Can Soccer Referees Wear Sunglasses?

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

Soccer referees are not allowed to wear sunglasses under any circumstances when officiating games unless prescribed by a physician. However, exceptions may be made for prescription tinted or colored lenses. For such cases, the glasses should be made of impact-resistant and safe materials.

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Can Soccer Referees Wear Sunglasses?

Overview

Soccer referees are tasked with making sure that the game runs smoothly at all times. They have to make the right decisions at all times, regardless of the weather conditions. To achieve all these things, soccer referees have to see correctly and make a good judgment. As you may expect, this may sometimes be a challenge, especially when the sun is shining brightly on the pitch. So, can soccer referees wear sunglasses? We have the answers.

Soccer Uniforms Standards

U.S. soccer referees are expected to act professionally at all times. Also, they are required to dress professionally, whenever they are out on the pitch refereeing a soccer game.

To this end, the U.S Soccer Federation (USSF) has laid down certain uniform standards, to which all soccer referees must adhere to. If you are a soccer referee, then you are expected to adhere to the following uniform standards.

USSF Referee Shirt

Soccer referees should wear a yellow-colored referee shirt. The shirt can be long-sleeved or short-sleeved, depending on your preferences. If you are wearing any undergarments beneath the shirt and they are visible, then these undergarments should be black. Furthermore, the undergarments should have no logos, designs, stripes, writing or any decorations that may be visible outside your referee shirt.

USSF Referee Short

The official USSF referee shorts should be predominantly black with no designs, writings, stripes, or decorations of any type, except the official USSF logo, sponsor logo, manufacturer’s logo or any other approved logo. If you opt to wear compression-style shorts beneath your referee shorts, then the shorts should be predominantly black. Also, the compression or bicycle shorts shouldn’t be longer than the official USSF referee shorts.

USSF Referee Socks

Socks are also part of the official USSF referee attire. Just like the shorts, the socks also should be solid black, featuring two horizontal white stripes. At the same time, they shouldn’t have any unapproved writings, markings, logos, or decorations. Referees are allowed to wear extra socks under their official referee socks, for extra support or comfort.

USSF Referee Shoes

Soccer referees are also required to wear the right set of shoes when refereeing a game. Just like other items of the referee uniform, the shoes should be predominantly or solid black. Their laces should also be solid black. The USSF also requires you to keep your shoes in clean and decent condition.

USSF Referee Badge

Your uniform should also bear the official USSF referee badge. The badge should bear the current certification year. Also, it needs to be properly attached to your official referee shirt. However, no sewing stitches or pins should be visible on the badge.

Additional Gear and Accessories

Soccer referees are also allowed to wear a black wrist watch or a stopwatch. Ideally, you should have two stopwatches. One for starting and stopping during the game and the other one for maintaining a running time, if you forget to start or even restart the other one. You are not allowed to wear a stopwatch around the neck. The USSF prohibits soccer referees from using cell phones during game time.

Also, referees are allowed to have two whistles, in case one develops issues in the middle of the game. You are also allowed to have writing instruments, tossing coins, a notebook, water, energy bars, rubber bands, and sunscreen.

Can Soccer Referees Wear Sunglasses?

The USSF also allows referees to wear optional garments, for windy, cold, hot, rainy or sunny conditions. These garments include undershirts, compression shirts, sweatshirts, rain shirts and wind shirts.

Referees are also allowed to wear rain pants, wind pants, track pants, or sweat pants. Also, USSF soccer referees may wear gloves, ear warmers, yoga pants and baseball caps.

If you decide to wear any of the allowed optional garments, you should ensure whatever you are wearing is predominantly or solid black. Also, it should be free from any visible decorations, designs, writings, or any unapproved markings. 

And this brings us to the question, can soccer referees wear sunglasses? Soccer referees are not allowed to wear sunglasses under any circumstances when refereeing any games, be it an MLS game, or a division 2 game. However, exceptions may be made for some referees for prescription tinted or colored lenses. For such cases, the sunglasses should be made of safe and impact-resistant materials. Also, the glasses should be secured to the head via a sturdy strap.

Reasons Why Soccer Referees Shouldn’t Wear Sunglasses

As we’ve highlighted above, soccer referees are not allowed to wear sunglasses when officiating a game, unless they are prescription lenses. The reason behind this rule is that refereeing with sunglasses poses several risks and dangers.

As you may probably know, soccer is a high-impact sport. And, there’s always the risk of crashing with a player, falling or crashing against a hard surface like a billboard or the advertising boards.

And when this happens, the lenses or the frame may break, causing serious eye injury. Furthermore, you may also end up injuring the players with the sunglasses, if they come off your face or crash with a player during the game. Due to these risks, the USSF prohibits referees from wearing sunglasses when officiating a soccer game, unless prescribed by a physician.

Key Takeaways

  • USSF requires referees to adhere to the official referee uniform
  • Referees are allowed to wear optional items when officiating during inclement weather
  • Referees are not allowed to wear sunglasses, unless prescribed by a physician
  • If you are allowed to officiate with sunglasses, then they should be made of impact-resistant, safe materials and properly secured to the head