Referee Uniform & Equipment

The purpose of this guideline is to establish the standard for proper appearance of referees while officiating Rhode Island games. Requirements for out of state matches may differ.

Your appearance as a referee sends a message to players, coaches, spectators and your fellow referees. That first impression is vital. If you expect to command respect you must look and act professional!

Referee Uniform:

In order to promote a professional appearance by all referees statewide, all new referees should purchase a complete referee uniform set, which includes a gold jersey, shorts, and socks. If you wish to consider purchasing a second alternate shirt color, the RISRC suggests Black as the optimal choice.

Note: Referee shorts and socks are specifically manufactured to provide an appropriate professional appearance. Other types of shorts or socks are NEVER permissible while officiating.

Preferably black

Footwear: Referees are expected to wear athletic footwear which is primarily black in color. White footwear is NEVER permitted. Cleats, turf shoes, or running shoes are all appropriate provided they are black.

Whistle with a Pea

Whistle: There are two primary types of whistles used in refereeing: pea whistles, which contain a chamber with a small cork ball (a.k.a. the pea), and pea-less whistles. Referees should carry two different whistles to avoid player confusion when working matches on adjacent fields.

Pea-less Whistle

Carrying your whistle: There are a number of ways to carry a whistle on the field. The easiest, and recommended way, is to simply carry it in your hand. Alternately, some referees may prefer to use a wrist lanyard or finger grip style whistle.

Carrying a whistle around a neck lanyard should be avoided!

Referee Watch

Timing device: You will need something to keep track of time while officiating. The most effective device for timing is a digital wristwatch, which can be obtained very cheaply. New referees often make the mistake of purchasing a stopwatch, which is unwieldy and conspicuous.

Other equipment: In addition to the referee gear described above, you will need a set of 2 assistant referee flags, a card set (red and yellow card) with game record, a writing utensil, and a tossing coin (an ordinary quarter will do)

The equipment listed in this guideline can be purchased at local soccer equipment stores or through the Official Sports website ( In addition, supplies may be sold by the State Referee Committee at official training events at discounted price.