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After receiving the assignment and my starting to work through my fear of running a line after 10 years, we had our first team decision to make ... what to wear.
Now, in some cases this is really easy. Take a look here at an old assignment, it pretty clearly spells out who is wearing what. Easy peasy.
In our case, we knew the teams, and had a rough idea about color, but wanted to be sure so a conversation broke out over EMail that went into great detail about what color to wear, what style shirt of that color to wear, sleeve length, what shorts to wear (logo, no logo), what socks to wear (stripes, logo) ... on and on.
At the end of the day Tom, who was serving as the referee, was right to say simply, "Come dressed, and be comfortable."
Again, easy peasy.
Now, what of the poor referee who has no such guidance? There are (5) colors of new styled shirts, (4) colors of old styled shirts, and (2) sleeve lengths of each. We also have (4) types of socks and (3) types of shorts. That is close to 500 different combinations of uniforms. This does not even include the NISOA variants. YIPES!
So what is a referee to do?
Here are a few thoughts.
- In January of 2008, US Soccer put out a memo regarding the New OSI Uniforms. If there are questions, a referee should refer to that memo. A very nice answer to a question is also here, at Ask A Soccer Referee.
- If you are going to a particular competition and it was not announced what shirt to have, just ask. This will avoid any miscommunication when you are reaching into your kit only to discover you do not have the required shirt.
- Ask to borrow a shirt. Referees are pack rats sometimes and have multiples of the same shirts for a variety of reasons. If you don't have a particular shirt, your partners may.
- Be comfortable. While guys like me aren't happy unless they are wearing long sleeve black shirts in 110 degree weather, that may not make sense for you. Look the part, but be comfortable.
Case in point. While I had mis-matched socks from the others (no logo), and the referee and ARs had different sleeve lengths, we were all dressed professionally, did not conflict with any player or goalkeeper, and looked the part.
With that, we already won half the battle.