Can you help me find a official reference to a requirement that players must have jersey numbers and a specific reference that they must be different numbers?
I was at a college showcase over the weekend and the “tournament” allowed for up to 6 guest players. It was obvious that teams took liberty with this, allowing younger “club mates” and less skilled “club mates” from other teams in the club replace members that could not make it. Trouble with this was many had same numbers as team mates, or no numbers at all. Also some jerseys were markedly different (same colors as team, but reversed as though they only had away jerseys) but did not conflict with the other team at all.
Coaches didn’t complain because of the friendly nature of the showcase, and while there normally isn’t the number of occurrences that happened in this case, there’s certainly more objection in league play.
League or competition rules may specify, but according to USSF I could not find a passage in the laws or in the advice to point to these rules. I would love to have in my bag the highlighted passage from an official document from USSF (if there is one)
– Must a player have a jersey number on the jersey?
– Must it be different from all other numbers teams present?
– Any special rules for goalkeeper clothing?
– Must all jerseys be the exact same color scheme? (I am assuming in this question that the variances satisfy the requirement stated in the “advice” book in distinguishing themselves from the keepers, the other team, and the referee)
USSF answer (December 2, 2008):
A reminder that we don’t do college or high school rules here, and we certainly do not do “showcases,” which are nothing but what their name suggests, a game where players are paraded before coaches like pigs, sheep, or cattle at a country fair.
You will find nothing in the Laws of the Game or in the Advice to Referees for a good reason: Numbers and uniform details are governed by the rules of whatever competition they are being used in, not in the Laws. You will find such details in the rules of the various cup competitions played under the aegis of the USSF and USYS, and in the rules of college and high school soccer; however, In the case of “showcase” games, there will likely be no rules at all.
The Laws cover uniforms only in so far as teams must wear uniforms that are different in color from those of the opponents and of the officials (who do not need to change at all; the teams must change).