Youth mercy rule
The youth mercy rule--possession awarded to the trailing team whenever there would normally be a face-off and one team leads by 6 or more goals--is in effect only in U11 and U9 games. Teams still get up to 20 seconds to sub after the officials get the ball to midfield. Note that the 2014 rule is 6 goals and not 4, as it was in prior years. The trailing coach must indicate to the officials if he wishes to have his or her team face off.
No back-up goalie rule
For U15 and under games, if a goalie gets a time-serving penalty and there is no back-up goalie immediately ready to take the field in his place (within 20 seconds of the penalty being reported), the offending team can either call a timeout to switch the goalie gear to another player or select a defensive player to serve for the goalie (in which case the penalty time is doubled and becomes non-releasable).
In order to avoid this situation, all youth teams are encouraged to either have a back-up goalie dressed and ready to go or to have a defensive player who is wearing a chest protector and throat protector (so he can take over as goalie immediately just by taking the goalie's crosse).
Note that the rules of lacrosse state that the goalie serves his own penalties; this is a modification made for running-time youth games in Minnesota and is not the usual rule.
For something to be considered a pass, the ball must be propelled in the air. Dropping the ball into another player's stick does not count as a pass. However, it does not reset the count as long as the ball does not touch the ground. A pass to the goalie in the crease does not count toward the two passes, but as pass from the goalie in the crease does. There is no longer a requirement about a pass needing to orginate from the offensive end of the field.
Stick lengths for U11 games
For all U11 games, players can use long sticks on defense but the sticks must be 47”-54”. This is shorter than you are used to seeing at other levels.
At these levels of play, we generally only do deep pocket rollout tests, although in some circumstances Level 2 officials could do measurements. However, if possible, officials should bring a 6-foot tape measure to their U11 games, remind the coaches about the rule before the game, and check any sticks that seem like they are too long prior to the start of the game in order to avoid the bulk of the problems with this rule.
Shoulder pads and jerseys/pinnies
NFHS rules require that players wear a jersey and that the jersey "shall completely cover the shoulder pads" (the reason given for this is that the manufacturers assume that the shoulder pads will be covered to keep them in place). However, USL Youth rules and MN Youth rules weaken that somewhat by stating, "The jersey, pinnie, or an under jersey should completely cover the shoulder pads, which will help hold them in place."
Jerseys that cover the shoulder pads can always be worn. Pinnies can be used with a shirt underneath to cover the shoulder pads and keep them in place.
Coaches must certify to the officials prior to the game that they have instructed their players on how to wear their equipment, including how the shoulder pads and jerseys/pinnies work together. Thus, this is not something officials should penalize or correct. If a coach believes another coach is endangering players by violating equipment standards, this is generally an issue the coach should report to the league.
Youth equipment and uniform rules
The following is copied directly from the Minnesota Youth Rules:
Equipment shall conform to NFHS requirements, including gloves, arm pads, shoulder pads, mouth piece, shoes, and NOCSAE-approved helmets, which must be properly fitted and worn, with the following modifications:
- All goalkeepers are required to wear arm pads.
NOTE: Many coaches believe youth level goalkeepers benefit from wearing shin, knee, and thigh pads. Such pads are authorized for youth play, so long as they do not significantly increase the size of the limb protected (e.g., no ice hockey, field hockey, or box lacrosse goalie pads).
- A protective cup is required for all players.
NOTE: The officials are not required to inspect the wearing of a protective cup, and may rely on the coach’s certification and/or a player’s statement regarding satisfaction of this requirement.
- Rib pads are recommended for all players.
- Game Jerseys: The provisions of RULE 1, SECTION 9, ARTICLE 1.g need not be strictly enforced at the youth level. A team’s game jerseys should have numbers centered on the front and back of sufficient size to be clearly visible by game officials anywhere on the field and opposing teams’ jerseys should have contrasting dominant colors. Home teams are responsible for contrasting jersey colors and will provide and wear contrasting color numbered pinnies or pinnies that allow jersey numbers to be clearly seen, if needed. The jersey, pinnie, or an under jersey should completely cover the shoulder pads, which will help hold them in place.
ATTN: All jerseys must have a clearly visible number on the front and back even if other provisions of this rule are not strictly enforced.
ATTN: The rule states that all players should wear a jersey that completely covers their shoulder pads. In particular, if pinnies are worn that do not cover the shoulder pads, an under jersey covering all shoulder pads should be worn.
- The color provisions of RULE 1, SECTION 9, ARTICLES 1 and 2 for helmets, uniform shorts, under-jerseys, compression shorts, and sweatpants need not be strictly enforced at the youth level.