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TEAM ELIGIBILITY: The National Homeschool Soccer Championship (NHSC) is open to any high school age varsity Boys or Girls homeschool soccer team throughout the USA. To qualify as a varsity team, the majority of a team’s interscholastic game schedule shall be comprised of contests with high school age varsity teams. Each homeschool soccer organization is limited to entering one (1) qualified varsity team each for both the Boys Championship and the Girls Championship.
ROSTER COMPOSITION: NHSC rosters shall be comprised of homeschool student athletes who are active members of their team or organization for the majority of their respective State’s 2023-2024 academic year primary soccer season. Teams competing in the NHSC outside of their State's primary soccer season may include student athletes on their roster who are expected to participate on that team in the next upcoming primary season and who otherwise meet student athlete eligibility rules. Student athletes may participate on only one team roster during the NHSC. Boys team rosters may include both boys and girls (Coed), while Girls team rosters shall include only girls (based on student athlete’s sex at birth). Rosters are limited to a maximum of 24 student athletes.
STUDENT ATHLETE AGE: Student athletes shall be no younger than 13 years old and no older than 19 years old through the final day of NHSC competition.
STUDENT ATHLETE HOMESCHOOL DESIGNATION: In order for student athletes to participate in NHSC competition, their education shall be based in their home, with curriculum, instruction, and graduation requirement decisions directed by their parents/guardians (allowable options include homeschool co-ops, state required private or umbrella schools, and dual credit college courses). [EXCEPTION: Each team is allowed two roster positions for student athletes whose homeschool designation is unclear or who attend a school that does not offer the sport of soccer.]
STUDENT ATHLETE GRADUATE STATUS: Student athletes who have formally graduated from high school or completed their entire high school course of study are no longer eligible to participate in the NHSC, regardless of age. Each student athlete is allowed a maximum of six years of eligibility for NHSC competition (Effective January 1, 2019).
Exceptions to any Eligibility requirement may be granted only with the express approval of the NHSC Board of Directors.
INSURANCE / MEDICAL RELEASE
TEAM INSURANCE: Each team shall have general liability insurance coverage for their team and student athletes with limits of not less than $1,000,000.00 per occurrence. Proof of insurance shall be provided if requested by the NHSC.
MEDICAL RELEASE: Each team shall maintain a signed medical release form for every member of their team (Athletic Director, Team Manager, Coaches, Team Physician/Trainer, Student Athletes, Student Managers, etc.) who participates in NHSC competition, and shall present these forms to NHSC staff, NHSC Athletic Trainers, and licensed healthcare providers upon request.
REGISTRATION FEES: Pre-registration fees are non-refundable. Teams or Students withdrawing from the NHSC prior to their respective registration deadlines will receive a refund of their registration fee minus any applicable pre-registration and processing fees. Refunds will no longer be offered after the respective Team or Student registration deadlines have occurred.
CANCELLATION OF NHSC: No refund is guaranteed if any or all of the NHSC is cancelled due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Any potential refund will be determined within 60 days of the NHSC once all invoices are paid and a final budget is approved by the NHSC Tournament Committee.
GOVERNING RULES & MODIFICATIONS
The NHSC employs National Federation High School (NFHS) rules, with the following modifications:
BALL HOLDERS: Each team is required to provide one ball holder for each of their scheduled games.
BENCH PERSONNEL: The maximum number of adult bench personnel allowed in the team bench area will be four (4). Adult bench personnel may include the Head Coach, Assistant Coach(es), Athletic Director, Team Manager, or Team Physician/Trainer. All adult bench personnel must be registered during the team registration process. Team Physicians or Athletic Trainers must also provide their active medical license credentials during team registration in order to be approved for evaluating Concussion or Sudden Cardiac Arrest clearance decisions. One (1) Student Manager (age 13-19) may also be allowed in the team bench area, and must be registered during student registration. All registered adult and student bench personnel must wear a current NHSC Pass to be permitted in the team bench area during NHSC competition.
CONCUSSION PROTOCOL: The NHSC has adopted the following policy based in part on the NFHS "Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussion in Sports."
- No student athlete may return to play in NHSC competition on the same day of a concussion.
- Any student athlete suspected of having a concussion must be evaluated the day the suspected concussion occurs by an approved NHSC Athletic Trainer or a licensed healthcare provider approved by the NHSC to determine if a concussion has occurred.
- Any student athlete with a confirmed concussion must receive medical clearance by a licensed healthcare provider approved by the NHSC prior to resuming participation in any NHSC competition.
- Proof of medical clearance shall be submitted to the NHSC prior to the student athlete returning to competition.
DISQUALIFIED TEAM MEMBERS: The NHSC has adopted the policy recommended by the NFHS whereby a team member (bench personnel or student) disqualified during a tournament contest under Rule 12.8.2&3 shall be barred from participating in their next tournament contest. The respective team is responsible for enforcing suspensions of disqualified team members. Disqualified team members who participate in their next tournament contest are considered ineligible, resulting in an automatic forfeiture of that contest.
DURATION OF GAMES: All games will employ 35 minute halves. Division I Gold Championship games may employ 40 minute halves if the tournament schedule allows.
FORFEITURES: A team forfeits their game if they arrive at their assigned field more than 20 minutes after the scheduled start time of their game, if they do not have the minimum number of players to start play within 20 minutes of the scheduled start time of their game, or if they use an ineligible player during competition. Voluntary forfeiture is not permitted. Teams that incur a forfeited game will be automatically relegated to the lowest seed in the lowest Championship playoff group, be automatically relegated to the lowest final playoff game regardless of the previous game’s outcome, and be ineligible for team awards.
PROTESTS: The NHSC does not recognize protests. All decisions by NHSC referees, the NHSC Tournament Committee, or the NHSC Tournament Director are final and may not be appealed.
SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST POLICY: Any student athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms, or conditions consistent with a sudden cardiac arrest such as fainting or seizures during exercise, unexplained shortness of breath, chest pains, dizziness, racing heart rate, or extreme fatigue, shall be immediately removed from play and shall not return to the practice or competition during which the student athlete experienced symptoms consistent with sudden cardiac arrest until evaluated by a licensed healthcare provider approved by the NHSC. Clearance for a full or graduated return of the student athlete to practice or play must by submitted to the NHSC in writing by the approved licensed healthcare professional.
Boys and Girls Championships will include the following features:
COED TEAMS: Coed teams shall participate in the Boys Championship.
PRE-TOURNAMENT SEEDING: Teams shall be ranked and seeded into pools based on their season record and the strength of the game schedule from their most recent season, as determined by the NHSC Seeding Formula. Winners of NHSC Affiliated State or Regional tournaments will be considered for automatic bids to the Boys or Girls Division I Championships.
DIVISIONS: Multiple divisions within either the Boys or Girls Championships may be employed based on the number of teams participating. Each division will be comprised of a maximum of twelve (12) teams and a minimum of six (6) teams (Division I may be allowed a maximum of sixteen (16) teams as determined by the Tournament Committee).
GAMES: Each team will be guaranteed four (4) games, weather permitting, with a maximum of no more than two (2) games played per day.
PLAYOFF SEEDING: Pool play results will be utilized to seed elimination playoff brackets. Pool winners will be determined by points accumulated during pool play.
POOL or ROUND ROBIN FORFEITED GAME SCORE: The score of a forfeited pool or round robin game shall be 3-0 in favor of the team winning by forfeit.
POOL or ROUND ROBIN SCORING SYSTEM:
- 3 points awarded for each win
- 1 point awarded for each tie
- 1 point awarded for each shutout (including 0-0)
- 1 point awarded for each goal scored (up to 3 goals)
POOL PLAY TIE BREAKER SYSTEM: In the event of a tie within a pool, the following criteria will be used (in the order listed) to determine the winner:
- Head to head competition
- Cumulative goal differential (maximum 3 goals per game)
- Fewest goals allowed
- Most goals scored (maximum 3 per game)
- Modified NFHS Tie Game Procedure (penalty kick procedure only)
[The penalty kick shootout will be scheduled one hour prior to start time of the affected playoff game(s).]
CROSS POOL TIE BREAKER SYSTEM: In the event of a tie where cross-pool ranking is required, criteria #2 - #5 above will be used to break the tie.
PLAYOFF GROUP SEEDING TIE BREAKER SYSTEM: In the event of a tie to determine seeding positions within a playoff group, criteria #2 - #4 above will be used, with any further tie decided by pre-tournament seeding.
SUB-DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF: Championship divisions with multiple pools will be subdivided into 2-4 elimination playoff groups. First place pool teams will compete in a "Gold" playoff group, second place pool teams will compete in a "Silver" playoff group, third place pool teams will compete in a "Bronze" playoff group, etc.
PLAYOFF TIE GAME PROCEDURE: [See RULES OF THE GAME - TIE GAMES above]
TEAM AWARDS: First place teams in each playoff group will be presented with awards for both the team and team members. Secondary team awards will be presented using a pre-determined formula based on the number of entries in each division or playoff group.
SPORTSMANSHIP AWARDS: One team sportsmanship award will be presented in each Championship division.
ALL-STAR AWARDS: All-Star awards will be presented in each Championship division, with the All-Stars selected from a pool of nominees submitted by each team.
SCHEDULE CHANGES & MODIFICATIONS
LIGHTNING OR THUNDER DISTURBANCES: NFHS lightning guidelines will be used when thunder is heard or lightning is seen by game or tournament officials. Participants will be asked to take shelter in a building, car, or bus, and the game will be suspended for at least 30 minutes.
SAFETY & TIME CONDITIONS: In the event of inclement weather, unsafe playing conditions, or any unexpected time constraints, the NHSC Tournament Director or Tournament Committee will have the authority to:
- Relocate or reschedule any game
- Change the duration of any game
- Cancel any preliminary game or reduce the number of scheduled games
- Determine an appropriate format for advancement of the playoff schedule
SUSPENDED GAMES: If a game is delayed or suspended prior to completion of the first half of play, every effort will be made to reschedule the game if it has a direct bearing on advancement within the tournament. Suspended games will restart with the same score and time remaining.
CANCELLED GAMES: Any game terminated after the first half of play has been completed will be considered an official game and will retain its score at the time of cancellation.