A Day With California Soccer’s Referee Young Guns

It’s the second weekend of the 2014 SFSFL  season, and the game returns to the historic Boxer Stadium, home of the SFSFL for the last 50 years, way before the MLS was even a dream. As Premier Division players warm up and prepare to give their final pep talks, league commissioner and SFSFL President, Leo Schoomilof, inspects the field for one last time before the action begins.

Historic Boxer Stadium

Officiating at these games are some of the west coast’s brightest young referees, carefully trained and selected by the California North Referee Administration (or CNRA for short). Like players and coaches, referees have their own passion for the beautiful game and many have dreams of officiating at the highest level possible.  So the CNRA – which has 12,000 referees on it’s books – has created a new Tier 1 group of referees, comprising of over 40 talented men and women who represent the future of soccer in America.

Chris Hutchison with CNRA's Brightest Young TalentExcited by the SFSFL’s high level of competition and talent, today’s Tier 1 referees have traveled from far and wide: Tucker Schwarberg from Turlock, Victor Rivas from Berkeley, Luis Ordaz from Thousand Oaks, Isai Baltezar and Charles “Chase” Zumpft from Reno (yes, Reno, Nevada).

It’s a long commute for many of them, but the high intensity and the complexity of the game is a worthwhile effort for referees who are looking to gain experience at the highest level possible at amateur level. In turn, players in San Francisco’s historic league, and many other of CSAN’s 23 affiliates, have the comfort of knowing that their games are officiated by the very best of America’s young rising talent.


ChaseDuring his time playing club and high school “ball”, Tucker Schwarberg, now 23 years old, tried his hand at refereeing as a way to earn extra money on weekends and in summer months. “You could make your own schedule and earn a good amount of money for a teenager.”, he says, “But then I got hooked.” Last week, Tucker was the fourth official for the Fresno Fuego v LA Galaxy 2 game. Today he’s center referee in an SFSFL Premier Division game. “I’d say the skill level is more or less the same but the players are a little fitter and faster.”


THe CNRA’s Tier 1 officials get together once a month for specialized training and receive special funding to travel to other states across the United States for vital refereeing experience. “It used to be that we would have to pay for all this travel out of our own pockets.” says Chris Hutchison, “But the CNRA has made a good change to help nurture our best refs”.

Chris Hutchison is a national official who, as well as having many years experience at a very high level, used to play in the SFSFL in his twenties. ”The Tier 1 program would be nothing without the assignors”, he adds, “They are the guys and gals who make this program work”.

Referee assignors are responsible for “assigning” the right referees to the right games. This is often a tricky task as the assignor needs to understand an official’s strengths and abilities as well as the level of competition of each team and the type of game they will be overseeing. The San Francisco Soccer League’s vice-president, Jeff Staben, is one such assignor and has been an avid champion of the Tier 1 program since it’s inception.

As the back to back matches at Boxer Stadium draw to a close, and the team managers give their player debriefs, our referees complete their match reports for submission to the San Francisco Soccer Football League. Two players were sent off today – one for kicking out at an opponent and another for preventing a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Those players will have to watch from the stands for a while, but at least they will all go home knowing that their futures will be reviewed promptly, fairly and with the spirit of the game in mind.

By the way, if you’re interested in becoming an referee, you might want to pay a visit to the CNRA website: http://www.cnra.net/

Getting involved is easy, you’ll get to meet great new people and you’ll enjoy playing one of the most important roles in our precious game.




CSAN Workshop Report – How to get a Sponsorship Deal for Your Club of League

This past Saturday, we held our very first CSAN Workshop. The theme for this month’s event was League Sponsorship. And the response was fantastic, with members from the San Francisco Soccer League, the Golden Gate Women’s Soccer League, Papy League, Fraternidad, Monterey Peninsula Soccer League and the Women’s Premier Soccer League contributing valuable insight and ideas.
A special thanks goes to CSAN President, Ric Olivas, and the CSAN Office team for hosting us and providing delicious food and refreshments. 
A full list of attendees can be seen below, and I’ve included some notes on what was discussed and some of the ideas that we will be exploring over the coming months. 

Part 1 – Business Model Canvas for Soccer Leagues

The first part of our session was a brainstorm through the Business Model Canvas. This exercise is designed to create a spacial snapshot of the business of running a league. It provides an excellent foundation from which we can begin to identify our opportunities as leagues. 
What are our products? Who are our customers? What are our revenue streams and costs? Who are our key partners, suppliers and resources? What activities are essential to running a successful league? And most importantly, what is our value proposition to each customer segment? 
We recommend that all our member leagues take a moment to make their own Business Model Canvas, and encourage you to share any questions or ideas with us. 
To end the first half of our workshop, we discussed our business metrics: How do you measure the health of your league? And how we measure the success of any strategies and initiatives that we come up with?
We looked the most important things we can track to help us understand our customers.

The obvious data points are # of players and teams, but website visits, pageviews and other metrics are of increasing importance to sponsors who want to know what they are getting out of their investment.

Being able to present information about our product and our audience is critical to forging a meaningful partnership with our sponsors. Here’s how the Iowa Soccer Association presents itself to prospective sponsors and advertisers. Download their media tool kit for a good example of a handout.  


Part 2 – Identifying Sponsor or Partnership Opportunities

In the second half of our meeting, we huddled to talk about sponsorship. We looked at the opportunities that CSAN and member leagues can explore as we move into a new era for soccer in California. 
Our teams identified two categories of sponsors, blue-chip companies with national or international reach versus local companies and businesses with fewer resources but greater partnership opportunities. 
The general conclusion was that blue chip sponsors are more likely to see value in forging partnerships that can benefit CSAN because of our organization’s ability to provide exposure in more northern California markets.
Local sponsors provide leagues with an opportunity to connect with their immediate communities. We explored partnership ideas that could help subsidize our team costs by encouraging them to reach out to local business for exclusive sponorship deals. This has been successfully employed in other adult sports leagues, where many teams agree sponsorship deals with rival pubs and bars in exchange for running post-game and fundraising events at their venues. 
One initiative that CSAN is exploring is a partnership with Global Scarves, a company providing high quality team and league branded soccer scarves that players can sell to their community of family and friends as a way to subsidize their participation fees. An exciting aspect to such a scheme is that we can incite our community of players and team managers to seek sponsorship from local business whose logos will appear alongside their own team logos! 
Stay tuned! Our team is working on the details of how this would work and will soon be sending a flyer to all CSAN member leagues, explaining this initiative.
Whiteboard and flip board snapshots have been sent to all CSAN board members via email.
Have ideas? Have leads? Need help? 
Contact us at: partners@csan.net


Marcos Yanez, President
Rene Perez, Vice-President
Alan Mandujano, 
Papy Soccer League
Tom Moore
Monterey Peninsula Soccer League
Ric Olivas, President
California Soccer Association North
Jill Lounsbury, Manager
San Francisco Nighthawks (club)
Women’s Premier Soccer League
Cassandra Deher, PR & Marketing
Womens Premier Soccer League
Wilton Guevara
Fraternidad Soccer League
Corinne Moya
Golden Gate Women’s Soccer League
Craig Settles, Vice President
Golden Gate Women’s Soccer League
Ari Bronstein, Principal
Class 1 Analytics

CSAN Workshop: How to Get a Sponsorship Deal for your Club or League

California Soccer Association North is proud to announce our first ever monthly workshop and we’re kicking it off with a bang! 

CSAN Workshops are all about sharing your ideas and helping us grow. This month we will be talking about creating new league and team revenue streams through sponsorship.
Our workshop is open to all members of the soccer community. Feel free to invite other league, team leaders and partners to participate. At each monthly event, CSAN will be inviting leaders from San Francisco and Silicon Valley’s business community to share their thoughts and ideas.
Entry is FREE, but please RSVP so we can count you in for some lunch!

How to Get a Sponsorship Deal for your Club or League

Every good grass-roots league is able to cover all it’s operating costs through membership fees, but sponsorship is often a great way to help you grow. In this workshop we take a look at the best ways to reach out to new sponsors, what you can offer them and what you should expect in return.

  • How do we attract the best possible sponsors to our leagues?
  • How do we approach them?
  • What can we offer our sponsors?
  • What should we be asking from them?
The workshop will be moderated by Pedro Rico, Chairman of the Growth & Innovation Committee at CSAN and founder of PlayerPro.
Here are the details:
CSAN Sponsorship Workshop
Saturday, February 8th 2014
at 12:30pm
Lunch will be served!



Dial-in/Google Hangout details will be announced next week!



CSAN Conference Room
1346 Silver Ave, San Francisco, CA 94134



Women's Soccer in California

Hawaii’s Women’s Invitational Returns for 36th Year!

California Soccer Association North is proud to support the 36th Annual Wahine Invitational Soccer Tournament in Hawaii. Played at one of the most beautiful soccer settings on Earth, this historical tournament includes women’s Open, Over 30′s, Over 40′s and Over 50′s tournament brackets.

The tournament is open for all participants, so if you’re looking to play in the tropical Hawaii sunshine, or you have a team that you want to field, get in touch with the organizers at Soccer Hawaii. All registered CSAN members are automatically eligible to play in this tournament, so remember to pack your Player ID card. Aloha kākou!

36th Annual Wahine Invitational Soccer Tournament

36th Annual Wahine Invitational Soccer Tournament

San Francisco’s Historic Soccer League Gets Elite Status

The San Francisco Soccer Football League – America’s oldest soccer league – has been officially recognized as the West Coast’s elite competitive soccer league by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA).

Now entering it’s 111th year, the SFSFL pre-dates even the mighty FIFA, surviving two world wars and the great depression to champion the growth of soccer in California. None of this would have been possible were it not for dedicated soccer players and fans whose vision was for a not-for-profit league that includes members from the San Francisco Bay Area’s diverse communities.

Like CSAN, the SFSFL is embarking on somewhat of a transformation by introducing new members to its leadership team and embracing social networking technology to service the 21st century soccer player. 

Teams like Club Marin and El Farolito bring an increasing level of competitiveness and professionalism to the SFSFL as the game matures to embrace conveyor belt style clubs that have made European soccer systems so successful.

California Soccer Association North congratulates the SFSFL’s leadership team and players for continuing the competitive soccer tradition in our great State.

Here’s an excellent promo video from the SFSFL’s Club Marin team:

The new SFSFL Spring season starts in March 2014.


CSAN Launches New Growth & Innovation Committee

CSAN is proud to announce the formation of our new Growth & Innovation Committee.

The Growth & Innovation Committee will be headed by Pedro Rico, founder of PlayerPro and a 16 year accredited soccer coach in Calfornia and the UK. Pedro has coached in the Golden Gate Women’s Soccer Premier Division, SF Vikings League and the Bay Area Conference, most recently at Head-Royce School where he led the continued development of the schools’ 10 team soccer program under the stewardship of Athletic Director Brendan Blakeley.

The Growth and Innovation Committee’s mission is three-fold:

  • Introduce best practices employed by soccer associations in the US and abroad
  • Develop partnerships with Sponsors and partners with a view to improving services for CSAN members and developing the game of soccer in northern California
  • Grow CSAN’s representation of adult soccer players and teams by strengthening our connection with leagues, teams and players

Speaking at CSAN’s December board meeting, CSAN’s President – Ric Olivas said:

“Mr Rico has already made a significant contribution to our Association by upgrading our website and making it easier for members to connect with CSAN.”


We welcome Pedro to our team and invite all California soccer fans to continue CSAN’s tradition as a the driving force behind soccer in America’s most populous State.


CSAN Partners in launch of The California Soccer Awards

CSAN is proud to announce the launch of The California Soccer Awards in collaboration with PlayerPro.

The inaugural California Soccer Awards celebrates outstanding achievements in California’s vibrant and growing soccer community. Awards will be given for best player, best team, best coach and more, and will be voted on by you, the soccer community.

California Soccer Awards Launch Party in San Francisco

The California Soccer Awards Launch Party – Inaugural awards will be in 2014

Supported by Mayor of San Francisco, Edwin Lee, the California Soccer Awards is an annual ceremony that invites youth and adult soccer participants from all walks of life.

“I commend California Soccer Association North for choosing San Francisco, the Innovation Capital of the World, as home to the inaugural awards ceremony in 2014, and for their efforts to embrace new technology that will make soccer more accessible and enjoyable for all. Congratulations to all California Soccer members and PlayerPro for making this event a true success.”


Edwin Lee – Mayor of San Francisco

The first California Soccer Awards will be held in 2014 and we will making an announcement soon about the venue and the date.

Making CSAN’s Team & Services More Accessible

Thanks to our friends at PlayerPro, CSAN members can now enjoy our brand new website. And we promise not to disappoint.

Whether you’re a player looking for a team, a team looking for a league, or a league looking for a home, CSAN is here to help. Click on our big Email Us Now button to contact our friendly office team. We’ll answer any question you ask, as long as it’s not naughty!

So here it is… our BIG BUTTON! Use it like a bat-phone or just give us a call!

By the way, our new email address is office@csan.net

A New Era for California’s Premier Soccer Association

California Soccer Association North is proud to announce a brand new modernization drive for our organization.

As America’s first soccer association, CSAN has a proud heritage as a champion of the beautiful game in California and throughout the country. We hope to continue this tradition by introducing new services for our members, and expanding our reach throughout the great state of Calfornia.

“California Soccer Association North pre-dates even FIFA and has a great tradition of supporting soccer throughout California.” says CSAN President Ric Olivas, himself a USF soccer alum and Bay Area soccer legend.

We look forward to an exciting new 21st century direction for CSAN and invite all soccer players, managers and fans to join a new chapter in our journey.