The USA Team Handball (USATH) have teamed up with the International Handful Federation (IHF) to offer a course to prepare referees for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
The intermediate referee course was held online and ran across three successive Saturdays in March and April.
It was the second of three planned free courses which aim to provide handball officials in the US with the best knowledge for their roles.
The USATH wants to strengthen both the quantity and quality of referees ahead of Los Angeles 2028.
Referees, technical delegates, statisticians, timekeepers and scorekeepers are among the officiating roles that are expected to be available at the Games.
Per Morten Sodal, lecturer for the IHF Playing Rules and Referees Commission (PRC) and handball official, led the course which also featured Tugomir Anusic, chair of the USATH National Referee Committee and and IHF PRC chairman Ramon Gallego.
More than 110 people registered with each session lasting around two hours.
The first session covered "7m and the Goal Area", the second looked at "Attackers’ Faults and Provocations" and the third focused on "Body Language".
Sodal started the course by issuing the message "LA 2028 – YOU can be there" on the first slide.
"We hope to come and view you in the USA soon to see the high level [you’re at]," said Sodal.
"What is most important is what you do in your own competitions and communities.
"The game is getting quicker and quicker, the players are getting stronger and stronger.
"The referees must be athletes.
"The role demands concentration and mental strength.
"Referees are leaders of the game and they need management skills.
"A study has shown 1,000 decisions are taken during two 30 minutes halves in handball and we must aim for perfection."
Gallego described Los Angeles 2028 as the "finish line" as he aims to improve the standard of refereeing ahead of the Games.
"We want you to become better, to develop handball in the USA and I really hope we can be together soon face-to-face to discuss openly when you are able to whistle and we are able to send our advice," said Gallego.
"There are a lot of important topics at a high level.
"Open your eyes and take with you all the videos, advice and lessons and from time-to-time look again, read your notes, we are always able to help."
Anusic added: "This has been a really good education.
"It’s a great reminder for all referees to know that we are the leaders of the game and in the first 10 minutes we show the players and everyone involved in the game how we are going to lead it.
"We are not police officers on court, we are just helpers to help the players achieve the best results according to the rules of the game and that’s what we need to keep in our minds going forward."