Basic Rules Information

Training Guides

USL Clarification Bulletins

Specific Q&A


Blue #14 attack player shoots and releases the ball prior to time expiring (satisfying Rule 4-8 Art 1). The ball hits the goalkeeper and is rolling on the ground outside the goal circle and above the GLE. Blue #15 attack sweeps the ball toward the goal and across the goal line.

No Goal. The rulebook states “The shot or propelled action must release the ball before time expires”.  The sweeping action occurred after time expired. Per USL Rules Committee – “the rule interpretation from convention clarified that if the ball makes contact with another offensive player after time as expired the shot is deemed complete. ” 


If a goalie has the ball in her circle and, while in her circle, passes to her teammate and the teammate touches the ball, can the teammate immediately pass the ball back to the goalie in her circle? Can they continue to “play catch”?


Legal. The pass from goalie to teammate satisfies both the CLEARED and PLAYED criteria for returning the ball back to the goal circle.
(Answer from Jenny Morrison and Elaine Stowell – National Interpreter)


Is there any certification, coverage, or performance standard on goalie shin protection? Does it have to cover a minimum amount of the leg/shin?


There is no standard. Soccer shin guards of any size or construction are currently considered legal.  (Applies to Rule 2, Section 6, Art 1.)
(Answer from Elaine Stowell – National Interpreter).


If an obstruction of free space to goal foul is called, what determines the location of the setup – spot of the ball carrier or spot of the defender in FSG.


Set up based on location of the defender. If the defender is within 8m of goal above GLE, set up on the nearest hash to the defender.

If the defender is between the 8m arc and the fan, set up at the spot of the defender. (Described in Rulebook 10.1s Situation D)
(Answer from Jenny Morrison – asked because Barb said otherwise in one session and no one corrected her.)



I had a game where the goalie stepped towards the ball and the shot was made with force and hit the goalie on the helmet. If the goalie is aggressive and steps towards the ball do I still call a dangerous shot? Are there any calls that an aggressive goalie would negate? Can you please clarify?


Dangerous Shot – Rule 10, Section 1, Art 1, k pg 5
Shoot dangerously or without control at the goalkeeper.
1. A dangerous shot is judged on the basis of the combination of distance, force and placement.
2. A shot should not be directed at the goalkeeper’s body, especially her head or neck. This would not apply is she moves into the path of the ball.
3. A shot may be uncontrolled even if it misses the goal.


Goalie stepping towards the ball is allowed. This is a dangerous shot, and should be called

If going to card, be prepared to explain to coaches why

Goalie can move her feet to follow attacker or step up to a shot (this isn’t moving into the path of the ball)
If she’s hit in the head, throat, chest, torso, or pelvis, this should be called a dangerous shot
If she bobs her head of body or moves/steps sideways into a shot and is hit with the ball in head, throat, or chest this is her fault and no call is made

Can be called on 8M shots
Remember – shooter has other options and this call should be made


The foul occurred outside the goal circle. Set-up is on the 8m arc to the defender who was closest to the shooter. Shooter is placed 4m behind, all other players moved 4m away.


If a shot crosses the boundary and the goalie is in her goal circle, is she considered closest because the “goalie” is considered the entire goal circle?  Is that correct or do we have to determine where the goalie is inside her goal circle compared to where field players are?

Answer from US Lacrosse:

The goalie’s body [and stick] is what determines how close she is to the boundary, so for example if the there is a player below the goal line extended but not lower than the back of the goal circle and the goalie is above the GLE, [the goalie] would not be closer.


If the goalkeeper leaves her goal circle and runs toward the opposing goal and across the restraining line into the attack zone, is that offsides?


Teams must have 4 players back on their offensive restraining line and 5 players back on their defensive restraining line. Page 138 of the 2017 Officials Manual covers this specifically that it does not have to be the goalie (though it usually is).  If the goaltender runs into the attack zone but there are 5 or more teammates behind (above) the restraining line, the team is not offsides.


There is a new ball called the “Pearl” that has different specifications. How does that affect which balls are legal for play in 2018? Are 2017 NOCSAE balls legal for 2018 play?

Answer from USL:

A new NOCSAE standard has been developed and the Pearl is a product that meets the new standard.  The rules still state that the ball must meet the NOSCAE standard at the time of manufacture so therefore, the prior balls are not illegal and do NOT need to be pulled off the field.  Instead there will be a transition as balls that are now made will have to meet the most current standard, they will eventually replace the older ball.

Therefore, any ball marked NOCSAE is legal for play in 2018. As officials, just look for the NOCSAE lettering on the ball.


If before the draw, a player crosses the restraining line and commits an early entry foul (Section 2, Art 3.d), is this an immediate whistle?


If the player entering early does not affect the play and possession is gained by the other team, you may indicate advantage and hold whistle.


Can a goalie swap crosses with a field player and shoot? What defines a goalie….the goalie stick?  Or the gear? Or either?


If a goalie swaps crosses with a field player and shoots, there are two fouls on this play

The first foul occurred when the goalie swapped equipment

* If the goalie and a field player swap sticks, the field player is violating Rule 9 Article 1.i “Illegal Crosse: play with a crosse that does not meet specifications” . A field player may not hold a goalie crosse because the goalie crosse does not meet field player crosse specifications. Penalty is a minor foul on the field player.
*  If the goalie just drops her stick and gets a stick from a field player, then the field player is violating Rule 9 Article 1.g “Improper Use of the Crosse – take part if she is not holding the crosse”, also a minor foul on the field player.

The second foul is when the goalkeeper took the shot.  This is a violation of Section 8 Article 2.j – “goalkeeper may not score”. Note the language of the rules here refers to the player dressed as the goalkeeper and is independent of the goalkeeper’s stick. This is considered an illegal shot foul, which is a major foul.