What Are Lacrosse Roster Rules? Learn Their Meaning Now! (Best 2023 Guide)

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Are you a lacrosse player? If so, you’ve likely heard the words roster rules, but what's their purpose and impact on your playing experience?

Don't worry if you don't since this blog post will provide everything you need to know! We'll discuss applicable roster rules, and why understanding them is key.


Take away key points:

  • A roster is a list including all active players of one team
  • Coaches make the lists for the active game requirements
  • Check the latest updates to prepare your team in advance

If you don't know the meaning of the lacrosse roster, the main purpose, and other rules, refer to the guide below for the best explanation. Let's start.

What is the roster in lacrosse?

A roster in lacrosse is a list consisting of lacrosse players making a complete team. A lacrosse roster will have its full potential with multiple players for each lacrosse position on the lacrosse field.

How are roster rules regulated?

What is the roster in lacrosse

In the college-level play, if a team cannot find present ten players on the field at the start of the game, they forfeit to the opponent 1-0. When a player is ejected from the game, he cannot re-enter and participate in further play.

But, if the offending team serves a penalty time, the offending player will return to the play after the time runs out (non-releasable penalty), or if his team or the opposing team scores a goal (releasable penalty).

In addition, each team must have more than one captain on the roster. The captain is the only player speaking to the officials, and calling on the coin toss at the start of each game or the overtime period.

What are the roster size rules?

1. College lacrosse

A lacrosse roster at a college lacrosse level contains between thirty-five and forty-five players in total.

However, rosters in the Major League Lacrosse (now the Premier Lacrosse League) contain nineteen active players for an active game.

2. Men field lacrosse

In field' lacrosse, there are ten players on the field in each of the two teams. The players include the following formation: three attacking athletes, three midfielders, three defensemen, and one goalie.

According to the rules, there must not be more than four long-stick midfielders or defensemen on the same side of the field at a particular time.

An average D1 lacrosse roster has forty-five players.

3. Women's lacrosse

Women's lacrosse roster rules dictate twenty to thirty players in the full strength of the collegiate-level play.

On the field, there are two teams, each with a maximum of twelve players. Their positions are the following: four attackers, three midfielders, four defenders, and one goalie.

Why are lacrosse rosters so big?

Lacrosse teams tend to have large rosters due to the physical nature of the game. There are often full-contact hits from players on both sides, requiring a rotation of players to maintain energetic, competitive gameplay.

Additionally, lacrosse games have high season minutes because of so many running and passing plays, which can cause tired players who must be substituted for other fresh players.

The large roster also allows many players to have time in a game, giving greater opportunity for more players to experience playing time and proving beneficial for team cohesiveness and morale.

What is the recently updated policy on the roster rules?

What is the recently updated policy on the roster rules

Here are the newly updated rules regarding the lacrosse rosters. The changes include the following modifications:

- All coaches and players must be part of the USA Lacrosse members

- All players for the 13U division must be born on or after 9/1/2009

- All players for the 14U division must be born on or after 9/1/2008

- All players for the 15U division must be born on or after 9/1/2007

- All players must possess age verification in the USA Lacrosse system at least seven days before the start of the Nationals

- All coaches must pass through the background check in the NCSI. Once the coaches submit the final roster, they will get instructions for the checking

- The minimum roster size for women's lacrosse is sixteen players in total, and at least two goalies at all times. The maximum size of the roster in women's lacrosse is thirty players. The players can play only for one team, without any changes

- The coach cannot modify the roster after submission at any time unless the USA Lacrosse approves the changes

- If any team violates the above-mentioned roster rules, the team will forfeit all games if an illegal player participated. The team must also return any title received by the lacrosse sport organizations at tournaments

- Any team forfeiting at the tournament will not be eligible to proceed to the playoffs

- All players must meet and comply with the birth and age requirements; without any exceptions

What are major changes on the loose ball?

A loose ball is a ball that is not in the possession of any player, and is rolling, bouncing, or rebounding off the boards or a goalkeeper. The major changes tackle the physical plays and big hits.

Thus, fighting for possession even within three yards of the ball constitutes unnecessary roughness. The players will be penalized for the rule violation, and they will be assigned penalties for the played misconduct during the games.

How do college coaches find the players for the team?

Collegiate-level coaches actively search for potential players to join their lacrosse teams and expand their roster size. Many use scouting services and contact local clubs, high school teams, and youth leagues to locate the best talent in the lacrosse community.

Coaches may also scan social media accounts and watch highlight videos of prospects to evaluate each athlete's playing ability before extending offers for them to join their college team and extend the list of the roster size.

Coaches conduct interviews with prospective players, too, to learn more about their commitment level, training habits, and character traits.

Successful recruitment for the full strength of the roster involves selecting players who have the physical and mental capability of performing well at a collegiate level and also meeting the college’s academic admission requirements.

It's a difficult but very rewarding job that needs dedication from coaches if they wish to build successful teams.


To have an effective and successful lacrosse season, coaches need to understand how to properly fill out a roster.

By accurately determining the number of players needed for each game, coaches can avoid last-minute scrambles for subs and ensure their team is always prepared to compete.

With a little bit of planning, any coach can create a winning lacrosse roster!

Freddy Woods

Freddy is the heart and soul of Lacrosse Runner. As a former athlete, Freddy is very passionate about Lacrosse. He keeps up with the sport's changes and innovations and often tests the new equipment released by the leading manufacturers. Read more here