A League is defined as:
An organizing entity that oversees and manages lacrosse play for multiple lacrosse teams within a designated geographic area and/or age group and level of play.
A League has current, written policies for league governance and operations that are publically available and regularly communicated to program administrators, coaches, parents and players.
A League has a multi-faceted communication system, specifically including: a website, email platform, and standardized in-person meetings.
US Lacrosse Gold Stick Standards for Leagues (Expanded Summary)
1. Rules: League must adhere to all current US Lacrosse youth rules and age guidelines, have them publicly available and regularly communicated to program coaches, administrators, and parents.
♦ Note: leagues that implement additional rules to further emphasis and "exceed" the published rules will be considered as meeting this requirement (i.e. no body contact at all levels U15 and below, grouping players for competition by individual age/year – U15, U14, U13, U12, etc).
♦ Leagues may implement exceptions or special circumstance clauses regarding age guidelines if those exceptions relate to player safety or cognitive/physical development. For example: Players should not be excluded from play in an appropriate age group determined by league administrators.
2. League Administration: League must have current, written policies for league governance that are publically available and regularly communicated to program administrators, coaches, parents and players through a multi-faceted communication system.
♦ Current By-laws.
Must include and define; purposes, governance, committee/officer structure, eligibility, grievance, conflict of interest, legal matters.
♦ Communication Systems
o All required policies and educational information as defined within the Gold Stick Standards for Leagues must be posted on the organization’s website and available to all leagues participants.
o All required policies and educational information as defined within the Gold Stick Standards for Leagues must be shared with parents and coaches and distributed in a tangible manner.
o Required Electronic Platforms:
• League website (USLaxteams.com or other)
Note: Platform for Gold Stick monitoring and promotion (US Lacrosse will rely on the integrity of member organizations to ensure compliance with Gold Stick Standards)
• Email communication platform – to all coaches and parents
Note: Gold Stick Standards compliance "report cards" will be sent to all league parents, coaches and administrators for compliance oversight
o Required In-Person Platforms:
• Pre-season Coaches meeting
• Pre-season Parent meeting
3. Safety and Risk Management: League has written policies and plans for safety and risk management that are publicly available and regularly communicated to program coaches, administrators, and parents. Unless specifically noted, all policies are followed during all practices and games.
♦ Codes of conduct: annually sign by all players, coaches and parents
♦ Alcohol/Drug/PED policies for players, coaches and parents/spectators
♦ Emergency Plan, includes (minimum):
• Coach on-field checklist: includes items coaches need to have at all times such as emergency contact list, first aid kit, etc.
• Sudden cardiac arrest and commotio cordis protocol
• CPR: Awareness and educational resources (standard), training for all head coaches (exceed)
• AED: Awareness and educational resources and one unit (standard), training for all head coaches and multiple units (exceed)
• First aid plan, including how to handle blood
• Heat and dehydration policy
• Return to Play policy for suspected head injury
♦ Safe Sport Environment Policies, includes: – (define)
• Abuse awareness and prevention
• Appropriate communication
• Safe team practices
♦ Extreme weather policies: Lightning, Tornado/Severe weather
♦ Playing time statement/policy
♦ Field inspection checklist
♦ Practice policy (max duration, required elements such as dynamic warm-up, water breaks)
♦ Game day policy (includes post-game procedures such as hand-shake and pre-game procedures as per officials)
4. Player Safety and Sportsmanship: League demonstrates a commitment to the safety of their players by publishing and promoting current information related to healthy lacrosse activity. League provides a detailed, written sportsmanship policy to players, parents, coaches, officials and administrators.
♦ Program publishes information in a consolidated format for players, coaches and parents: (all provided by USL)
• USL Sports Science & Safety Committee recommendations for age appropriate youth lacrosse participation
• Youth lacrosse rules, rule differences (b/g) and USL’s recommended best practices for age appropriate play
• Concussion awareness, signs and symptoms
• Equipment guidelines/Helmet reconditioning recommendations/Appropriate mouth guard usage/Eyewear
• Implement League required preseason rules/safety/sportsmanship meeting with coaches and parents (per team(s) or per league)
• Overuse injury and burnout prevention
• Nutrition information
• Hydration guidelines
♦ Implement USL game specific Sportsmanship programs (Honor the Game, BFF)
♦ Being a Second Goal Parent—emphasizing winning after life-lessons and enjoyment of the game
5. Screened, Trained and Certified US Lacrosse Coaches: All head coaches are NCSI background checked, trained, and at least Level 1 certified through the US Lacrosse Coaching Education Program.
6. Trained/Certified US Lacrosse Officials: Leagues must require, at a minimum that all officials assigned to league games are certified by their Local Board, and hold a current on-field rating prior to any assignment to the programs contests. All contests (with the exception of U-9 on a shortened field) will have a minimum of two officials assigned to each contest.
7. Membership: All players, coaches, officials and administrators are current US lacrosse members.