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Hall of Fame Spotlight - Dave Forestner (2000)


Dave Forestner began his relationship with the sport of soccer as a parent of youth soccer players. When he and his wife Donna enrolled their children to play, Forestner became an early critic of officiating. In 1976, a referee challenged him to pick up the gauntlet and he accepted.

Forestner took to refereeing very naturally and enjoyed being in the center of the field. He quickly found that he could use his role as a referee to not only facilitate the game being played, but also impact it off the field. He was one of the rare referees who taught and encouraged players while officiating the game.

His talents on the youth field were noticed rather quickly and it wasn't long before he added reffing high school, college and adult amateur games to his resume. Shortly after these accomplishments, Forestner quickly became a Referee Instructor and Assessor as well.  He eventually worked his way up the ranks to a USSF State Referee Grade, State Instructor grade and State Assessor Grade.

Forestner exemplified a total and absolute conviction that popularizing soccer began with the person in the middle of the field and truly regarded referees as ambassadors of the sport. However, to be a proper ambassador, the game needed to be understood and the laws of the game needed to be learned and then translated to the field.

While serving as State Director of Referee Instruction from 1986 to 1996, Forestner developed a statewide instructional program for Georgia that became a model for developing other referee educational programs nationwide. A course he developed to instruct volunteers on serving as linesmen evolved into a course used nationwide as well.

Throughout his time with Georgia Soccer, Forestner also served as President of the Georgia Soccer Officials Associations, President of the Georgia Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association, GSSA State Director of Referee Instruction, USSF State Referee Grade, USSF State Instructor Grade and USSF State Assessor Grade. 

Many current Referee Instructors in Georgia were taught, evaluated or mentored by him. Forestner unfortunately passed away in 1999 and was posthumously inducted into the Georgia Soccer Hall of Fame in 2000. Through the Dave Forestner Fund (established by his family in his memory) his legacy lives on.