The Midfielder
Heartland Soccer Association Newsletter

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.
Fan's favorite memories from 2016...
(via Facebook)
"Watching my son and his team get 1st place in their division their first time playing in a competitive league."

"Watching my daughter learn the sport!"

"My favorite memory just happened a week just turned 16 year old son was asked to guest play as keeper for a U18 Pre-Academy team in a college showcase. He did not know anyone on the team...yet he put in his best effort and they ended up winning 2-0 and my kiddo got a shut front of college coaches! Way to go, son...proud momma moment!"

"The All girls tournament in honor of breast cancer awareness!"

"Watching my 11 year old playing his heart out with his team on Field 7 at OPSC, and then looking over to Field 8 and watching my 13 year old referee his first game. Heartland has a place for our entire family!"

"My daughters team getting to do the Walk of Champions at Children's Mercy Park & my daughter leading the way with her favorite player, Graham Zusi!"

"My 10 year old son's face when we had to shoot PK's. Someone on the team captured his PK as it went in the goal! Midair, fist pumpin', face glowing with pride! Would have love to see a pic of me at the same time!"

"My favorite memory was when my son's team won their division in the Heartland end of season tournament and the whole team took pictures with their medals in front of the Heartland sign near the floating soccer ball."

"Watching the coach of an opposing team cheer up my son (goalie) after an amazing match that ended in a tie. My son was deflated and disappointed but this man warmed my heart and helped my son work through his frustration and was able to walk out of the Scheels park with a smile on his face. It brought tears to my eyes and filled up my heart."

"Watching my daughter play her very last game at the OPSC as a Senior in high school. We had many, many great times on those fields over the last 5 years. So many great memories."

"My favorite memory would be the start of fall season where my daughter just started in a new league and new coach and just watching her enjoy the game again after a long rough season before. Her love of soccer has grown bigger!"

Congrats to Christina Garza Morris for winning our $25 Slim Chickens Holiday Giveaway!

2016 Heartland Numbers

Fall league teams
Spring league teams
League players 
Tournament teams
Tournament players 
2016 Tournament Numbers
(number of teams)

Border Battle
KC Champions Cup 410
Mother's Day Classic 407
KC Invitational
Fall Kick Off Challenge
Sporting KC Affiliate Friendlies
Heartland Midwest Classic
Midwest All Girls
Girls HIT
Boys HIT

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
(913) 541-3365

Overland Park Regional Medical Center
2017  Spring Tournaments
We have the right tournaments for your team! Heartland Soccer Association tournaments are some of the largest in the Midwest, at some of the finest fields in the nation. We make sure competition levels are tailored to your needs. All tournaments will be played at the world's finest soccer complexes.

Border Battle
Feb 24-26, 2017 
Kansas City
Champions Cup
Apr 7-9, 2017 

Midwest Mother's Day Classic
May 12-14, 2017 

Kansas City
May 26-29, 2017 

Futsal Central Regional Championships Jan 13-16

Good Luck to all the teams who registered for the Regional Futsal Championship. Registration hit record numbers. Enjoy the weekend!
This Month in History: January

"January Camp" started in...January (duh!). It's an annual fixture on the MNT calendar, providing a great offseason workout and a launching point for many an international career.While the MNT has often gathered during the month of January, it was Bruce Arena who formalized the idea of January Camp during his first tenure as head coach (1998-2006).
Get certified to be a referee!
  Sign up to be a referee for
Spring 2017 Heartland  league.

From the Heartland League Director,
Richard Davies  
  Dear All,
Happy New Year to all of you, we hope you had a fantastic holiday period with your families. The new season is almost upon us, even though it doesn't look or feel that way outside!!!
We have closed out registration and seeding and scheduling have begun. We will be using the fall results wherever possible, to seed the teams for the Spring divisions. However, we also have new teams coming into the league and teams that play up in age group etc. That may mean that we have to add divisions in age groups and it may bump some teams down in division number only. The most important thing is the level of competition and we work as hard as we can to try and make the divisions as competitive as possible for all teams.

The High School boy's age groups will be a little different as they did not play any games during the fall season, but we will work with the seeding requests wherever possible.
We are very excited with the new complexes being developed in the metro area and although they will not be ready to schedule league games on, we are hopeful to have some usage this Spring during our later tournaments.
We hope you all have a happy and prosperous 2017 and we look forward to seeing everyone on the fields.
Heartland Staff

Sports Sense: 
Avoiding Common Injuries

By:Dr. Dan Ferrell, orthopedic surgeon

Today, kids are playing sports all year round and involved in multiple sports. Playing sports is great exercise, it provides discipline and encourages young athletes to achieve their best.

As parents, we want to see our kid score the winning goal or tackle the opponent on the field, but the pursuit of victory in any activity carries with it risks and responsibilities.

Coaches, parents and young athletes need to work together to manage the child's health. That is why is important that everyone understands the risk with playing sports all year round and playing multiple sports at one time.

"Parents and coaches should monitor for overuse injuries. Look for an athlete who is complaining of pain in the muscle, tendon, or bone after practice or a game, pain while playing or during practice, pain during play that affects the young athlete's ability to perform or constant or chronic pain, even when not playing," says  Dr. Dan Ferrell, orthopedic surgeon with the Sports Medicine Program at Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

Dr. Farrell, who is fellowship-trained in pediatric orthopedic surgery and sports medicine, says overuse Injuries are by far the most common types of sports injuries.

"These types of injuries can damage bone, muscle or tendons and can put a young athlete at risk for long term damage if not treated correctly," says Dr. Farrell
Dr. Farrell says overtraining can lead to overuse injuries.
"A good rule of thumb is to have your young athlete participate in a single sport or team activity per season, train no more than five days per week and vary training exercises from day to day," Dr. Farrell says.

Schedule times throughout the year to check in with your young athlete to make sure the game is rewarding and not overwhelming.

"When a young athlete experiences burnout, they have lost interest in the sport," Dr. Farrell says. "As a parent, you need to understand what your child's goals are with sports and make sure the activity is driven by the child."

For more information on our Sports Medicine Program, visit

Health Tip:
Facts on Asthma in Children: 
How to help your young athlete with asthma be successful

Asthma is the most common chronic condition among children, but it's also manageable with the right remedies. There are medal-winning athletes who have suffered from asthma their whole lives.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee won three gold, one silver and two bronze Olympic medals - all while living with asthma. Your child may not want to be an athlete, but by understanding the disease a little better, you can help your child successfully manage it and maintain a healthy quality of life.
Causes of childhood asthma
If you had asthma as a child, there's a one in three chance your child will have it. If both parents have asthma, chances are seven in 10. Also, boys are more likely than girls to develop asthma in childhood. But outside of a possible genetic link, researches aren't entirely sure what causes asthma.

Symptoms of childhood asthma
The first signs of asthma in a child may occur after a respiratory infection, and may include wheezing. If the condition persists, more symptoms may develop and occur with regularity, including the following:
  • Intermittent coughing
  • Wheezing or a raspy sound to breaths
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Trouble sleeping (and resulting fatigue)
If your child develops any of these symptoms, get to an ER right away or check with your doctor as soon as possible.

Treatments for childhood asthma
Although there is no cure for asthma, it is manageable. Work with your child's doctor to devise a treatment plan. One of the first steps you can take will be to help your child reduce exposure to his or her asthma triggers.

Medication treatments for asthma include long-term control medications that help prevent symptoms, and quick-relief medications that treat asthma attacks when they occur. Your child's treatment will depend on his or her unique symptoms and needs.

Long-term control medications are normally taken daily, and may include the following:
  • Inhaled corticosteroids: The most commonly prescribed long-term asthma medication, they are associated with the fewest side effects and considered safest for ongoing use.
  • Leukotriene modifiers: Taken orally to prevent symptoms for up to 24 hours, they carry risk of psychological side effects.
  • Combination inhalers: These inhaled medications contain both a long-acting beta agonist (LABA) and a corticosteroid.
  • Theophylline: A daily oral bronchodilator, it keeps the airways open. Doctors prescribe it less often now than in the past due to newer, more effective options.
Quick-relief asthma medications are taken when symptoms occur, and include the following:
  • Short-acting beta agonists: These inhaled bronchodilators reduce symptoms within minutes.
  • Ipratropium: An inhaled bronchodilator, it's mostly used for emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but doctors sometimes prescribe it to treat asthma flare-ups.
  • Oral and intravenous corticosteroids: These medications reduce airway inflammation caused by severe asthma, but may cause serious side effects when used long term.
Tips for parents of children with asthma
As soon as your child is diagnosed with asthma, work with his or her doctor to create an asthma action plan that you and other caregivers, such as teachers, coaches, relatives and even the parents of your child's friends, can use to recognize aggravated symptoms and know how to respond to an asthma attack. As a "worst case scenario" part of your action plan, you should know where the closest ERs are, as well as how to get there.

After creating an action plan, the most important thing you can do to help your child manage his or her asthma is to remain calm and encouraging. Help your child focus on the positive, and don't let fear get in the way of encouraging your child to engage in regular activities.
Also, talk to the parents of other children with asthma. You can learn a great deal from one another and take your knowledge of managing childhood asthma to another level.

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
3 Women and an Oven
7 Eleven
AB May
Academy Sports and Outdoors
American Family Insurance
Audi, Shawnee Mission
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing
Buca di Beppo
Burger Fi
California Pizza Kitchen
Chartroose Caboose
Chick fil A
Dick's Sporting Goods
Drs. Hawks, Besler, Rogers & Stoppel
Dunkin' Donuts
FC Kansas City
Freezing Moo Ice Cream
Fry Wagner
Gambino's Pizza
Gift Gallery
Global Connections
Gordon Biersch
Grey Grace Boutique
Grill Park Place
Hague Quality Water
Harbor Co
Harlan C Parker State Farm
Hasty Awards
HCA Midwest Health
J&K Soccer
JF Consulting
Jimmy John's
Jon Russell's BBQ
Legoland/Sea Life
Lenny's Subs
Levine Advertising
Menorah Medical Center
Mickey Cotton Candy Man
Missouri Comets

Molle Toyota
 Momo Bands
Moneytalks Financial Foundation
Morrill & Janes Bank
Nature's Select
Noodles and Co
Overland Park Regional Medical Center
Pacific Dental Services
Paciugo Gelato
Papa John's
Pie Five Pizza
Pizzeria Locale
Prairiefire Museum
Price Chopper 
Raising Cane's
Research Medical Center
Rock and Brews
Rosati's of Overland Park
Scott the Electrican
Simple Science
Simply Soccer
Slim Chickens
Smoothie King
Soccer Master
Sport Shake
Sporting Kansas City
Storage Mart
Sunflower Bank
Swope Park Rangers
The Foot Spot
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

2017, Hi! So Nice To See You!

This will come as no surprise to anyone, but once again, Heartland welcomes another big season of league play! This Spring, we will host nearly 1300 teams for league play. The numbers continue to impress us, especially when you think about where we were just 9 years ago... 

Looking back at 2008, Heartland represented 680 teams. By Spring 2013, that number grew to 1,012- a jump of 332 teams! Fast forward 4 years, and we are up another 272 teams to 1284. Unbelievable!   

On top of the astonishing league numbers, we will host 9 tournament weekends in 2017; starting with Border Battle the last weekend in February. Last year, this tournament brought in 159 teams and we expect that number to grow. Registration deadline for Border Battle is January 23rd, so register today!

The biggest news to come out of 2017 will be the opening of Gateway Sports Village (read the latest news about it below). We are so excited for this new adventure for the entire Kansas City soccer community.

We want to thank everyone for your continued support of Heartland Soccer Association and we wish you the happiest New Year and best of luck out there! Let the season countdown begin!

Gateway Sports Village is scheduled to open
 in  spring 2017
Before the New Year, Heartland announced a partnership with Shaw Sports Turf. With the help of Shaw Turf, Gateway Sports Village will be the largest synthetic turf complex in the world with 14 soccer fields that will also be used for football, lacrosse and youth baseball.

The best performing, world-class playing surface from Shaw Sports Turf will help draw teams regionally, nationally and internationally. 

Gateway Sports Village has chosen the PowerBlade Pro system for its 14 outdoor fields. They will feature revolutionary Bolt fiber, which is a more resilient and stronger fiber, featuring a lightning bolt shape. 

On top of the Bolt fiber, the fields will also utilize the organic GeoFill infill system, which is the leading natural infill in the synthetic turf market. 

To learn more about Shaw Sports turf CLICK HERE
To learn more about Gateway Sports Village CLICK HERE.


Order your tickets today for two great

 Kansas City Comets Games!


To order tickets contact Mike Rodriguez at

855-452-4625 ext 7210

The Referee Corner
Getting Ready for the Spring Season...

Winter officially started on December 21.  The Arctic vortex came to Kansas City along with the first snowfall.  I don't know about you, but for me it was hard to think about what is just around the corner.  But, the only way to be ready for the upcoming Spring season is to get started now.
Success is measured in many ways.  The Heartland Soccer Association considers the following as key parts of delivering a successful Spring season:
  • Fields and facilities:  Heartland is a metropolitan association that crosses state lines.  We are very fortunate to have some of the best facilities in the country.  And, it is getting even better.  In addition to the Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex (which has hosted multiple Regional and National competitions) and Heritage Soccer Park, the new National Training Center in Kansas City, Kansas will add new fields.  We also play matches across the State Line in Missouri (Swope Soccer Village, Legacy Soccer Park, and soon the new Gateway Soccer complex in Grandview).  Multiple world class facilities on both sides of the state line give our metropolitan association teams the best environment to develop and showcase their soccer skills and tactics.
  • Competition:  To become the best you have to compete against the best.  Teams from all over the city and the region play in the Heartland Soccer Association League.  Heartland offers the highest level of competition between St. Louis and Denver.  
  • Referees:  Yes, these factors increase the level of play.  Referees who are serious about officiating want to work where the level of play is highest so they are eager to get assigned Heartland matches.  The higher levels of competition put additional demands on the Referees and the Assistant Referees to make sure that these more competitive matches are FAIR and SAFE.  Heartland is building their Refereeing skills by making investments in the Peer Mentoring program and working with the Kansas and Missouri Referee Development Programs to schedule Entry Level and Recertification Courses that are both available and convenient.  
The Referees, like coaches and players, work hard to deliver a better Heartland Soccer Association experience for you.  While the Heartland program focus is on improving basic skills and game decision making, there are some facts that we want to make everyone aware of:
  • Experience is the most important key to helping Referees do an even better job.
  • Every 2 years the turnover for young Referees is around 50%.  There are many reasons for this.  The Coaches and Parent's Code of Conduct is one of the programs developed to address this turnover.  The Peer Mentoring program is another response.
  • But Referees, like players, graduate from high school and go away to college.  Other Referees get old and aren't able to keep up with the pace of today's games.  This creates gaps that we are continually trying to fill.
In order to support the opportunities for continued high levels of play we are asking some of you to consider becoming a USSF Certified Referee.  In addition to being close to the game that we all love, there are other benefits of becoming a USSF Certified Referee (see  companion article).  Spring is just around the corner.  Let's get ready!

1 .The first step is to get USSF certification. You get certified by attending an Entry Level Course (USSF ELC). You can get certified in any state (this can be Kansas or Missouri. You don't have to register in the state where you live). USSF Certification allows you to work any sanctioned matches in any league governed by the USSF. The schedule for 2017 Entry Level Clinics are posted on the Web. The first step is to register in Game Officials and then enroll in a class. You can do this at: 


There is both a USSF Registration Fee (covers the cost of badges and insurance) and clinic fees. The USSF Registration fee for a starting Referee is $45. Clinic and Administrative fees may be different in Kansas and Missouri. 

2.Buy your uniform and other equipment. Yes, there is an investment required which includes the uniform (shirt, shorts, socks), whistle, cards, and flags. You can budget $50.00 for the basic starter kit. 

3.The next step is to register with Heartland. The steps for registering with Heartland can be found at the following website: 

4.How do you get assigned games and paid? The Heartland assigning process is based on email communications. The assignor will send out a weekly availability request. You respond with your availability and are assigned. You then confirm your assignment. When you complete the game cards they are turned into the office and you are paid via Direct Deposit into the account of your choice every other week. 

5.Will I make money? The initial investment to become a certified Referee and buy the first uniform is between $115 and $135. If you worked 3 games a weekend (assume one center and two Assistant Referee assignments at the youngest age group) you would earn $55.00. In three weekends you would more than pay for your initial investment. Many of our officials do more than 9 games a season and the older the age groups the more the pay. 

The opportunity is there. Will you take up the whistle and get the benefits of being a Referee at Heartland? Contact us at:  or 

Name: Miles
Team: Topeka Select
Position: Goal Keeper
Experience: 4 years

Name: Abby
Team: Sporting Lee's Summit
Position: Center Midfield
Experience: 12 years
"I got certified in January of 2016 and so I've been reffing for about a year now. I decided to ref because once I stopped playing soccer, I still wanted to be involved in the sport and so I got back onto the fields once I got certified. My favorite part about reffing is the experience itself and getting to learn from your mistakes. I also like the lessons you learn on the field that you can use in real life situations, plus you get much better at being able to speak to others/gain communication skills! And everyone can get more help with that, especially because it's a huge factor in the journey of life. I don't REF futsal because it's a busy time of year for my family and  since I have basketball during this time, I don't have much time for reffing futsal. I don't aspire to get to any specific level , but as long as I learn from my mistakes and keep improving as I grow is good enough for me! I used to play soccer with Sporting Blue Valley, but I recently stopped this year to make room in my schedule for other activities like volunteering, taking classes, private violin lessons, and more sports. But, I plan to try out for my school's soccer team this upcoming season! I enjoy helping others and learning from my experiences. I've always strived for success and to do so you have to put yourself out there in the world to see things for yourself. I also babysit along with reffing. It's so much fun and I love spending time with little kids!

The last book I read was Thirteen Reasons Why and it's about the 13 reasons why a girl committed suicide. It's a very beautiful book  that draws you in. I highly recommend this book! I love watching movies, they make me so happy! I watch all types of movies, but my favorite movies are horror movies- they really get me. My favorite sports team is KU Basketball. I love watching KU play and going to games. I'm actually watching the game as I type this up right now. KU makes me so happy, and they never let me down because they always give it their best!" ~ Saha Ahmadian

Congratulations to Saha and thank you for being a such a great inspiration on and off the field! 
Coaches Corner
Playing out from the back, small sided game
Two keepers start off as neutral target players. Team in possession must transfer the ball from one target player to the other. Once they have achieved this they can then attack and score in the opposite goal.
Coaching points:
1. Support the goalkeeper by stretching the pitch. Height, width and depth.
2. Good team shape. Two wide deep options, a player dropping into midfield and height and width with a winger.
3. Deal with the full press. Check in and out/up and down to try and create space. Rotate positions to try and move the defense around.
4. Exploit the overload! Use your keeper and be patient.
5. Encourage keeper to be patient and play out on the floor. If he does spot the opposite team out of balance and team mate unmarked, don't punish the longer pass.

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