Referee Uniform / Equipment

MVSRA Referee Equipment

In addition to the referee uniform, referees must also have the proper equipment. Browse Suggested Retailers for a variety of referee equipment. Every referee, including Assistant Referees, should have all of these items, the exception is signaling flags. Usually the Center Referee brings the flags to a game, but it is always nice to have them just in case.

Whistle & Lanyard

There are many choices for whistles. Each referee has his/her preferences on which whistle is best. Here are some general guidelines:
  • Try to use a pealess whistle. Pea whistles (with a rubber or cork pea that rattles around) can get wet which may cause the pea to get stuck or the pea can be lost all together; both of which render the whistle useless.
  • Use a black or white whistle. These neutral colors are prefereed. Some events are supported by this association whith allow for different colors or whistles, like pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
  • Use a whistle that you are comfortable with. Always practice with your whistle before the season or when starting out as a referee. A good whistle should feel comfortable in your mouth, be easy to blow, and allow you a range for different sounds.
  • Awlays have a backup whistle. Just in case your primary whistle fails, you should have a backup whistle handy.
  • Avoid neck lanyards. Either use a wrist lanyard or use a finger grip whistle. Do not carry your whistle in your mouth. Do not rely solely on holding your whistle unsecured; you do not want to loose your whistle.
Some examples of Fox 40 whistles: Classic, Mini, Sonic Blast, Pearl, Striker, Dolfin

Referee Book, Pen/Pencil, and Yellow & Red Cards

A soccer referee book, or wallet, holds yellow & red cards and has a place for scratch paper or a game record. Standard size if 6 1/2" by 4". A pen or pencil can be used, be mindful of the weather. When sanctioning misconduct, a yellow or red card must be displayed. Some referees carry two sets (one pair in short pockets for easy/quick access, and another pair in the referee book.)


Use a digital wrist watch to keep track of game time. Some watches have a preset timing features for setting countdown times. Some referees also wear a second watch for backup.

Flipping Coin

A coin must be used during the coin toss with the captains. The winner of the toss chooses which direction to attack or to take the first kick-off. The other team gets the remaining option.

AR Signal Flags

Assistant Referees use signaling flags during the game. Usually, the Center Referee provides flags for the crew. However, a well prepared AR will have a backup pair just in case.


It is a good idea to keep your referee uniform and equipment organized and stored together. Some referees use a duffel bag or sports bag.

Wrist Lanyard / Finger Grip Examples