Southwest Lacrosse Officials Association: How to be a Referee

Lacrosse Official


FAQ For Trainees  for more information, please contact Chief Referee Ken Singer

What is the Officials' Training Program?
US Lacrosse has created a Level 1&2 training program for new and developing men's lacrosse officials. Training consists of clinics that incorporate the Officials Training Manual, the Officials Training Video and practical experience on the field. Although developed specifically to address the shortage of officials for the expanding youth game, the training materials are available for the use and benefit of officials training for any level of the game.

Where can I get trained?
Training is traditionally held in the fall and January just prior to the start of the spring season. Training is conducted through the SWLOA.

Do I need to be a US lacrosse member to be trained?

Yes. You can join US lacrosse online at You must bring your USL membership number to training in order to be admitted.
How much does it cost?
Training costs $35 which includes a copy of the Officials Training Manual, a Rulebook and a trainer’s fee.  A check made payable to North Texas Lacrosse Officials Association, or cash, are the only acceptable forms of payment for training. Check with other SWLOA chapters to determine training costs.

What about a rulebook?
All US Lacrosse 'official' category members whose memberships are current will receive the upcoming season's rulebook in December through USL. We use the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Rulebook. Current season rulebooks are available through the US Lacrosse online Gift Shop or the NCAA. A free pdf file is available through the NCAA but it is very long. Note: It is important to have the current season's rulebook when training and officiating.

How can I get a copy of the new training video, "The Third Team on the Field"?
Your trainer has been provided a copy of the video to show during your training. You can purchase your own copy for through the US Lacrosse online Gift Shop at

Who can participate in the training? Do I have to be a member of US Lacrosse?
Anyone interested in officiating on the field and who 1) joins US Lacrosse and 2) pays the training fee (if applicable to their area) can participate in the training. Keep in mind, however, that only trainees who complete and pass the training tests, who are US Lacrosse members and SWLOA members in good standing will be allowed to officiate.
What are the benefits of the training program?
The training provides a sound rules foundation and is excellent preparation for officials' responsibilities both on and off the field. Trained officials will be provided 2 USL patches to wear proudly on their uniforms.

How do I obtain additional patches?
The two patches will be presented to you after you successfully pass the required testing. Additional patches can be obtained from USL after your name has been added to the database.
How does the testing work?
Lacrosse is a running sport. You may need to pass a running test prior to classroom training. At the completion of classroom training you are required to pass a written exam of 100 questions. Your trainer will review your answers, respond in a timely fashion and be available to help you with any questions or challenges you may have. Once competency has been met on both tests, your trainer will communicate with US Lacrosse to indicate you have passed and are now a certified official.

I called US Lacrosse and they don't have a record for me, or my training is not noted on my record. What does that mean?
Be sure you have registered your membership with US Lacrosse.  Once you have passed your training, your trainer will let US Lacrosse know, so check in with your trainer if US Lacrosse does not have record of your training.

How do I get proof of insurance as an official?
Your US Lacrosse 'official' membership includes the insurance you need to be covered on the field. Your membership number is used as proof of insurance. Visit the insurance section of the US Lacrosse website for more information on the coverage.
How do I get my game schedule for the season?
All game assignments are made online. Only trained officials who are current 'official' members of US Lacrosse and SWLOA will be receive game assignments

How do I maintain my “official' status?
In addition to annually renewing your 'official' membership in US Lacrosse, you will ultimately need to complete Level 2 training as well as any additional testing that may be imposed.

I'm starting out as a youth official, but what if I decide I'd like to officiate other levels of the game?
Officials who can put in longtime service to the youth game are  needed, so be sure to consider your services for this level as an end as much as a means. However, if you decide to move to higher levels of the game, there are many opportunities to advance quickly into high school and/or college and post-college officiating. You will need to meet competencies designated for those levels. In some cases (college varsity)significant  additional training and testing is required as well as practice, practice, practice! Ask your trainer about opportunities to prepare for and officiate at other levels of the game in your community.

What are the uniform requirements?
You are required to purchase and maintain a lacrosse officials’ uniform. As a minimum this uniform will consist of a striped short sleeve shirt (w/zippered neck, collar and pocket), a black fitted hat with white piping, black Bermuda style shorts, black belt, short black ankle socks, traditional black & white lacrosse socks, black running shoes (no markings or logos), penalty flag, Fox 40 finger whistle, scorecard, and a pencil. The basic kit can be purchased for about $150(minus the shoes). It is highly recommended that you also purchase a jacket, wind pants, and a 6ft tape measure (that will fit in your pocket). Additional items could bring the total cost to the $300 range.

Are there any other costs associated with officiating?
In addition to joining US Lacrosse, you will also be required to join the Southwest Lacrosse Officials Association. Dues are $25 for first year officials and $75 for  all other officials. 

How much are lacrosse officials paid?
Officials are paid depending on the level of work. Currently youth games are $55, JV games are $65, varsity games pay $75, and men’s club games are $90. College games range pay $135-$250 depending the level of play. Payment arrangements are usually handled at the field with the exchange of a voucher.  Voucher books are provided to members by SWLOA.

What else do I need to know about lacrosse officiating?
Lacrosse is called “the fastest game on two feet” and for good reason. The game does require the ability to run up and down a football-sized field. Above the youth level, transitions can be quick and continuous. Aerobic fitness is important. During the regular season youth games can be played as early as 4:30pm, but are normally played at 6pm and on weekends. JV and varsity doubleheaders are played normally at 6p and 7:30p respectively. You need to be on the field at least 20 minutes prior to game time. College and men’s club games are usually played on weekends.

Why do I have to join US Lacrosse and NTLOA/SWLOA?
SWLOA members voted to support the establishment of a national governing body for the sport of lacrosse. In so doing, SWLOA decided that all SWLOA members in good standing would therefore be active members of US Lacrosse. In addition, the benefits to USL membership are substantial. In addition to training, those benefits include a variety of programs and services, discounts on books, videos, educational materials and National Team merchandise; Lacrosse Magazine, comprehensive lacrosse insurance; membership in their local chapter, free admission to the Lacrosse Museum and Hall of Fame; and access to national discount partnerships.  SWLOA contracts with various local and state level leagues for officiating services. SWLOA members in good standing are authorized to officiate games with those leagues.