Before I jump right into the review, I have to take moment and acknowledge a milestone: for the first time, iTOOTR has been provided gear for review without having to pay for it! This is significant for two reasons. First, it means I can stay married, and second, we can review more gear for the referee community. The good folks at refereestore.com were kind enough to provide a Score Pro Elite referee jersey for review (along with other items we’ll be reviewing shortly). Soccersuperstoreusa.com is run by a pair of USSF National Referees and by all indications, they have very referee-friendly policies and pricing. Now, on with the review.
When reviewing jerseys, the key items we look for are quality of construction, color matching, and any features that are unique to the specific shirt we’re examining. The Score Pro referee jersey does well on two of these three key areas and receives a Referee Recommended rating from iTOOTR.
The Score Pro referee jersey, $27, http://www.refereestore.com (and others), is a well-constructed, well finished shirt.
The placket area features reinforcing interfacing on the back, which helps the shirt hold its’ shape and stand up to repeated washings.
The interfacing is also found on the OSI Pro jersey, but not on the Kwik Goal Premier jersey. The placket area is the same color as the rest of the jersey (the OSI Pro jersey features a contrasting black placket).
The shirt pockets are clipped at the corners, which prevents the corners from curling. Personally, I don’t care for the clipped corners, but I have had problems with the corners on my other jerseys not laying flat, so I understand the need. The pockets do not feature a pen channel, but the shirt does include a velcro sticker for the back of your referee badge.
One of the best features of the Score jersey is the cut, which is athletic when compared to the OSI and KG jerseys. Because of my height (6’2″ or 1.88m), I wear XL sized jerseys. XL jerseys are typically large through the waist and chest and I have a lot of excess material hanging off of me. The Score XL jersey is a good 1.5 to 2 inches smaller through the waist, and the sleeves are a bit shorter as well. I was pleased with this cut and felt like it fit me better than either the OSI or KG jerseys.
The finish of the polyester fabric is highly light reflective, which is similar to the KG jersey. The OSI Pro jerseys are slightly less “shiny” under sunlight.
The most significant drawback of the Score Pro jersey is the color. The sample I was provided to review was red, and there is noticeable difference in hue between the Score and OSI jerseys. While the OSI Pro jersey is a deep, fire-engine red, the Score Pro jersey is more muted. Unfortunately, all attempts to capture the color difference on camera were unsuccessful, owing in part to my limited photography skills and in part to the limitations of my new, but basic, point-and-shoot camera. My guess is that most non-referees wouldn’t notice the difference, save for maybe the walk-out when all three referees are standing next to each other.
Like the OSI and Kwik Goal shirts, the Score Pro Elite jersey is made of 100% polyester and is cared for by washing in cold water with similar colored items, and then tumbled dry on low.
In summary, the Score Pro referee jersey is recommended for all but the most serious of referees. If you are still building your referee career, sticking with the OSI Pro jersey is the safe choice, as you’re guaranteed to look good in any crew of other upper level referees. On the other hand, “seasoned veterans”, new referees, or those referees still holding on to the old single-stripe jerseys would do well to consider the Score Pro shirts. At a savings of $20 per shirt, a referee could save $100 on a complete set of all five colors when compared to the OSI jerseys. I see no reason for any referee to consider the OSI Economy line of jerseys when both the Score and KG shirts offer so many more features for roughly the same price.
Related: Summary Ratings of Referee Jerseys