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Frequently Asked Questions

What are Lacrosse Officials Called?

The general terms used to address individuals that officiate men's lacrosse are Official or Referee. In three man crew games, there is a Referee, and Umpire, and a Field Judge. For youth, JV, and some varsity games, 2 man crews are used. In some areas, 3 man crews are used for varsity - and even JV games.  Women's officials are called umpires and games use either 2 or 3-person crews also - depending on the level of the game.

How Old do You Have to Be to Become an Official?

You need to be at least 16 years old. It helps if you have a driver's license and a vehicle.

What is the new US Lacrosse Men's Officials Training Program?

The Men's Game Officials Committee of USLacrosse has created a Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 training program for new and developing men's lacrosse officials. Training consists of clinics that incorporate the Officials Training Manual, video, practical experience on the field, and written testing.  Once you complete Level One certification, you will receive a patch to wear on your uniform. The Women's Game Officials Committee has a separate process. Go to www.uslacrosse.org for information on how to become a men's or women's lacrosse official.

Do I need to be registered/certified with the VHSL (Virginia High School League)?

In accordance with VHSL regulations, our local men's officials association (Southwest Virginia Lacrosse Officials Association) requires you to be a member of the VHSL and certified as a VHSL boys lacrosse official. You must also be an active member of US Lacrosse.  As a member of US Lacrosse, you are provided with insurance benefits that cover you while officiating games. The VHSL has an on-line test that you must pass. Members of the VHSL do receive insurance benefits and a VHSL patch to wear on their uniforms. You should contact the VHSL for more information.

Where Can I Get Trained?

The Southwest Virginia Lacrosse Officials Association was formed to address the need for more trained officials in southwest Virginia.  Contact Andy Blanton at blantonref@cox.net for more information on becoming a men's official. Also look at www.uslacrosse.org - there is a complete listing of current training opportunities and locations on their site for both men's and women's lacrosse.  USLacrosse has LAREDO (Lacrosse Referee Development Opportunity) training opportunities throughout the year in locations around the country. You need to register for these programs online at www.uslacrosse.org.  In addition, there are some local training opportunities. 

How Much does it Cost?

There is a $25 SWVLOA registration fee for members of our men's officials association. There is a cost for the LAREDO training programs but the cost is low. You must be a member of US Lacrosse to officiate men's or women's games. Your membership provides you with access to free insurance and other benefits you need to be an Official. You will receive a rulebook with your membership.  You can purchase additional rulebooks from USLacrosse - both the NCAA rules and the Federation (high school) rules. You receive one free rulebook with your USLacrosse membership. The NCAA men's rules can be downloaded on the web. You must purchase the high school Federation rulebooks.

What are the uniform requirements to Officiate Men's lacrosse?

You are required to purchase and maintain a complete men's lacrosse officials uniform in order to officiate games. The uniform consists of a striped short sleeve shirt, a striped long sleeve shirt (with zippered neck and front pocket), a black fitted hat with white piping, black COTTON shorts, black belt, low cut black socks, black shoes (no white markings), 2 penalty flags (yellow), FOX 40 finger whistle, scorecard, and pencil.  A basic kit can be purchased online at sites such as The Officials Corner or other sites for about $100.  It is also highly recommended that you have a striped jacket for cold weather, black wind pants, and a small tape measure.

What Does it Cost to Join The Southwest Virginia Lacrosse Officials Association?

$25 for SWVLOA membership.

How Much Are Officials Paid?

Varsity games pay $70 per game, JV games pay $60/game, and youth games pay $35 per game. There is a travel stipend for programs we support in outlying areas.  Women's games pay about the same. Currently, the Southwest Virginia Lacrosse Officials Association does the assigning of officials for youth and high school games in southwest Virginia. The Blue Ridge Umpires Association assigns umpires for women's games in our area.

How can I get some practice at Officiating?

Many of you have asked where can I find information on reffing lacrosse. There is much info available on the web. Once you join USLacrosse, you will receive the monthly magazine which always has articles on reffing men's and women's lacrosse. There are countless sites on the web about officiating all sports - including lacrosse. All of the local colleges have summer camps and need refs - just call the coach and ask if you can help!  He may even pay you!  In addition, I publish info about reffing opportunities on our local lacrosse officials website - www.arbitersports.com. I have several videos on officiating lacrosse - just call me and I'll lend them to you. To get better, you need to practice. To practice you need to be proactive in seeking out opportunities.

Other Information

Youth and High School leagues, both boys and girls, here in the Roanoke Valley are always seeking new officials to help grow the game and provide more playing opportunities for the kids. Previous lacrosse experience is NOT required!  Training and mentorship is provided.  You will start out doing youth league games and progress as far as you want to go.  

Contact Andy Blanton for info on how to become a boys lacrosse official. Contact Robin Allison at  radallison@comcast.net for info on how to become a girls lacrosse official. Andy Blanton is the Boys High School area assignor. Chip Rogers is the Girls High School area assignor.

We need more officials for both women's and men's lacrosse here in the Valley.