The Novato Nighthawks Lacrosse Club (NLC) is a non-profit group of parents and participants organized to provide coaching, facilities, scheduling and playing opportunity for the youth of the North Bay Area of California to participate in the sport of lacr

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When is the Fall Ball season?

The Novato Lacrosse Club (“NLC”) runs two program each year.  The "Fall Ball" clinics consist of Saturday or Sunday sessions in November through December of each year which provide the opportunity for new players to come out and try the sport without making any financial commitment or needing to purchase any gear (daily drop-in charges apply).  Returning players also participate in the Fall Ball program to practice and prepare for the upcoming season.  Sessions include skills and scrimmages for all boys and girls age groups.

The NLC typically runs five sessions with the final sessions being used as evaluations for players registering for the Spring League (see below).

What is the Spring League?

The main season for lacrosse is in the spring.  Depending on the age group and number of players, there will be 1-3 teams at each age group (no more than 20 players each) which will be selected based on player assessments in December (during Fall Ball).

Practices typically start in early February with games beginning in early March and running through May.  Practices are held 2-3 times per week at one of the three middle-school fields (Sinaloa, Hill or San Jose) and typically run 90-120 minutes.

Games are held on weekends and include both home field (San Marin HS Turf) as well as surrounding lacrosse clubs in the North Bay with games also between San Francisco and East Bay programs.  Each game is approximately one hour and games are held on Saturdays and Sundays during the season.  Schedules typically include 12-15 games over the course of the season.

What are the costs of playing lacrosse?

For the 2016 season, NLC dues are based on the age group of your child. Please see 2016 registration information for more information.  The range is $250-$450 based on age.  Dues cover uniform use, fields, referees, equipment, league fees and other operational costs.  Costs are also covered by fundraising and events held by the NLC over the course of the season.

What is the playing time philosophy?

The main goal of Novato Lacrosse Club (“NLC”) is to grow the sport of lacrosse in the North Bay Area of San Francisco. We accept all players regardless of experience subject to team roster availability.  Registration guarantees your player a spot on a team (we do not make cuts although the players assessment will provide the mechanism for team selection).

For "A" level teams, player participation will be based on athletic ability, their commitment to learn the sport, practice attendance and general attitude. We play to win and make our best efforts to play everyone in accordance with Positive Coaching Alliance.

For "B" level teams, coaches are encouraged to engage all players throughout each practice and game and give each player as equal opportunity as possible (60/40 rule)

Who do I contact if I have a question, comment or complaint?

If it is specific to your player's team, we urge you to contact the coach or assistant coach(es). They provide contact information at the beginning of the season. If it is specific to the Club, or you feel a team issue needs to be addressed by the Board, you can email Jinah Conroy at  communications and the email will be forwarded to the appropriate Board Member.

Why do players have to join US Lacrosse?

It is a requirement in order for us to maintain our insurance coverage. US Lacrosse provides insurance riders to our club for practices and games at the facilities we use. There are other player benefits as well. Information is available at  Annual membership in US Lacrosse is $25 for players and is required as part of the NLC registration process.

What is Concussion testing, why do we do it and is it mandatory?

Every year all Novato Lacrosse players 10 years and older are recommended to get concussion testing.  Testing times and availability will be emailed to you at the appropriate times.  The cost is $20 per athlete and we strongly recommend that you do it every year.  The test takes about an hour and doesn't require any preparation.  

How can we find out about the sport without joining the team or buying equipment?

NLC runs a Fall Ball Clinic starting early November through December for new and returning players where players can come out and get a feel for the sport over the course of six weeks. The NLC has limited equipment available for new players to borrow during the Fall Ball sessions.

Where can you get equipment and how much does it cost?

Local stores include Sling It! on 4th Street in downtown San Rafael and Sports Authority at Vintage Oaks. Most major sports stores carry lacrosse equipment or you can also buy it online (not recommended for helmets).

For boys: stick, helmet, arm and shoulder pads, athletic cup, mouth guard and gloves (rib pads optional). Prices vary but starter packages are available for approximately $200.

For girls: stick, mouth guard and protective eye goggles. Prices vary, but starter packages are available for approximately $85.

Remember, there is a difference between a girl’s and boy’s stick. Soccer shoes are ok, baseball cleats are not allowed.

How long is the season?

Lacrosse is a spring sport with practices beginning in February, games in March with playoffs in mid-late May. Practices vary by club and team level. Games are Saturdays and some Sundays at sites throughout the greater Bay Area. It is also an all-weather sport meaning rain doesn't stop play (unless fields are closed by local park and recreation departments or if safety is an issue).

Is there a difference between the boys’ and girls’ games?

Yes! Not only do the rules differ, but the equipment does too. Perhaps one of the biggest differences is that boys’ is considered a contact sport (checking allowed) and girls’ is not. and have rules and general game information.

How many players do you need for a team?

All teams will roster approximately 16-20 players depending on the age group. There are 10 players on the field for boys and 12 for girls.

Lacrosse is a contact sport. How safe is it?

The NLC is committed to maintaining the safety of the players above all else. Contact is limited by rule at the youth level. If a parent or player has any concern about this, they should not hesitate to let us know. Lacrosse ranked sixth behind men’s soccer, football, wrestling, men’s ice hockey and women’s soccer in average game injury rate and injury severity, according to the NCAA Injury Surveillance System.

Is there contact?

Boys lacrosse is a contact sport. Girls lacrosse is not a contact sport. Contact is limited depending on age group. For the U11 division, there will be no intentional contact. U13 will be allowed limited checking, and U15 will follow US Lacrosse rules.

What about checking?

That depends on your age level and gender. Take-out checks at any level are illegal and can get a player expelled from a game and/or the league. For NCJLA the following apply: 

  Stick Body
U12 and U14 Yes Yes
U10 Yes Low
U8 Yes No
U12 and U14 Yes No
U8 and U10 No No