Respecting the Game at its R.O.O.T.S.

Each month during the 2022 fall season we will focus on R.O.O.T.S- Rules, Opponent, Officials, Teammates, and Self, as outlined by The Positive Coaching Alliance. We will highlight the value of RESPECT for each area.

Know the Laws of the Game-

How well do you know the rules (or more correctly, the Laws) of the game?

One of the leading causes of stress, confusion, anger, and angst during soccer games (youth through professional) is the misunderstanding, misapplication, and misconceptions around the rules of the game. Here are five of the leading culprits when it comes to problem causing Laws in soccer:

Offside (note-not Offsides)

The “interpretation” of offside is worthy of an entire book, but a majority of the debate takes place around interpreting two components: the positioning of the offending player at the time the ball was played and if the alleged offending player was “actively involved” in the play.

Being “actively involved” generally refers to 3 possibilities; receiving the ball, engaging the defender as they receive the ball, or actively interfering with the goalkeeper’s ability to make a play on a shot ball.  The first is fairly obvious, the second two can be a little more subjective and open to interpretation by the official. If player in an offside position stops their run, then other players coming from onside positions are able to pursue the ball without a call being made.

Determining offside position is a tricky balance of seeing the ball and the position of the player at the same time.  If, like most spectators, you were watching the ball, then by the time you turn your gaze towards the offensive player, he/she may be behind the second-to-last defender at that time…but were not “at the time the ball was played.”  While some incidences can be easily judged, the use (and arguments over) Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has shown how difficult and tight this judgement can be.

Before you yell “offside” the next time, ask yourself: how many times you are REALLY looking at the second-to-last defender from a 90-degree angle at the exact time the ball is played in the direction of an attacking player? And, were you REALLY looking AT the last defender and listening for the thump of the ball (which remember also takes time to travel to your ears.)

Ball out of play

Judging whether a ball is out or not seems simple enough on paper but can be super hard to judge at full speed. For those coming from other sports, where the play is “out” if a player or ball touches a line, this rule, even on paper, needs a little getting used to.

To be clear: In soccer, the “whole ball must be over the whole line” to be out. And that line of course extends infinitely upward as an invisible plane that can be broken by a ball, but not surpassed completely. Once you’re sure you know the rule, unless you are “looking straight down the line” like the end zone camera in American football, you can’t really be sure. Even assuming perfect position and no obstructions of your view (and that you didn’t blink at the wrong time) there’s still the geometry of the thing…the ball is round.

While it’s pretty easy to judge looking straight down from the top like in the image above, when you’re looking from a lower point of view (and from any angle not directly “down the line”) it is very possible for the ball to not be physically touching the line on the ground, but for the outer edges of its widest point to STILL be hanging over the outer plain of the line.

Handling (note-not Handball)

This rule is one of the hardest for a referee to judge with even more nuance… and room for interpretation… and more opportunities for obstructed views than offside or out-of-play decisions.

In short, the hand (arm) must “play the ball,” not the “ball to hand.” This means the ball can touch a player’s arm, but if it’s not really their fault, it’s not a foul. But what is their fault? Did they stand with their arms raised like someone was aiming a gun? Or were their arms just in a natural running position?

And where did the ball come from? Was it shot toward them from one yard away and it deflected up off their knee to an arm that was outstretched in the motion of lunging (have you ever tried lunging while keeping your arms down?)

With these nuances, it’s no wonder many professional referees even disagree on calls when they review matches on video after matches. Yet “handball” is the most frequent shout from parents at any game — and always from parents supporting the team opposite of the one whose arm touched the ball.


This is a “rule” that favors more than it hurts when called, yet so many parents completely miss it in the big picture of the game. Yes, a player may have been crushed by a late tackle as they passed the ball, but if their pass makes it to a teammate with time and space on the ball — especially in the attacking half of the field — then you really DON’T want to hear to the referee’s whistle, do you?

Referees are advised to yell “play on” and raise both arms forward when they acknowledge a foul occurred, but they are choosing not to stop the play because calling the foul would actually have taken a good advantage away from the aggrieved team.

If the foul was bad enough, the referee will return to the offending player at the next natural stoppage of play and eject, caution, or give them a stern talking-to. If not, then literally “no harm, no foul.”

Direct vs. Indirect

What happens after the whistle blows — or what can happen — is another often misunderstood occurrence. Does a team get a direct or indirect free kick? The rules are clear as to which offense earns the appropriate result. Generally, fouls that involve player-on-player offenses are direct, while procedural offenses are indirect. Handling is also direct.

  • A direct free kick simply means the ball can count as a goal if it goes directly in the opponent’s goal without touching another player first.
  • An indirect free kick (or throw-in) means the ball must touch another player (on either team) before entering the opponent’s goal in order for it to count. If it does so without that second touch, then it’s just a goal kick for the defending team.

Here are some additional resources to help you understand more about the Laws of the Game.

Ready to TEST your knowledge?  Soccer America has put together a Rules Quiz

Our goal is to continue to develop all of our players and their respective teams with an improved player development model and pathway during the new Fall 2022 – Spring 23 season after the tryouts.

Your player’s coach both as a volunteer and paid licensed and certified coach is part of our team and will continue to be part of our soccer club and community. The new partnership is aware that our responsibility as a youth club is to provide more support and resources to each coach so that our players and parents experience is even better.

We plan to have most of our current coaching team to continue to lead their assigned teams for the upcoming season unless there is a conflict with their schedule and/or another opportunity they prefer to pursue in the club which we may consider and appoint a new coach as a result.

Uniforms are set to change for the Fall 2022 – Spring 2023 season and we plan to keep the new and upcoming kits for 2-year period as that is the cycle suggested by the manufacturers.

Our new uniform/player kit brand will be Nike.

Pricing will be very comparable to our current brand of uniforms/player kits as we plan to add more value to the assortment of products that our players currently receive.

No. We will be using Soccer Village as our vendor for our families to order their new season uniforms/player kits.

Soccer Village will provide sample sizes during tryouts for the new uniforms/player kits so that you can order the correct sizing for your player.

Click here to view the Soccer Village website.

Fees will be an all-inclusive model that will cover all expenses (except uniform and personal travel).

No separate club fees and team dues.

Families will have an improved payment plan option of 8 installments with an initial deposit.

Financial Aid and Scholarships will still be available to our families. More information will be added to the website once tryouts have concluded.

Teams will continue to train at the same locations. A big part of this partnership is to work with the city and other independent locations to improve and invest in facilities to create a better training and playing environment.

Kings Hammer is one of the most recognizable privately held clubs in the Midwest.

Founded in 1993 in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.

2 US Youth National titles, 2 runners-up, 4 US Youth Region 2 Champs, 42 OH State Cups, 25 KY State Cups.

In 2020, they added a U23 team in the Ohio Valley Premier League, winning the league’s inaugural season in the Fall of 2020.

In 2021, they joined USL League Two, the pre-professional division of the USL in the US and adding a USL-W team for the 2022 season.

Kings Hammer is backed by Corporex, a privately held investment company with broad holdings throughout the United States. CPX creates investment opportunities for their capital partners through traditional real estate assets as well as an ever-broadening array of other opportunistic investments including Commonwealth Hotels, Kings Hammer Soccer LLC, Alpine Mountain Ranch & Club and Five Seasons Family Sports Clubs. Their ability to create exceptional value through these investments is rooted in their 56-year history as a BUILDER. Why Kings Hammer?

A Complete Pathway to support an all-inclusive player development

Grassroots-Premier-Academy-Professional Development

  • Pathway will start with grassroots and premier program for the 2022/23 season
  • All-inclusive pay structure with flexible and affordable payment plans that covers all costs. 

No additional team fees (uniform/player kits & personal travel are not included)

  • Additional showcases and ID platforms through KH events & network
  • Unique travel and network opportunities through KH and its partners
  • Increased scholarship support through club and local foundation
  • Affordable uniform costs with better assortment through Nike and SV partnership
  • Play Metrics operations & comm. Platform connects the entire club
  • Techne training app – Supporting self-improvement at home
  • Sports Recruits (College recruitment platform and support)
  • College recruitment seminar
  • Player/Parent Education through KH Education Division
  • Kings Hammer Speaker Series – Platform created to present relevant youth soccer information. National and International guest speakers
  • Use of camera & technology for further development opportunities
  • Kings Hammer Goalkeeper Union for specialized training

Our goal is to make Kings Hammer Murfreesboro SC one of the most successful regional youth soccer clubs that focuses on player development with the proper core values. We plan to recruit and retain all coaches that will enable us to achieve our player development pathway for our players in the long run.

Kings Hammer Murfreesboro will continue to offer all levels of appropriate aged training for all level players. Click here to see our new and improved player development pathway.

Kings Hammer Murfreesboro will continue to offer programs all year round.

Full details of all programming will be released in May 2022.

Yes, the logo and the name will change to represent the new King Hammer Murfreesboro.

We will be combining local, regional, and possibly national sponsorships to generate the resources and scale up the opportunities for our Murfreesboro area players and teams. The benefit of our partnerships has impacted our families far beyond just sponsorships.


Technically, No. The Board of Director of MSC have agreed unanimously to sign a 6-year Partnership Agreement to outsource the management of the club to Kings Hammer to elevate the services we are currently and increase the opportunities to have a bigger economic impact to our community with this partnership.

Kings Hammer provides professional player development, great customer service, and offers an inclusive approach to youth soccer.  Kings Hammer Murfreesboro SC will elevate the scale of a community club with access to the highest-level opportunities for players to reach their fullest potential. Throughout the tiered system of development, players and coaches will be able to develop in the appropriate tiered programming, network and expertise provided by Kings Hammer Soccer Club.

Our Recreational Program, which will be branded as our Grassroots Program will continue to play their games at Richard Siegel Soccer Complex under the umbrella of Kings Hammer Murfreesboro SC with more support and resources for both players, parents and volunteer coaches of the program.

Our Academy and Select Program, which will be branded as our Premier Program will continue to train and play their games at Richard Siegel Soccer Complex as well as other locations they currently travel as part of their JDL and TSL games schedule versus other TSSA member organizations and youth soccer clubs.

Our future Premier Program teams will also continue to travel and attend tournaments within the state of TN and possibly other states based on their specific development need and skill level as a team.

No. However Kings Hammer Murfreesboro SC will have an improved structured player development model and a pathway that can support each individual player to play at different levels and assist players achieve their specific goals.

No. Kings Hammer have strong program representation in both States and their players play in their respective locations. The newly formed King Hammer Murfreesboro SC player will continue to play their JDL and TSL games in our area against other TSSA member organizations as scheduled by our state.

Premier Program teams may eventually travel to tournaments in Kentucky and Ohio as a result our partnership with Kings Hammer and vice versa.

As the club grows, we may potentially combine top players from each location to create regional development teams to compete at higher caliber events, showcases to create additional opportunities our players. 

That is our overarching goal and plan. However, it will take some time until we can have teams that can compete in higher level platforms. As Kings Hammer Murfreesboro, we’ve already started working towards a strategic development plan to prepare our club to be part of these leagues and compete at the highest level possible in a short amount of time.