2020 Girls Rule Change Review

By Charlotte Barbour 12/05/2019

As we gear up for the 2020 girls lacrosse season, here is a quick overview of this year’s rule changes at the youth and high school level. Most changes for this season are focus on speeding up the pace of play, and overall safety.

For a small fee, you can download this years searchable rule book at www.uslacrosse.org/rules/girls-rules to your phone or iPad.


  • 3-second Closely Guarded rule resulting in a turnover (8U & 10U)
  • Time-outs for Youth
  • Player Count at Draw (High School)
  • Free Movement Rule (High School)
  • Substitution Rules (High School)
  • Changes to self-start (High School)
  • Goalie Equipment Changes (eyewear and helmet additions)
  • Improper Equipment (headgear)
  • Check to Neck included in Major Fouls resulting in Mandatory Card

3-second Closely Guarded

This will be an out-loud count by the official to warn the ball holder of the impending turnover. Defenders must be close and holding proper defensive positioning to warrant this call.

Youth Time-Outs

8U & 10U: 1 two-minute time-out per game

12U & 14U: 2 two-minute time-outs per game.

Player Count at Draw

The draw can now begin without 12 girls being on the field. Once the officials have put their hands on the stick at the draw, coaches must wait to add players until possession. Violation of this rule will result in the Early Entry on Draw, a minor foul.

Free Movement

The free movement rule is taking effect this season to make the pace of play quicker for girls. Players not involved in the foul can move after the whistle as long as they are leaving 4M from player taking a free position, 2M for ball carrier entering from out of bounds, or clearing the penalty zone when applicable.

Goalkeepers may return to goal if they are not directly involved in the foul (deputy fouls included), or bringing the ball in from out of bounds.

Substitutions may also take place after a whistle, but the player must go through the substitution box and be fully off the field before the new player enters the field.

Substitution Rules

Substitutions are now permitted during a possession time-out except for the player being awarded the ball and the offender. Players running toward the substitution when the whistle is blown do not have to stop, they can now complete the substitution. 

Self Start

When a ball goes out of bounds, the opponent closest to the ball shall bring it in bounds. The player does not have to wait to enter the field to start running, she may begin her run onto the field from out of bounds and continue once she enters on the field relative to where the ball went out of bounds. She may not pass from out of bounds.


Covering rules have been changed to include ‘body.’ If a player falls on a ball, the whistle will be blown to prevent injury caused by trying to retrieve the ball from under a player.

Goalie Equipment Changes

Goalie equipment can not be altered beyond paint, decals, and tape. No mohawks, face shields, or cameras can be added. In addition, no tinted eyewear may be worn. This includes transitional lenses. This new rule is to prevent any difficulties in determining concussions.

Improper Equipment - Headgear

The chinstrap must be tightly clipped below the chin. Behind the helmet, under the ponytail, or not clipped at all are not permitted this season.


Charlotte Barbour is a Triangle Lax alumna. She played High School at Broughton and collegiate lacrosse at Sweet Briar College. She is joining Triangle Lax in the 2020 season to help expand our coverage of girl's lacrosse in the area!

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