Rule Clarifications


Specific Q&As

Self Starting in the Defensive End CSA?

Situation 1:

Offense commits a goal circle foul and Goalkeeper is awarded the ball. Can the goalkeeper self start in the goal circle? Alternatively, can the goalkeeper elect to self start with the ball outside the goal circle.

Answer 1: 

Goalkeeper will typically restart with the ball in the goal circle and self-start.

Situation 2:

Offense is awarded a boundary ball behind the goal circle. Offensive player commits a boundary foul by throwing the ball in from out of bounds. How should this be set up?

Answer 2:

If a player throws the ball in from out bounds, this is a boundary foul and the ball turns over. The ball will be given to a player from the other team and brought in 4 meters from the end line to restart.

When the boundary foul happens in the CSA below the GLE: if the ball is awarded to offense in the other team’s defensive end the set up will be at the dot and require a whistle start; if the ball is awarded to defense in the team’s defensive end and the clock is running the defense will self-start within 4 meters of the spot of the boundary foul.

Answers from Liz Brush, Manager of Officials Development at USA Lacrosse

Scoring when Time Runs Out?


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. ” 

Goalie / Goal Circle Violation?


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

Shooting Space Foul Set-Up?


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


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 on the 12 (based on location of defender) (Described in Rulebook 10.1w Situation D)

Answer from Jenny Morrison

Dangerous Shot or Proactive/Agressive Goalie?


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?

Rule 10 Major Fouls, Section 1, Article 1
i. Dangerous Shot

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 if a goalkeeper has time to react and/or moves into a shot.


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 with ball given to the defender who was closest to the shooter. Shooter is placed 4m behind, all other players moved 4m away.

Goalie or Player closest for Boundary Ball off of a Shot?


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 USA 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. As of 2022 – any player may bring the ball in-bounds. If the goalie was nearest the ball when it when out of bounds, play will resume at the boundary line regardless of whether the goalie was within her circle.

Can Goalie cause Offsides?


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. 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.

Can a Goalie shoot?


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 g: 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. (Also see Rule 2 Situation 2.2.5 Situation B)
  • 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 m: Improper Use of 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 Rule 4 Section 8 Article 3 j: “A goal is not scored when … the ball enters the goal from the attacking team’s goalkeeper or her stick.” This is considered an illegal shot foul, which is a major foul.