I new Dave in PAL soccer many years ago. A great guy. Got me into refereeing.
Dave Acosta was more than a friend, more than a mentor, more than a coworker, more than a referee, he was a part of my family and me. There really are no words strong enough, nor justly fitting to describe what Mr. Acosta meant to me. Likewise, there is no way to effectively express my gratitude to Erlinda, Martin and Roland for sharing Dave with my family and me.
My personal family, my soccer family and my business family are all greatly indebted to Dave. His flame of life resides in everything that we are. He was not only a team player, mentor, referee and coach of our staff at the Off the Wall Soccer team, he was in many ways the soul of our family.
I first met Dave on the field some 25 years ago while playing in the Peninsula Soccer League when he was refereeing in one of our games. It would not too long after that he answered the call to be the Chief Referee Coordinator at OTWS. He was a proud man, incredibly organized, strong willed, tough, but fair and always enthusiastic. His loyalty to his referee corps and to OTWS was unparalleled in any business, anywhere. He wore his pride on his shirt, his hat, his pens, even his license plate “OTWS 1”. He was a veteran hero of the US Navy submarine corps. To each man he shared his space with on those boats, Dave took that same duty and zeal of responsibility and applied that to his charter at Off the Wall Soccer.
Dave's mentoring skills and his true love and passion for the game of soccer are a rare commodity. He loved his fellow staff and referee corps. His passion for soccer and the members of OTWS could seldom be seen from the casual observer on the outside. His efforts to remain impartial and objective would not always be noticed nor understood fully by those not close to him. But, he was without a doubt the most fair man I have ever met. Decisions on the field by a referee are not always popular, but, this is where Dave would accept the criticism with a selflessly smile inside, knowing he was doing what was best for the game and those that played. Not implying that he was king, after all, he was a very modest man, Dave would say, “Heavy lies the head that wears the crown.” Sometimes those in charge must make unpopular decisions. Dave will be remembered for so many positive impacts that he made on those around him.
Dave will be missed so much. His memory will be with us always in spirit.
I have worked for Dave at Off the Wall Soccer Arena for well over 10 years as an official. Many times I would take a break from refereeing indoor or I would move out of the area temporarily. Dave was the reason why I would always return. A gleaning eye, a smile, a hand shake and a hug always welcomed me back. He was someone for me that I always enjoyed working for. Never did I worry to track the number of games worked with the payment received. Honesty, Integrity and Accuracy were just a few of Dave's badges of honor. Time and time again Dave exemplified for me that one does not work when they are enjoying what they do. It was an honor and a privilege to have worked with him, to have known him and to call him my friend. I will truly miss this man.
My memories of Dave invoke the words, supportive, straight forward, loving family man, strict and challenging. Dave supported me as a referee when others may not have felt the same. Dave gave me experience to referee along side him so I could learn, have fun and gain confidence. Dave believed in me through so many ups and downs in my life that he will never be forgotten. I too remember to this day when I referee that my socks are pulled up, my shirt is tucked in and my shoes are shined. But his stories were amazing from being a boss to being a referee. Dave always gave me the confidence to believe that I could always be better whether it was refereeing or at work. I will remember Dave Acosta for being a great man and a great friend.
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal"
I too met Dave through refereeing and was ever impressed by his professionalism and desire to do the right thing. Dave was very, very supportive of me. He gave me fantastic feedback about how to improve as a manager of the multiple personalities that are running around on a soccer pitch. He was ever attentive to details. I am still bedazzled by his incredible printing; it was like a typewriter's. Whoa! And let's not forget how spiffy Dave always presented himself: socks pulled up perfectly, a sharp new referee shirt (always look for his unique ones), and not a hair out of place. Dave, you have influenced my life significantly. Although I am not refereeing presently, I am a high school teacher and try to channel Dave when I write on the white board. Dave, I will remember you...