David Acosta

September 20, 1935May 28, 2013
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David Acosta (Dave) September 20, 1935 – May 28, 2013

David Acosta was born in Palm Springs, California on September 20, 1935. His parents, Encarnacion and Guadalupe Acosta, emigrated from Mexico making Dave a first generation American. Soon after, his family relocated to San Jose, CA where he attended Grant Elementary and San Jose High School. In 1954 he enlisted in the Navy. He attended boot camp in San Diego and received training as a diesel engineman. During the Korean War, he served on both the USS Union and the USS Parche. Dave received various commendations including: National Defense, China Service, Good Conduct, United Nations, Korea Defense and Presidential Unit Citation. David met his future wife Erlinda Grijalva, in the second grade. They married in 1958 in Carson City, Nevada. Together they raised two boys, Martin born in 1962 and Roland born two years later in 1964. Towards the end of his military service he started his career at Lockheed Missiles and Space. Even though he had no college degree, his innate intelligence and work ethic allowed him to excel. He successfully worked his way up to Senior Project Manager. Dave took early retirement from Lockheed in 1990. Dave has had many hobbies and passions throughout his life, one of these being motorcycles. He became a charter member of the Campbell Motorcycle Club, serving in many capacities, including Club President. Campbell M/C sponsored many Hill Climb competitions, primarily at Carnegie Cycle Park during the 1970s. His competitive nature garnered many awards including his Expert Plate Division ranking. Long distance running was another of Dave’s hobbies. He would train for miles every day after work. He participated in numerous10K events throughout the Bay Area. It was during this period that he first became interested in soccer because both his boys played in organized leagues; resulting in Dave coaching Roland’s soccer team, the Sting. Once coaching ended, Dave’s real passion came to the forefront . . . Officiating. Soccer officiating became his ultimate career. The responsibilities of being a referee melded perfectly with his skills and talent; organization, attention to detail, sense of fairness, ability to apply written law, but most importantly his desire to teach others. As with every other area of his life, he excelled in this endeavor as well. During his distinguished soccer career he received many accolades, numerous advanced certifications and held many management posts on both the amateur and professional levels. Dave’s management and extensive knowledge of the game contributed in no small part to being hired as the first employee of Off the Wall Soccer back in 1993; contributing to its success as Chief of Referees and Referee Coordinator. It is estimated that Dave has logged over 17,000 outdoor and 7,500 indoor games during his career. As one can imagine, Dave touched many lives over the years. He has friends and acquaintances spread throughout the world; he will be missed, but never forgotten. “Working as administrator and referee for soccer seven days a week and loving every minute”

Visitation will be held on Thursday, June 6, 2013 from 6-9PM with Rosary at 7PM at Lima Family Santa Clara Mortuary, 466 N. Winchester Blvd., Santa Clara. Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, June 7, 2013 at 9:30AM at Our Lady of Peace Parish, 2800 Mission College Blvd., Santa Clara. Interment to follow in Santa Clara Mission Cemetery, 490 Lincoln St., Santa Clara. Immediately following the Interment, family and friends are invited to the Celebration of Life at Off the Wall Soccer, 700 Mathew St., Santa Clara. For more information please visit David's Tribute Page from his friends at Off the Wall Soccer.


  • Visitation Thursday, June 6, 2013
  • Rosary Service Thursday, June 6, 2013
  • Funeral Mass Friday, June 7, 2013

David Acosta

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Jim Hardman

June 21, 2013

I new Dave in PAL soccer many years ago. A great guy. Got me into refereeing.

Jan Eric Nordmo

June 7, 2013

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.

Colin Arblaster

June 6, 2013

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.

Catherine Raffetto

June 4, 2013

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"

Kevin Murphy

June 3, 2013

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...

June 3, 2013

In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.

Jason Sholl

May 31, 2013

The loss of Dave is extremely saddening and personal for me. Dave gave me my first shot at refereeing indoor soccer as a 15 year-old, hot off being a fan of the San Jose Grizzlies. He mentored my development, introduced me to Futsal, and was the conduit to connect me to our International FIFA Referees while I was a youth referee. An amazing supporter, contributor, collaborator, and spirited in all his good will, Dave is always going to be missed. He always connected with me and inspired me to return to soccer in my adulthood. I'll miss him and forever cherish the bond he formed for my soccer officiating career and my personal life.

May 31, 2013

May Your Family Find Comfort During This Difficult Time.

Matt. 11:28-30…Come to me, all YOU who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh YOU. Jesus offers to help us pull our load! We do not have to do it in our own strength.

With My Deepest Sympathy,

May 30, 2013

May 30, 2013