Solo’s Seattle socks and shorts

Started with a tweet yesterday:

And a follow-up:

Here’s what FIFA rules say: “Each goalkeeper must wear colours that distinguish him from the other players, the referee and the assistant referees.”

That seems to allow some wiggle room — if you’re wearing black socks along with your teammates, are you really not distinguished from other players? If the ref is wearing red socks, do you have to change to blue?

Typically, goalkeepers these days wear some insane green or yellow shorts and socks that no one else would wear. But I did find at least one instance of a keeper wearing similar shorts to those of his teammates in the Bundesliga and another from the Premier League.

But let’s get back to the NWSL. What do the rules really say?

10.2.3 GOALKEEPER UNIFORM AND EQUIPMENT The goalkeeper’s uniform should feature different colors than her teammates, opponents and the Game Officials’ uniforms. The Goalkeeper uniform and equipment will conform to FIFA. The goalkeeper’s dominant jersey color(s) will be completely different than her Team’s jersey color(s) and that of the opponents Team. While the goalkeeper’s shorts and socks may be the same as the rest of her Team, the League Office strongly encourages the Goalkeeper to wear an entire outfit that completely contrasts that of her Team’s. Each Team should carry an extra, unnumbered Goalkeeper jersey for a Player not normally a goalkeeper who is substituted at goalkeeper for whatever reason.

MLS has the same rules.

So … someone was telling Hope Solo the wrong rules?

Huddersfield Town GK jersey from 20 years ago, courtesy oldfootballshirts.com
Huddersfield Town GK jersey from 20 years ago, courtesy oldfootballshirts.com

One note: Colors are all determined well in advance of each match, and the referee is supposed to enforce them. Another possibility: The same ref who failed to look at the assistant refs frantically signaling an obvious offside call or hand out cards for blatant infractions (Veronica Perez’s judo throw, Solo’s repeated refusal to put the ball back in play while the ref waved his hand) made another procedural mistake.

In any case, lines were crossed somewhere along the way.

Personally, I just miss the days of garish Campos-style goalkeeping jerseys. I still have one.

Update: OK, we can’t blame the ref. Or NWSL rulemakers. Or WPS, retroactively.

I can just bring these to the Soccerplex, you know.
I can just bring these to the Soccerplex, you know.

Seattle and Washington currently have only two colors of goalkeeping socks — black and white. That left only three colors — red, black and white — to be worn among Seattle’s field players, Seattle’s goalkeepers, Washington’s field players and Washington’s goalkeepers. Someone had to match socks. So the league consulted with PRO, which oversees officials, and they determined that if someone had to match, it should be Seattle’s goalkeepers and field players.

As far as I can tell, this action violates neither the letter nor the … um, spirit … of either the FIFA Laws of the Game or the NWSL rule book. And fortunately, no one attempted a jiu-jitsu leglock during the course of the game. (Veronica Perez completed a throw that was closer to judo, not jiu-jitsu.)

Seattle’s “berry” goalkeeping socks have not yet arrived.

The next time an NWSL keeper is in Washington and needs socks, please let me know. A few of my socks are pictured here — solid green, red-and-black stripes. I also have a few pairs of solid black and could possibly dig up some blinding yellow.

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5 thoughts on “Solo’s Seattle socks and shorts

  1. Saturday there were two games where the keepers and the refs had the same color shirts and shorts/leggings. Personally, while I think all rules should be enforced, I hope Pro Referees concentrates on getting the calls that will prevent injuries right. Way too many instances of players being thrown to the ground. More reminiscent of judo than soccer. And for the love of the game please get these handball calls right. Handball PK’s are out of control. Ball to hand IS a thing, refs.

  2. Actually ball to hand is not a thing. It is not in FIFA’s laws. Handling the ball is against the rules. The referee’s discretion is in whether to give a pk or free kick for the handling. In those instances the law’s remind refs that pks for handling are “usually” (thanks for the wiggle room) only given if it happens in the box and only if it was deliberate. Deliberate meaning the hand/arm was in an unnatural position, or if it was moved towards the balls path, ie trying to make themselves bigger.

    There have been a lot of handball pk’s given already this year, and it appears to me that savy NWSL players are trying to get them called. Chipping the ball up to waist/arm level at defenders when in the box, especially if the defender is facing and has their feet spread towards the player with the ball. That said there are times to call that pk, I just wish they were more consistent with calling them.

  3. even at youth tournaments, the referees pack spare jerseys and change to contrast from player uniforms. Some ref forgot to bring a spare. Simple as that.

  4. The ref’s jersey wasn’t at issue. They wore bright neon blue.

    I did once see a ref change a few minutes into a World Cup match.

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