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NorCal Continues to Take Strides in Training Top-Level Referees

While most clubs in NorCal Premier Soccer are on the forefront of developing players and coaches, what is often overlooked is the development of referees.

To be the best, players require training from the best coaches, but should also be officiated by the best referees, which is why NorCal began a series of advanced referee courses, starting last month with a clinic attended by nearly 60 officials at Mustang Soccer Complex in Danville.

More courses are in the works, with one scheduled for March 29th in Cupertino, April 5th in Fairfield, and June 14th in Davis.

“When you have an NPL game, you cannot put a grade 8 referee to do those types of games, you want to put a referee who has more experience in handling the type of pressure that you have for those,” said NorCal Referee Director Moe Shafai. “You need to have people that are being assessed and can handle that type of game.”

The three hour, free of charge course splits its time evenly between a classroom session led by a national referee coach as well as practical exercises that are all based on the latest rule interpretations from FIFA.

In the classroom, the referees are shown video and then asked to make calls based on what they saw before taking their lessons into action on the pitch.

“A lot of the referees were surprised that the decisions that they made weren’t an accurate one,” Shafai said. “And these are the latest things coming from FIFA.”

The program is all part of a bigger goal for NorCal to try and improve the level of the game in the state, with a stated object of one day having a referee from the organization take charge of a game at the World Cup.

“It takes time,” Shafai said. “If I can accomplish that in my lifetime, I’ll be a happy man.”

For more information or to schedule a course at your club, email Moe Shafai at