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11. Eligibility

Age Eligibility - Youth Age & Eligibility Guidelines

The NCJLA establishes age eligibility divisions to promote a safe and sportsmanlike environment. The NCJLA believes that the league and member clubs should provide playing opportunities that, as much as possible, aim to establish a "level playing field" among players of similar age.

The objective of this change (established in 2017) is to balance the age groupings and number of member teams in each division, in particular between what is currently U12 and U14. Additionally, the NCJLA believes it is appropriate for the development of youth players intending to play lacrosse in high school to have a two year window to prepare for their 9th grade year, rather than the “one-and-done” 8th grade U14 year.


  • Groupings will remain “Age Based” but changed to a “U” designation: 8U; 10U; 12U; 14U age

  • Maintain the current US Lacrosse AND California DOE cutoff date of September 1st.

    Click Here For Current Season Age Brackets.
    Information can also be found on the US Lacrosse website (http://www.uslacrosse.org/).


  • Age eligible 9th grade players will be allowed to play 14U.
  • Players may "play up" one division with club and parent written approval. The NCJLA recommends that clubs keep the approval on file for the duration that the player is in their organization. Please see the policies for playing up section.

High School Eligibility

The NCJLA has two levels of play at the high school level for boys (Varsity and JV) and one level for girls (Girls HS).  Boys who are seniors must play on a Varsity level team. High school freshman are encouraged to play on a high school team, CIF or club.

No player is permitted to play for a CIF High School team and then a NCJLA High School team during the same spring season. If a player plays for a CIF High School team and decides to leave the CIF team before the season has ended, they must petition the NCJLA for permission to play for a NCJLA High School team.

Boys High School Varsity:  9th grade through 12th grade is permitted.

Boys JV:  9th, 10th & 11th grade.  No 12th graders may play on a JV team.

Girls High School:  9th grade through 12th grade.  One division, without JV or Varsity determination.

(See No Playing Down and Petitioning sections below.)

Gender Eligibility

Girls, U14 and below, may play on a boys team only if no girls team is available at her age level in her local club.  Boys may not play on a girls team, at any age level. The NCJLA follows the recommendation of US Lacrosse in matters relating to transgender athletes.

Policies on Playing Up
As long as the player, parents, coach and club agree that it is in the best interest of the player, then the league will concur and allow a player to play one age level up. However, the decision should not be made lightly. The "playing up" player should be in the top third of the team that he or she is moving up to. If several players all want to move up then it would likely be better to all stay at their appropriate age level.  Players requesting to play up two age divisions must submit a petition to the NCJLA Board of Directors.

If any 14U age-eligible 8th grade boy or girl wishes to play on a high school team, the club must submit a petition to the NCJLA Board of Directors.

If a player is moved up mid-season, he/she is allowed to play up once during the season and still be allowed to move back to his/her original team. The same rules apply to moving laterally, from one team to another within the same age bracket.  If a player moves up or moves laterally more than once, he/she must remain on the team he/she moved to for the remainder of the season.  Any movement of a player must be sent to the appropriate commissioner and the webmaster at least 48 hours before a game so the NCJLA can make the adjustment to a team’s roster prior to the game.  

No player is allowed to play on two different teams within an eight (8) day period. The purpose of this rule is to discourage clubs from floating players from one team to another.  Thus, a player cannot play on the same team within the same weekend and on the second team the following weekend as well, depending on when the first game was played.

Any player that is playing up must fill out and submit a Player Release of Liability Form. Click here to download the form.

No Playing Down
No player may play on a team at a lower age level.  If a club would like to petition this rule for a very rare exception, petitions are to be submitted by the club president and are collected by the NCJLA Executive Director.  See Petitioning Eligibility below.  A petition based solely on date of birth will not be approved, i.e. a birth date late in the year.

A player who initially plays on an “A” level team may be moved down to a “B” team.  Any changes in the roster must be sent to the NCJLA webmaster at least 48 hours before the first game at the lower level.  Once a player moves down he/she must remain on the team he/she moved to for the remainder of the season.  However, no player who played “A” for any three games of the season may play down on a “B” team for the team’s end of season games.    

Petitioning Eligibility
NCJLA’s rules on eligibility are firm.  However if a club wishes to petition an eligibility rule for a very rare exception, they may do so by having their club president submit a petition to the NCJLA board via an online Player Eligibility Petition form.  Petitions may be submitted in November, December or January, by the 10th of the month to be considered at that month's board meeting.  Petitions must be submitted by either the club president or the club’s NCJLA delegate.  No petitions will be considered coming directly from a coach or parent.  The board will review petitions at the next monthly board meeting and decisions will be communicated shortly thereafter.  If you have questions on petitioning eligibility, contact execdirector@ncjla.org.


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