My son has a medical reason for needing to wear a hat when he is reffing a game. Would you please send me a list of what medical reasons qualify you to wear a hat when in uniform.

USSF answer (March 26, 2008):

Since it was formalized in 1994, U. S. Soccer Federation policy has been in line with the following question and answer, published in 1999:

Q. May referees wear caps and sunglasses?
A. With regard to caps, the policy of the United States Soccer Federation was stated in the Spring 1994 issue of Fair Play magazine: “Under normal circumstances, it is not acceptable for a game official to wear headgear, and it would never be seen on a high level regional, national or international competition. However, there may be rare circumstances in local competitions where head protection or sun visors might sensibly be tolerated for the good of the game, e.g. early morning or late afternoon games with sun in the officials’ line of sight causing vision difficulties; understaffed situations where an official with sensitive skin might be pressed into service for multiple games under strong sunlight or a referee who wears glasses needing shielding from rain.” Sunglasses would be subject to the same considerations. In addition, we ask referees to remember that sunglasses have the unfortunate side effect of suggesting that the referee or assistant referee is severely visually impaired and should not be working the game. They also limit communication between the officials and the players by providing a barrier against eye-to-eye contact. Sunglasses, if worn, should be removed prior to any verbal communication with players.


This means that your son may wear a hat to work games at the recreational level and in the younger age groups of youth soccer, but not in top-level competition. There should be no problem with this, but if there is, we suggest that you ask your son’s physician to provide a formal letter, stating the reason that a cap is necessary, and send this letter to the State Referee Administrator or State Youth Referee Administrator of your state. You may also use this e-mail as proof that you have communicated with the Federation on the matter.

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