The USSF has released their annual advice to referees related to rule changes enacted buy the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in March. One change in particular will have a major affect on youth soccer parents, especially those who play on travel teams where rules like these are usually stringently enforced:

Law 4 – The Players Equipment

Basic Equipment

Present Text

  • a jersey or shirt
  • shorts – if thermal undershorts are worn, they are of the same main color as the shorts.

New Text

  • a jersey or shirt – if undergarments are worn, the color of the sleeve should be the same main color as the sleeve of the jersey or shirt.
  • shorts – if undershorts are worn, they are of the same main color as the shorts.

USSF Advice to Referees: The general purpose of this change is to ensure that the visible color of any portion of a garment worn underneath the jersey or shorts is consistent with the main color of the jersey or shorts. Accordingly, the referee need not be concerned about the color or any portion of an undergarment which cannot be seen.

What this means is that white long sleeve Under Armour shirt can’t be worn under a color soccer jersey any longer when the temperatures drop. The exposed long sleeves have to match the jersey color. This presents a bit of a problem for players and parents alike.


First, Under Armour isn’t cheap. The normal Heat Gear lists for $29.99. Now you’ll need two – one for your home uniform and one for your away uniform. I know for us (Blue/Yellow), that’s $60 per kid. Second, most players, especially girls, like to wear Under Armour so they can change uniforms at the field. You arrive to find the away team wearing your home colors, so you as home team need to change into your alternate color – at the fields. But if the girls have to change their Under Armour along with the jersey, you better hope the bathrooms are nearby and unlocked. I doubt the boys will be excited about stripping to bare skin to change either when the temps are in the 40s. I know we played at one complex where the fields were way down a slope, far from the parking lot and a good walk from the bathrooms – which were locked. All they had nearby was a Port-O-Potty. Time to use that cell phone list so the first person to arrive can call the rest enroute to tell them to change before leaving the cars!

I wish they had used some sense and allowed a neutral color like white to be worn with color jerseys. You can’t tell me if everyone is wearing white long sleeves under what are usually bright colored uniforms that anyone will be confused. Of course I’ve known refs to get picky about both teams wearing white socks. I also wonder what teams will do that have uniform colors that Under Armour or Nike or the rest don’t carry. Under Armour has an impressive selection of colors (White, Black, Grey, Navy, Royal, Green, Yellow, Maroon, Red, Purple, Orange, and Pink), so most teams will be able to match. But lime green isn’t one of them – hope the refs don’t mind the hunter green Under Armour.

Granted – you would expect most referees won’t be sticklers about this. But can you risk driving two hours to a match only to discover you’ve drawn a ref who is? I’m not sure I’m ready to take that risk. 

This seems completely unnecessary. If the national youth associations and youth referees really enforce this – buy stock in Nike and Under Armour now! I expect their sales are going to spike in October! (Joke – I Am Not A Stock Analyst :) ) H/T MGLParent @ NC Soccer Forums