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Tournament Format & Rules

Updated 7/16/2013


  • Two 20-minute halves; 2 minute half-time; teams change field direction for the 2nd half
  • Running time
  • Officials start and end the game on their own clock
  • PENALTIES: Penalized players must serve (except goalie and except at U9); penalty time kept by officials on the field
  • ONE 30-SECOND TIMEOUT: Each team has one 30-second timeout per game. Clock does not stop for timeouts. No timeouts in last two (2) minutes of the game.
  • SUBSTITUTIONS ON THE FLY ONLY: Because games are running time and sidelines horns have the potential to delay play, all substitutions will be on the fly.
      • US Lacrosse Rules apply for all youth divisions
      • National Federation High School Rules apply for all high school brackets, except as modified
      • No body checking; no one-handed checks
      • Man-Up/Down – Player serves all penalties, team does not (i.e., penalized player comes off the field and switches with another). Ball is awarded to non-penalized team and player with ball will enjoy a 5-yard advantage relative to his cover man at the mid-line or wherever the official restarts play.
      • Ball is hot at all times (no minimum number of passes)
      • Stick Length Rule – see below
      • Advancement/Stalling Rule – does not apply, but see “advance the ball” command by an official
      • No body checking; no one-handed checks
      • Stick Length Rule – see below
      • Advancement/Stalling Rule – does not apply, but see “advance the ball” command by an official
      • U11 – no sticks longer than 52 inches (unless both coaches agree; please, no disputes here)
      • U9 – no sticks longer than 40 inches (unless both coaches agree; please, no disputes here)
    • U9/U11: Advancement/stalling rules do not apply at this level, but officials can command a team to “advance the ball” within 5 seconds
    • All Other Brackets: 20 second count to clear the midline; 10 seconds to advance into the box. Once a team advances the ball inside its goal area, the ball may be brought outside the goal area unless the team has been warned to “keep it in” (i.e. a stall warning has been imposed) or the “Box Rule” (below) is in effect.
  • BOX RULE (U13, U15 AND HIGH SCHOOL BRACKETS): Winning team must keep ball in the offensive box during last 2 minutes of play
  • MERCY RULE in effect during pool play but not during playoffs (applies when there is a 4 goal differential). Teams down by 4 goals or more will be awarded the ball at midfield after each goal. We believe a 4 goal “Mercy Rule” will help ensure that pool play games remain competitive and will optimize participation and interest. Coaches may elect to waive the Mercy Rule during pool play, both must consent. The second half starts with a face-off regardless of goal differential.
    • Pool Play: 3 v 3 sudden-victory brave heart (plus goalie) for max 2 minutes to determine the winner, no substitutions. If neither team scores, game ends in tie.
    • Playoff Rounds: In playoff rounds only (i.e, Sunday), there will be one 5-minute sudden-victory overtime period, followed by above 3v3 brave heart format until winner is decided.
  • TOURNAMENT ADMINISTRATION (POOL PLAY): Points will be awarded after each game, as follows: 3 for a win, 1 for a tie, 0 for a loss. Forfeits will be considered a 3-0 victory for the team that is prepared to play.
  • TIE BREAK PROCDURE FOR PLAYOFF SEEDING: 1) head to head; 2) total goals against; 3) coin-flip (1st team alphabetically calls the flip)
  • PLAYER ELIGIBILITY: US Lacrosse Boys Youth Rules for player eligibility govern for youth brackets. Exceptions may be made in the judgment of the Tournament directors on a case-by-case basis if circumstances warrant and to further the spirit of the game, but only if fully disclosed.
  • THREE (3) COACH MAXIMUM: Please limit the number of coaches on the sideline to three (3).
  • WEATHER CONDITIONS: Games times and format are subject to weather conditions and the Tournament weather policy.


    • 3-YARD RULE: No body checks to any player unless the player is within 3 yards (not 5 yards) of a loose ball or ball in flight. Checks that are otherwise within 3 yards will still be scrutinized for unnecessary roughness.
  • ONE-HANDED STICK CHECKS: Prohibited at U9, U11 and U13 levels (will be called a slash whether or not contact is made with the opposing player)
  • NO BLATANT, VIOLENT, RECKLESS OR MALICIOUS HITS: No high hits or hits to the head or neck; no hits below the waist; no hits to the back; no late hits; no running over the pick man or hitting vulnerable or defenseless player; no blind side checks; no take-out checks; no bull dodges by ball carrier with the ball that are intended to run over or steamroll a defender (defenders have the right to their space); no intimidation; no bad attitudes… Get the picture?
  • UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS: Big hits and overly physical play (even within 3 yards from a loose ball), as well as excessive force, roughness, checking or hitting off the ball or any hits described above, constitutes unnecessary roughness in the Patriot Games and will result in either a 1 minute to 3 minute penalty in the discretion of the official(s), and may be made non-releasable in the judgment of the official(s).
    • The Patriot Games directors expect tournament officials to “err” on the side of safety. All coaches involved with teams in the tournament are expected to understand and support our philosophy with regard to officiating and the promotion of player safety.


  • Officials are responsible to keep score on each field during the game, to confirm scores with the opposing coaches, and to report scores following the games
  • Following each game, coaches from both teams are asked to help facilitate the reporting of scores to the site headquarters. Unreported scores will be treated as a tie for both teams. Should there be a discrepancy between the official’s score and the coach’s score, the official’s score will prevail.


  • HONOR THE GAME: All persons involved with the Patriot Games visiting the Facility are expected to “Honor the Game”.
  • Only head coaches are permitted to address the officials; coaches are expected to do so in a courteous manner. Please treat the officials, opponents, spectators and tournament staff with the same respect you would like to be shown.
  • The Patriot Games directors expect the officials, coaches, players and fans to comport themselves in accordance with the rules.
  • SPORTSMANSHIP RECOGNITION: The Tournament will recognize teams that display good sportsmanship over the course of the event. Recognition will be based on sportsmanship scorecards kept by certified officials, tournament marshals and observations of Patriot Games staff members after each game and during the day, taking into account the spirit of the game and conduct on both sides of the field, including coaches, assistant coaches, players and spectators (including post-game clean up!).


  • Each team has a goalie and any 3 field players (A, M, D, LSM, FOGO). Choose well, no substitutions (except for an injury, see below).
  • Officials may inspect field crosses before the tiebreaker begins; no coach-requested checks.
  • Teams defend the same goal they defended in the second half.
  • Teams must use the goalies on the field at the end of regulation.
  • The field players face off at center.
  • Goalies must be behind their restraining lines during the faceoff; goalies may not cross midfield at any time unless a teammate stays back.
  • The first team to score a goal wins.
  • There are no timeouts or substitutions permitted except in the case of injury (in which case the opponent may also sub a player).
  • If a team commits what would normally be a timeserving penalty during the tiebreaker:
    • Play is restarted with the offending player in his defensive half (for a technical foul) or in his defensive restraining area (for a personal foul).
    • The offended team’s field player in possession just outside the attack area.
  • All other standard rules apply, including counts.
  • Have fun, Honor the Game!

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