Referees must be attired in the official US Soccer Federation (USSF) referee uniform. There will be times when sensible deviations or allowances can be made, for example, during inclement or extreme weather conditions. In such cases, referees should make every effort to comply with these standards.
As a referee, you are an ambassador for US Soccer, the Virginia Youth Soccer Association, SYA Soccer, and “the beautiful game” itself. Embrace this honor with a positive attitude, professionalism, and pride in your appearance!
- USSF Referee Shirt with USSF Referee Badge– short or long sleeve, in Pro or Economy styles.
- Yellow is the primary shirt color.
- Undergarments worn under your referee shirt should be predominantly black.
- Your current year certification badgemust be properly affixed to your referee shirt.
- USSF Referee Shorts– Solid black with no stripes, designs, or markings of any kind, with the exception of an official USSF logo and/or manufacturer’s logo (e.g., Official Sports, Score).
- Compression or “bicycle” shorts worn under your referee shorts should be solid black and preferably no longer than your referee shorts.
- USSF Referee Socks– Solid black with two (2) horizontal white stripes. For comfort or support, referees may wear extra socks of any color under their referee socks.
- Solid Black (or Predominantly Black) Shoes– Clean, with black laces, and in good and safe condition. Acceptable shoes are referee shoes, running shoes, soccer shoes (no metal, aluminum, or steel cleats), turf shoes, or any other appropriately safe, closed-toe footwear.
- Black Wristwatch with Digital Timer or Stopwatch– Stopwatches worn around the neck are prohibited. Cell phones shall not be used to keep time during a game.
- Whistle– Referees may want to have two (2) whistles should one become defective during a game.
- Flipping Coin.
- Yellow and Red Cards.
- Two (2) Assistant Referee Flags.
- Score Pad/Paper and Writing Instruments.
- Inclement Weather Garments– Referees may wear any or all of the following garments for cold, windy, rainy, hot, sunny, etc., days, as well as for medical reasons (e.g., skin protection). In general, all of these garments shall be solid (or predominantly) black and free from visible designs or decorations. Allowances will be made for garments with unobtrusive manufacturer’s logos, but referees should generally avoid wearing garments that have visible designs, stripes, writing, and/or decorations.
- Compression shirts, undershirts, sweatshirts, wind/rain shirts, etc., worn under your referee shirt.
- Wind/rain pants, sweat/track pants, etc., worn over your referee shorts.
- Thermal, compression-style, or yoga pants worn under your referee shorts and inside your socks.
- Gloves, hats, and/or ear warmers. Must be made of soft (safe) materials. Baseball-style caps shall be worn with the brim facing forward.
- Unless prescribed by a physician, under no circumstances are referees to wear sunglasses while officiating games. Exceptions will be made for prescription colored or tinted lenses. If worn, any type of glasses should be made of safe, impact-resistant materials and secured to your head by a strap.
Where to Purchase:
- Referee “starter kits” are widely available online and at soccer supply retailers for about $40-$60. These kits typically include: an economy uniform (shirt, shorts, and socks), flags, whistle, yellow/red cards, flipping coin, velcro disc (for affixing your badge to your shirt), and a referee “book” with score sheets.
- Official Sports is the exclusive referee uniform supplier to US Soccer. Uniforms and equipment can be ordered directly from their website: https://officialsports.com/
- Other major online retailers include:
- Referees should have the appropriate number of shirt colors and sleeve lengths so that all members of the referee team are dressed in the same color, particularly when resolving color conflicts with player/team jerseys. Higher-level competitions (e.g., State Cup, Development Academy, showcase tournaments) often require that referees wear matching colors and sleeve lengths.
- Referees should consider keeping all your gear in a lightweight, easy to carry or wheeled bag.
- Referees may want to buy an extra velcro disc should your badge become separated/lose adhesion when repeatedly removing your badge from your referee shirt.
- Referees are reminded that working several games per day creates wear and tear on the human body. Your shoes should be selected for comfort, support, and durability. Soccer cleats are not recommended.
- Referees should consider having the following additional items in their referee bag:
- Hat (for sun/rain protection)
- Plastic trash bag (to keep your gear dry on wet days)
- Extra pair of referee socks (in case of wet or muddy fields, or other unforeseen circumstances)
- Ball pump and needle
- Water or other hydrating fluids
- Food or snacks
- Insect repellant
- Other personal items as needed