview have been working diligently the past several months on the approvals for the next phase of construction. Based on our latest meetings, we should be green lighted with final approvals shortly. Our goal is to have kids playing on these world class Shaw Turf soccer fields this Fall 2017. 

Over the next few weeks and months, we plan to announce the restaurants, businesses, lodging, recreation, medical and entertainment partners that will be a part of phase 2 Main Street retail and the commercial frontage on 150 highway. 
Additionally, we are days away from exciting announcements on both our single family and multifamily homes at Gateway where families can experience the recreation and sports environment first-hand. 

We appreciate your continued support and look forward to sharing exciting news and updates on a regular basis. 

Deron Cherry 
Managing Partner
Gateway Sports Village

Heartland Soccer will also be collecting donations for Lily's League at our office throughout the Spring and Summer seasons. Our office is located at 9161 W. 133rd Street, Overland Park , KS.
Sport Shake is a delicious, creamy milk shake that is made with real dairy and with no added growth hormones. It provides 9 grams of protein to help muscles recover, and an excellent source of calcium to build strong bones.  Sport Shake has more potassium in one serving than an entire banana to help replace what's lost in sweat during a strenuous practice or game. This nutritional profile helps soccer players recover quickly to show their power on the field the next day. Sport Shake is a great tasting REAL DAIRY POWER SHAKE in both a chocolate and vanilla flavor available at Price Chopper, Hy-Vee, Hen House, CVS and Amazon.com.  Visit SportShake.com or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more information, and be sure to sample the product at upcoming Heartland Soccer tournaments.
Sport Shake is manufactured in the Midwest, where milk from surrounding Kansas and Missouri farms goes into the product.  The brand is owned by Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. ("DFA"), a dairy cooperative headquartered in Kansas City.  Each time Sport Shake is purchased, the profits go back to nearly 15,000 dairy farmers that own the company.
We encourage you to download a coupon and try a can of Sport Shake for FREE:  sportshake.freesamplerequest.com
  2017 KC Champions Cup Tournament
This past weekend, April 7-9, Heartland Soccer Association welcomed 407 teams from 9 different states- Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota. The 9th annual Sport Shake KC Champions Cup was open to teams of all levels of play, Boys U8-U19 and Girls U8-U14. The tournament was a complete success and we want to thank all the teams who competed. 
We are already looking forward to next year! 

Coaches Corner
Dribbling and finishing PART 3
*Set up appropriate size playing area as shown in diagram.
*Players are split into 4 teams with a ball per player.
*Middle square should be empty.
*One player from each team starts as the attacker with a ball and starts by their designated goal.
*The other player is the defender and starts on the side of the middle square facing the goal directly opposite their designated goal.
*Defenders can only move side to side along the side of the square.
*On coaches call the attackers attempt to dribble past the defender, through the square and score in the goal.
*If the defender wins the ball they can dribble out the square and shoot on goal.
*They are then replaced in the square by the attacker.
*Every goal is worth a point for the team.
*Play for a set time limit, team with most points wins.

*Every man for themselves.
*Attackers can score in any goal but must dribble through the middle square first.
*Defenders are locked in middle square but can get out by tackling an attacker and dribbling out of the square.

Meet father and daughter Ray and Ann Cole. The Coles are very new to the reffing game as they just starting officiating in March. 

Father-daughter bonding was the center the of their decision to start this activity but, of course, there are many other perks for the both of them. 

"If you ask Ann it is the money- a girl has to have shoes! I enjoy the game entirely. Having had two children that have played since age 3, I just love this game," Cole said.

On top of spending time together and receiving a pay check, they have both learned many life lessons.

"Sportsmanship and fairness are very important in officiating. Making sure that you are treating both sides equally. Treat everyone the same."

After just a few games in, Ray already aspires to be a high school ref and perhaps participate in some small college riffing, as well. Ann would like to stay working with the small side games. 

The Coles are very involved outside of the soccer world, Ann swims through the YMCA and competes for the Olathe branch. She is also involved in band and track & field. She is also an avid golfer, something she learned from Ray who competed collegiately and professionally for many years. 

Congratulations to Ray and Ann!

More about the Coles:
Ann's job: mowing yards and babysitting
Ray's job: telecommunications consultant
Ann's favorite movies: anything except for horror and action
Ray's favorite movies: All genres!
Ann's favorite sports team: Iowa State (her mom's alma mater), KU and Sporting KC
Ray's favorite sports team: University of Texas, San Antonio Spurs, Sporting KC and Everton


  The Referee Corner:  April 2017 - Focus on the Assistant Referees

Law 6 defines the responsibilities of the Assistant Referees.  They assist the Referee in controlling the match.  They are the primary source of information in making the decisions on technical restarts - when the whole of the ball goes over the whole of the line.  The restarts in these cases are Throw-ins, Goal Kicks or Corner Kicks.  They are assigned this role because they should be in the best possible position to make these decisions.  They run the touchline and are instructed to follow the ball all the way to the goal line (the Assistant Referees are the goal line technology at Heartland).

They have other responsibilities too.  The Assistant Referees determine when a player is both in an offside position and actively involved in play (remember, it is not a violation to be in an offside position).  

This is a lot of responsibility for a new Referee and Assistant Referee.  Watching the line, the players and the timing of the play can challenge the most experienced of us.  Learning how to correctly make these decisions and then signaling them confidently is what we expect from our Assistant Referees.  

Two weeks ago, I was working with a young man who was doing his first game as an Assistant Referee.  He was keeping up with the players and knew that he should follow the ball all the way to the goal line.  When he got to the goal line the first time, he hesitated because he couldn't remember who last touched the ball.  Was it a goal kick (and how do I signal for a goal kick) or was it a corner kick (again, what is the correct signal?).  The center Referee saw this and provided the missing information.  The restart was correct.  The next time this young man got to the goal line he was more confident and did provide a signal based on what he saw.  He missed an offside decision, but there was no goal scored so all was well. The Referee Development process was at work and was working.  By the end of the first half, confidence was growing and the calls were coming more quickly and the signals were being delivered with more professionalism.  

 In the second half, there was a breakaway (remember he spent the entire first half with the blue defender and now blue was attacking).  The Assistant Referee was in a good position but hesitated when it was time to make the decision.  He did not see when the ball was played by the blue teammate, but he knew the blue player who received the ball was closer to the goal line than the second to the last defender or the ball when he received the ball.  The flag went up and the Referee blew the whistle.  Then the sidelines came alive.  This young Assistant Referee was in the Referee Development conundrum!  Some of the sidelines thought it was a good call.  Others did not and let him know their displeasure.  He was scared.... And the question we are asking is what will he do the next time he is in this predicament.

The Mentors are focused on one fact:  was the call correct?  If it was, then we will reinforce why and stress to the Assistant Referees how they can repeat the correct call.  If the call was not correct, we will point out why and work with the Assistant Referees to get it right the next time.  How can you help?  Learn the offside law and have patience with our new officials.  The more games they do and the more Mentor sessions they have, the more times they will get these decisions correct. They want to do a good job.  And, if they are getting the decisions correct, enjoy your kids and their development.  Thank you.

Name: Dylan
Team: Wichita Cyclones FC
Experience: 14 years
Position: Defender
Academic Achievements: 4.0 GPA, National Honor Society
Memorable Soccer Experience: Becoming first player in Bishop Carroll history to have 50 Varsity wins, winning U15 Kansas State Cup (2013 Cyclones).

Name: Joy
Team: Topeka Select Blaze
Experience: 5 years
Position: Forward/ Wing/Center Mid
Academic Achievements: Top 7 in school spelling bee
Memorable Soccer Experience: Scored 11 goals in a game in 4th grade, scoring a winning penalty kick to make the championship. 

By Betsy Kellerman, ATC/LAT, Manager of the Overland Park Regional Medical Center Sports Medicine and Concussion programs

What If My Kids Don't Like Sports?
Not everyone likes organized sports or team sports. If this sounds like one of your kids, don't sweat it. With a better understanding or a few changes, you and your kids might find out there is an athletic activity out there that they could like. But if not, we'll suggest other fun ways to stay active.
Learning about sports
Sometimes, kids feel that they don't like sports because they might not understand how to play them or they haven't had much practice doing them. Sports can also seem complicated because of all the rules and special equipment. Remind your kids that athletes spend many years learning about sports and practicing how to do them well. So they shouldn't feel bad if they don't know the difference between a "corner kick" and a "goal kick" in soccer before they start playing the game. If they want to learn more about a sport, you might see if your kids want to participate in camps or programs that introduce kids to new sports. These may be better than just joining a team that starts playing games right away.
A bad sports experience
Some kids don't like organized sports because they were once on a team and they didn't have fun. Maybe all of the other kids seemed to know what they were doing and your kid felt unsure.
Sometimes, kids on a team get so fired up about winning that they may yell or get upset at a player who makes a mistake. This can be stressful - especially if it's you who made a mistake!
But make sure your kids know that everybody makes mistakes sometimes and no one should tease them for it. If they do, encourage your child to talk with the coach or yourself so those other kids can be reminded about being understanding and respectful to each other.
Parents and coaches also can get upset about a game situation and put too much pressure on kids. Kids might feel confused and stressed out during games if they're not quite sure what they should be doing.
If your kid had a bad experience with a team, maybe it's time for them to try a new sport or a new league. Some leagues and programs emphasize skill building over competition - and some leagues don't even keep score.
The right sport
It can be easy to think of popular sports like baseball, softball, football and soccer as the only sports out there, but there are dozens of sports! What if the best sport for your child is volleyball, cheerleading or gymnastics? They'll have to try it and find out!
Just remember that different sports require different skills, so you'll want to encourage your child to try different sports to find one that suits them. Some activities you might not think of as sports, such as karate or cheerleading, are actually "sporty" and can be great for staying active.
If your child doesn't like being on a team, that's okay too. You might consider having them try an individual sport competitively or just for the fun. Some individual sports include:
  • biking
  • bowling
  • diving
  • golf
  • gymnastics
  • ice skating
  • in-line skating
  • martial arts
  • running
  • skateboarding
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • wrestling
What's the big deal about sports?
Kids might wonder why grownups want them to try sports and be active. There's a good reason: playing sports is a great form of exercise and exercise keeps the body healthy. Playing sports can also give kids a group of friends with common interests, an understanding of sportsmanship and something new and interesting to do.
We've already talked about the many sports to choose from, but there's even more good news - many other non-sport activities can provide exercise and keep you active, including playing at a playground, jumping rope, working in the garden, washing the car, raking leaves or making snowmen.
You also might find that by limiting the use of electronics - TV, computers, cell phones, etc. - for you and your children, you'll all just naturally be more active.
So, no, your kids don't have to play sports, but they might still find one they like. The most important thing is to keep your kids active without forcing them into a sport they really don't enjoy even after giving it a fair try.