The Game of Lacrosse
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about the sport of lacrosse?
A: The sport of lacrosse is a combination of basketball, soccer and hockey. Anyone can play lacrosse--the big or the small. The game requires and rewards coordination and agility, not brawn. Quickness and speed are two highly prized qualities in lacrosse. An exhilarating sport, lacrosse is fast-paced and full of action. Lacrosse is played with a stick (the crosse) which must be mastered by the player to throw, catch and scoop the ball. Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing team sports in the United States. Youth participation in the sport has grown over 138% since 2001 to nearly 300,000. No sport has grown faster at the high school level over the last 10 years and there are now an estimated 228,000 high school players. Lacrosse is also the fastest-growing sport over the last six years at the NCAA level with 557 college teams in 2009, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are more than 500 college club programs, including nearly 200 women's teams that compete at the US Lacrosse Intercollegiate Associates level. To learn more go to www.uslacrosse.org.
These programs are open to boys and girls in grades K-8, who live or attend school in the towns of Berlin, Boylston, Clinton, Lancaster (boys only), and West Boylston. Any player is welcome into our program who does not already have a lacrosse program in their town. The program is built around participation in the Mass Bay Youth Lacrosse League and Founders Girls Lacrosse League.
Q: What are the age groups?
A: Our league uses a grade-based system. There are five groups: U7 (Pre-K to K) Fiddle-Stix *New to 2018 Season*, U9 (Grades 1 & 2); U11 (Grades 3 & 4); U13 (Grades 5 & 6); U15 (Grades 7 & 8). Secondarily your child must be under 15, 13, 11, 9, and 7 respectively (but over the age of 4) as of August 31st prior to the start of the season to participate in these grade-based programs.
Q: Can my child play outside their age group?
A: A waiver is required to allow children to play outside of their age group. Please let us know if your child has developmental, emotional or other physical characteristics for which it would be best that he plays below his prescribed age group. Since the recreational program is designed for children to play with their friends and peers, we don’t allow players to play up.
Q: When is the season?
A: Indoor practice sessions start in late February or March. The outdoor season begins at the beginning of April or when the town fields are open. Games begin in early April and the season ends with separate jamborees for both boys and girls in June.
Q: What towns do we play?
A: U7 is Saturday developmental only. All teams will play an 8 game schedule and are considered "travel teams" in that we play other towns both home and away. Our division generally covers Central Mass teams typically between 30-45 minutes away like Shrewsbury, Grafton, Sturbridge, Leominster, Northborough/Southborough but can extend as far as Framingham, Natick or Weston. Home games are played at Hillside Field in Boylston.
Q: When are the practices?
A: Practice times will be announced closer to the season and are dependent on gym availability. In late February/early March, we start indoors at Hillside Gym in Boylston. Outdoor practices begin once the town has opened the fields, and practice days may change due to field availability. Typically there will be two practices per week for each age group to start, and then there may be an additional practice per team based on the coach’s discretion. You coach will touch base with you via email/app once teams are determined. Players are expected to attend practices or their playing time during games may be limited.
Q: When are the games?
A: All games will be played on Sundays, anywhere from 10:30 am – 5:00 pm. Sometimes weather messes the schedule up and fields simply cannot be released. This will delay games. When this happens, it is a struggle to get those games rescheduled. We will do our best to communicate with parents and do what is most convenient for the majority. There may also be a few optional weeknight games later in the season that would be organized and scheduled at the individual coach’s discretion. A regular schedule typically consists of 4 home games and 4 away games. Games typically last between 75-90 minutes and players are often asked to be at the field 30-60 minutes before game time. Sometimes extra games or scrimmages can be fit into the schedule at the leagues discretion. When league wide scheduling is finished, all games will be posted in the Master Schedule. Please download the NEW FREE League Athletics Team App from the Google App Store for instant updates to the schedule.
MBYLL/FGLL/US Lacrosse League Information
Q: What is US Lacrosse?
A: US Lacrosse is a national organization that strives to provide programs and services to inspire lacrosse participation, while protecting the integrity of the game. More importantly, through the fees you pay for your annual membership, your player will receive Accident and Liability insurance coverage.
Q: What is MBYLL?
A: The Guardians Boys Lacrosse program plays in the West Central division of the Mass Bay Youth Lacrosse League (MBYLL). Our schedule and rules are set by the MBYLL based on recommendations from US Lacrosse. The league also organizes a year-end Jamboree.
Q: Why is the MBYLL/FGLL philosophy unique and different from many youth sports?
A: Both leagues are considered “instructional” leagues. There are no standings kept, no league championship or playoffs. Currently, all teams from each town are equal in skill (no A team, B team). The goals are teaching the sport and providing a rewarding experience for all involved. To learn more go to www.MBYLL.org or www.FGLL.org.
Registration and Payments
Q: When is registration?
A: Registration for the spring season typically opens in early November. Teams are capped at 20 players and we will open up another team once the waiting list hits 20 so don't be discouraged and still sign up!
Q: Why is registration in the fall for the spring season?
A: While it seems early, there are a number of items that must be completed in late fall and early January including team submission to the leagues, uniform ordering, booking indoor practice time, coordinating field time with the town, starting to schedule games and so much more.
Q: How do I register?
A: Registration is done 100% on-line for your convenience! When registration is underway, there will be an red "Register Now" button on our website. There is a tutorial set up for your review BEFORE you begin the registration process. It will walk you through exactly how to register for any of our programs. If you need assistance, please email
Q: How much does it cost to play?
A: We do everything we can to keep costs down so every child can be afforded the opportunity to play with us. Please refer to our Registration Online page for annual fees. We have listed some savings options below.
A: GYL strives to keep costs to parents and players as low as possible. GYL is a not-for-profit organization. Fees are used to pay for field maintenance, equipment, tournaments, league memberships, officials, etc.
Q: Do you offer any savings options?
A: As a league, we believe every child should be afforded the opportunity to play with us regardless of financial issues that are out of their control. To keep costs down we have worked very hard to offer everyone enrolled in our program the following options:
- Generous multiple child discount - $20 off 2nd child, $30 off 3rd child, $40 off 4th child
- Family Cap - $340 max!
- "For Sale" page on sidebar for used uniforms and equipment exchange
- We have an equipment donation bucket available for use or swapping items
Q: What is the US Lacrosse/MBYLL registration and why do we have to pay to join?
All of our U9-U15 boy lacrosse players are required to be MBYLL Members for the program and participants to be covered with insurance. Annual Memberships are $40, are paid directly to MBYLL, and are non-refundable. You will have to start the registration process by Creating an Account with MBYLL on their website, then registering with them. Once complete and paid, you will receive a confirmation with a MBYLL number code. Then you need to log into our website and hit the Register Now button, and you will be prompted to enter your number code as proof of MBYLL Membership and to complete our full registration process. You will receive a confirmation email from both MBYLL and Guardians Youth Lacrosse as proof of registration. You must use the same email address to register with both MBYLL and GYL. Note: many camps, clubs, and seasonal lax options also require these memberships so it is useful to keep your number where you can find it again.
A: All of our U7 players and Girl Lacrosse players are required be US Lacrosse members for the program and participants to be covered with insurance. Memberships are $25 and paid directly to US Lacrosse, and are non-refundable. During registration, you will be automatically directed to the US Lacrosse page for their registration. After you register, you will be automatically re-directed back to our site to complete our full registration process.
Q: What is the Payment Plan?
A: The Payment Plan is a new option offered in 2018. Instead of paying for your player upfront, you now have the choice to opt-in to the payment plan. Each program is set up a little differently. There is an initial deposit due at the time of registration. The earlier you register, not only will you be guaranteed a spot on the team, the longer you will stretch your payements too. The payment schedules are set up with defined amounts due on specific days. If you sign up later in the program, your payment schedule will reflect differently than what is described on this page. If you receive a multi child discount, it will automatically deduct that amount off of the final payment due (but it will not indicate that anywhere). Your individually tailored payment plan will be sent to you in your confirmation page after you register your player(s). Seven days prior to the due date, you will receive an email letting you know you need to log in to access your personal account to make a payment. It is suggested that you bookmark the site and record your password. League Athletics doesn't store financial information, so members need to enter payment information each time they make a payment on their balance. All final payments are due on the scheduled date. Players must be in good standing prior to their first practice.
You will need to read the Tutorials page to learn how to log in to make a payment. Please note that the predetermined schedules are as follows:
U7 Fiddle-Stix Program
Payment 1 $10 Due at registration
Payment 2 $20 Due 11/14/
Payment 3 $20 Due 1/14/ Final
*Note, we skip the December payment
Payment 1 $20 Due at registration
Payment 2 $35 Due 11/14/
Payment 3 $35 Due 1/14/
Payment 4 $35 Due 2/14/ Final
*Note, we skip the December payment
Payment 1 $30 Due at registration
Payment 2 $40 Due 11/14/
Payment 3 $40 Due 1/14/
Payment 4 $40 Due 2/14/ Final
*Note, we skip the December payment.
Q: What is your refund policy?
The GYL Board of Directors has implemented a refund policy. Refunds are granted within the guidelines and timeframes listed below. If you are going to request a refund, please read the following information to make sure you qualify.
1. Refunds must be made in writing and submitted to the Board of Directors by the dates stated below.
Girls Teams 1/14 Boys Teams 2/14 Developmental 3/14
2. Any refund granted shall be subject to deductions for any processing fees, uniform fees, late fees and MBYLL/USL Membership fees, etc.
3. Refunds will not be provided due to families inability to accomodate practice/game times, specific coach/team request (placement concern), or carpool requestes except within the dates and for the amounts shown in the guidelines above. Injuries are a apart of all sports at any level and are not generally considered as a reason for a refund, except within the dates and for the amounts shown in the guidelines above. GYL cannot accomodate specific requests for late registrants - they will be placed on a team if there is an open spot.
4. GYL Board of Directors reserves the right to change this policy at any time and to deny or approve a refund for any reason. We strive for consistency and fairness and will evaluate every request objectively. However, there may be circumstances the GYL did not foresee when forming this refund policy that may require us to deny or approve a particular refund request or to amend the refund policy.
*All refund requests should be directed to the Board of Directors
Q: How do I get a uniform?
Uniforms and Equipment
A: New players are required to purchase a complete uniform. Players can use them for multiple seasons until they no longer fit or wear out. All players will be able to order new or replacement pieces before the start of the season. An email will be sent out mid February when our online uniform store is open. This is the ONLY time uniforms will be available for purchasae. Before you register, the For Sale page might have some discounted uniforms available as well.
Q: What equipment is needed?
A: Lacrosse specific equipment is required in order to participate on the first day of practice (no hockey or football equipment). Please see our Required Equipment page for more detail for the Boys Program, Girls Program, and Developmental Program.
Q: Where can I buy equipment?
A: There are many places that sell equipment, some offer discounted "starter packages:"
Dick’s Sporting Good
The Job Lot
Play It Again Sports in Leominster
Kleen N Hard Sports in Worcester
The “For Sale” tab of our website may feature items offered by members of our organization.
We have a donation bin filled with donated equipment items that we will have available on uniform hand out day.
Q: What is the Attendance Policy?
A: Our program strives for safety, skills, and team play- coaches teach in practice and implement in games, so practice is important! While we would love to have each player devoted to lacrosse we recognize that children and their families can have other interests and passions and we respect those. For players engaged in multiple spring sports, GYL believes strongly in a "games before practices" philosophy: your lacrosse game is more important than a conflicting practice in another sport, and vice versa. We can accommodate children who play other spots, and they should be encouraged to do so at these ages. Playing multiple sports helps to prevent injury, overtraining and burnout. It can also help build skills and coordination that will help in lacrosse. All of our coaches focus on even playing time for all players. However equal playing time is not guaranteed to players that do not have a good attendance record. This being said, players must be committed to attending the majority of their practices and all games. A team cannot work together if are not given ample opportunity to practice together. We must be fair to those who attend every practice and work hard to excel in one sport where they choose to give 100%. The occasional missed lacrosse practice to attend a game in another sport is understandable, and occasional conflicts are unavoidable at times. We hope such absences will be minimized, but in such an event, you must communicate with your coach. Player’s positions can be determined by a combination of attendance, skill, and overall positive attitude toward teammates, opponents, coaches, and the sport of lacrosse. Please consider these points carefully before committing to our program.
Q: Why do we have a strong and well-defined Attendance Policy?
A:Respect -- Respect for your coach, your teammates and yourself. Coaches spend a considerable amount of time planning and running practices to teach skill and prepare for games. Practice plans are created weekly and rely on consistent attendance from all players. All it takes is a a few late or missing players and that plan is obsolete.
Teamwork -- Lacrosse is a team sport. Teamwork is a "life skill" that stays with young athletes long after they stop playing sports. It often makes them better in social, educational and, eventually, professional environments.
Commitment -- On a team, the group suffers unless everyone is committed to its success. Commitment requires that everyone show up and be ready to play on time every session. Showing up "when you feel like it" just doesn't cut it when you are a member of a musical band, a theatrical play, or any other group activity, same goes for lacrosse. Making commitments and fulfilling them are important in both sports and life. Not everyone is overly scheduled, it is not fair to those who have made the choice to give 100%. We are here to set our players up in life, we want to send them the right message. The life skills learned in youth sports are much more sustaining than the sports skills that they learn (although we care a lot about developing sports skills, too.) We believe that all youth lacrosse players need ample playing time during both practices and games to develop in a sport and to get the most enjoyment out of the game.
We follow a simple equation: Attitude + Effort + Attendance = Playing Time
Players who attend practice, show up on time, try hard and follow the Code of Conducts will receive ample playing time. Players who do not attend every practice, do not show up on time, do not try their hardest and do not show respect for coaches, officials, opponents, and teammates will not get as much playing time as teammates, regardless of skill or years in the program. Please discuss these points with your child.