Can soccer referees wear pants

Soccer referees may sometimes have to officiate games when it’s extremely cold. But can soccer referees wear pants? This informative guide has the answers.

can soccer referees wear pants

Soccer referees can wear pants. However, it’s highly advisable to wear compression pants or leggings instead of track pants, to help maintain a professional look. Also, if you decide to wear pants, they should be solid black or predominantly black, to match your shorts.

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Soccer referees spend the entire 90 minutes of the game running up and down the pitch. This is not a short time, and it requires a lot of stamina and focus on the side of the referee. After all, they have to oversee every aspect of the game and ensure it runs smoothly. Again, during this time, the referee has to make decisions which are accurate.

And to do so, they have to be properly and comfortably dressed when officiating the game. This is to ensure that they achieve optimal performance, and that they are not a source of distraction. However, severe weather conditions may sometimes make it hard to officiate a game with their usual attire. And, during such times, they may have to wear additional clothing.  

But can soccer referees wear pants? We’ve undertaken comprehensive research on this topic and we have the answers. In this guide, we will take a closer look at the uniform requirements for soccer referees as well as whether they can wear pants while officiating a soccer game. Having said that, let’s jump straight in.

About Uniforms for Soccer Referees

Soccer referees in the U.S. are required to stick to a particular attire or uniform when overseeing a game, regardless of the league. Let’s take a closer look at the uniform requirements for soccer referees.


Soccer referees are required to wear a gold-colored shirt. But, they may also wear blue, green, green or black alternate jerseys in some situations.

Soccer referees are not allowed to wear shirts of any other color, unless with express written permission by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). You can opt for a short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirt, depending on your preferences.

Can Soccer Referees Wear Sunglasses?

In a situation where the referee’s shirt and the uniform colors of the players are similar to an extent where confusion may arise, then the players must change their uniforms to a different color.

However, if there’s no way to resolve the uniforms’ color similarity, then the referees may be allowed to wear shirts of a different allowed color.


Soccer referees are only allowed to wear solid black shorts. And, these shorts shouldn’t bear any markings, designs, stripes, or decorations of any type, unless it’s the manufacturer’s logo or the official USSF logo.


USSF referees are also required to wear socks as part of their uniform. These socks should be predominantly black, featuring two white horizontal stripes. We should also point out that soccer referees are also allowed to wear extra socks under their official socks, in case they need extra support or comfort. The under socks can be of any color.


As we mentioned earlier, soccer referees spend the majority of their time running up and down the pitch. To this end, they also need to wear the right pair of shoes, to enable them to run with as much agility and speed as the players.

Ideally, any pair of sports shoes can do the job. Most referees opt to wear soccer cleats, thanks to their outstanding grip. But, regardless of the shoes that you choose, you need to ensure they are predominantly black, polished, neatly tied and clean.

Optional Items

Soccer referees will occasionally have to officiate games during bad weather. For instance, you may have to officiate a game when it’s extremely hot and sunny, rainy, or windy.

And, they are allowed to wear additional garments during such days. Such garments may include things like undershirts, compression shirts, moisture-wicking shirts, rain or wind shirts, gloves, ear warmers, or hats.

If you decide to wear any of these optional garments, you need to make sure that whatever you are wearing is predominantly black. Also, the item should be free from any visible decorations, markings, writings, or designs of any type.

If you are wearing garments under your shirt or shorts, they shouldn’t be visible. Ideally, the sleeves of your shirt or shorts should conceal whatever undergarments you are wearing.

We should also point out that referees are not allowed to wear sunglasses when officiating a game under normal circumstances. The reason why soccer referees are not allowed to wear sunglasses is that they tend to create a communication barrier between the referee and the player. With sunglasses on, it will be impossible to have eye-to-eye contact with a player.

Also, sunglasses may create the impression that the referee is visually impaired. As such the players may end up doubting some of the decisions that such a referee will make on the pitch. And, this can cause chaos.

In addition, sunglasses also pose a safety risk to both the referee and the players. For instance, if the referee was to collide with a player, the sunglasses may break, leaving both with serious injuries.  

However, referees may sometimes have to officiate games early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the sun is directly in their line of sight. During such games, the referee may be allowed to wear sunglasses.

In such rare cases, the referee should make sure the glasses they are wearing are made of impact-resistant and safe materials. Also, they should ensure they’ve secured them to the head properly using a strong strap.

Can Soccer Referees wear Pants?

As we’ve mentioned above, soccer referees are allowed to wear additional clothing, whenever they are officiating games during bad weather. But can they wear pants? Yes, soccer referees may wear long pants. But, the pants should be predominantly black or solid black, to help maintain that professional look.

Key Takeaways

  • Soccer referees have to wear proper and comfortable clothing
  • Soccer referees have to adhere to official USSF referees’ attire
  • Soccer referees can wear pants when officiating games in cold conditions
  • The pants should be solid black or predominantly black

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