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      ELIGIBILITY

      TEAM ELIGIBILITY: The National Homeschool Soccer Championship (NHSC) is open to any high school age varsity level Boys or Girls homeschool team throughout the USA. To qualify as a varsity level team, the majority of a team’s regular season game opponents must also be high school varsity level teams. If there is any uncertainty about the competitive level of a team wishing to register for the NHSC, the homeschool soccer club may submit detailed information to NHSC Registration Staff for review of the team in question. The NHSC reserves the right to limit the number of registered teams from any homeschool soccer club.

      ROSTER COMPOSITION: NHSC rosters must be comprised of homeschool players who are active members of their team or club for the majority of their respective State’s 2022-2023 academic year primary soccer season. Teams competing in the NHSC outside of their State's primary soccer season may include players on their roster who are expected to participate on that team in the next upcoming primary season and who otherwise meet player eligibility rules. Players may participate on only one team roster during the NHSC. Boys team rosters may include both boys and girls (Coed), while Girls team rosters may include only girls (based on student athlete’s sex at birth). Rosters are limited to a maximum of 24 players.

      PLAYER AGE: Players shall be no younger than 13 years old and no older than 19 years old through the final day of NHSC competition.

      PLAYER HOMESCHOOL DESIGNATION: Players shall be homeschool students, with the majority of their education managed by their parents/guardians. [EXCEPTION: Each team is allowed two roster positions for players whose homeschool designation is unclear or who attend a school that does not offer the sport of soccer.]

      PLAYER GRADUATE STATUS: Players 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 player is allowed a maximum of six years of eligibility for NHSC competition (Effective January 1, 2019).

      Exceptions to any Eligibility requirement (excluding Player Age) 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 players 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 have in their possession a signed medical release form for every member of their team (Team Rep, Coach, Player, Student Manager, etc.) who participates in the NHSC.

      REFUNDS

      REGISTRATION FEES: Teams that withdraw from the NHSC prior to the registration deadline will receive a refund of their registration fee (minus any applicable pre-registration or processing fees). Teams that withdraw from the NHSC after the registration deadline will receive a refund only if a replacement team is registered in their place. Pre-registration fees are not refundable.

      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."

      1. No athlete may return to play in NHSC competition on the same day of a concussion.
      2. Any 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.
      3. Any 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.
      4. Proof of medical clearance shall be submitted to the NHSC prior to the athlete returning to competition.

      DISQUALIFIED TEAM MEMBERS: The NHSC has adopted the policy recommended by the NFHS whereby a team member disqualified under Rule 12.8.2-4 shall be barred from participating in the next 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. Teams that incur a forfeited game will be automatically placed as the lowest seed in the lowest Championship playoff group, be automatically placed in 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.

      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.

      TOURNAMENT FORMAT

      Boys and Girls Championships will include the following features:

      COED TEAMS: Coed teams will participate in the Boys Championship.

      PRE-TOURNAMENT SEEDING: Teams will 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 State or Regional tournaments that meet the qualifications of the NHSC Tournament Committee may 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 teams and a minimum of four teams.

      GAMES: Each team will be guaranteed 4 games, weather permitting, with a goal of no more than two games played per day.

      PLAYOFF SEEDING: Pool play results will be utilized to seed elimination playoff brackets. Championships comprised of only one pool will employ a round-robin system. 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:

      1. Head to head competition
      2. Cumulative goal differential (maximum 3 goals per game)
      3. Fewest goals allowed
      4. Most goals scored (maximum 3 per game)
      5. Modified NFHS Tie Game Procedure (penalty kick procedure only)
        [The penalty kick shootout will be scheduled 45 minutes prior to start time of the affected playoff game.]

      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 being determined 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]

      AWARDS

      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 based on the number of entries in each division or playoff group.

      SPORTSMANSHIP AWARDS: One team sportsmanship award will be presented for 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: The NHFS lightning guideline will be used when lightning is witnessed by game or tournament officials within close proximity to tournament facilities. Participants will be asked to take shelter and the game will be suspended as per NFHS guidelines.

      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.

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