What Do Soccer Referees Wear Under Their Shirts

An undershirt beneath your jersey is completely optional. What is not optional is the color. The shirt must be black or the same color as the jersey. White t-shirts are not allowed. Most referees wear a black Under Armour or similar moisture wicking shirt underneath their jerseys. It is acceptable, especially for new referees, to wear a long-sleeve t-shirt underneath your short-sleeve jersey. The same color restrictions apply.

Finally, there is footwear. The main point here, again, is that we want our footwear to look different from the players. Players spend a lot of time looking down at the ground and need to be able to tell who is not a player at a glance by looking at their footwear and socks. The footwear should be all black, with the exception of a white manufacturer’s logo. Some discretion is allowed in determining appropriate footwear. We recognize that cleats and turf shoes are expensive and don’t want to burden new referees with excessive cost. But, those flashy lime green boots you bought as a player definitely won’t do as a referee.

Referee Uniform Suppliers

The most widely known supplier of referee uniforms is Official Sports International (OSI). OSI is an official “Technical Partner” of the USSF, which really means that they are a sponsor. If you’ve already been to your certification class, you may have received a flyer from the instructors in the class featuring a package deal from OSI for new referees. While this option is perfectly acceptable, it is important to know that there other (and indeed, better) alternatives. OSI is the only uniform supplier allowed to place the USSF Referee Program logo on their items. This, among other things, makes OSI the far and away leader in referee uniform sales. That said, new referees shouldn’t feel pressured to purchase OSI gear. There is a large price difference between the OSI Pro and Economy lines, and we don’t recommend the Economy line, for reasons you’ll read about below.

Kwik Goal is also an official Technical Partner of USSF. Kwik Goal is perhaps better known as a manufacturer of soccer goals, corner flags, and benches, but they also sell a line of referee gear that is perfectly acceptable.

Score Sports sells player uniforms, balls, and coaching gear, as well as referee gear. Their uniforms meet all USSF standards.

There are several other suppliers, including Law FiveFinal Decision, and Epic Sports. These six suppliers account for the vast majority of referee uniform sales.

Referees must be attired in the official US Soccer Federation (USSF) uniform. As a referee, you are in elite company as an ambassador for US Soccer, the Virginia Youth Soccer Association, SYA Soccer, and “the beautiful game.” Embrace this honor with a positive attitude, professionalism, and pride in your appearance!

Required Items:

1. USSF Referee Shirt with USSF Referee Badge – short or long sleeve, in Pro or Economy styles. Yellow is the primary shirt color. If visible, undergarments worn under your referee shirt should be predominantly black. Your current year certification badge should be properly affixed to your referee shirt.

2. 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, Capelli, Score). If visible, compression or “bicycle” shorts worn under your referee shorts should be solid black.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Black Wristwatch with Digital Timer or Stopwatch Function – Stopwatches worn around the neck are prohibited. Cell phones shall not be used to keep time during a game.

6. Whistle.

7. Flipping Coin.

8. Yellow and Red Cards.

9. Two (2) Assistant Referee Flags.

10. Score Pad/Paper and Writing Instruments.

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