Eligibility Requirements for Participation on
Panthers Competitive Teams
Note: These requirements apply to competitive teams. Any training sessions, drop in sessions, or summer conditioning events are open to any athletes as long as they are the appropriate age. The following requirements are most important for our high school teams, and because we generally expect that our grade school athletes will matriculate to our high school teams, we consider similar requirements for grade school teams to be expedient; however, there may be some extra leeway for exceptions on grade school teams.
East Michigan Panthers adopts their eligibility guidelines for ages and educational status from the State and National Tournaments in which we participate. Because we will need to qualify for these events, our minimum requirements default to their minimum requirements. While we theoretically could ease rules here and there for the regular season, it would be disruptive at the end of season when certain athletes would be disqualified for play in major tournaments. Therefore, we stick to the eligibility required by the tournaments we attend.
Please read on to see if your son or daughter qualifies for our teams. It's important to note that there are two roster spots per team (JV and Varsity) for athletes who attend a school which does not offer soccer. Also, if your son or daughter takes some classes at a local college, it may be possible to qualify.
What are the minimum requirements for playing for the Panthers Team?
The minimum requirements for Panthers players is "51%" homeschooled.
What does it mean to be "51%" homeschooled?
How can a person measure "51%" as it pertains to school classes? Obviously, unless you are taking 100 classes, 51% is simply a way to indicate "majority homeschooled." This means that you have more classes or credits at home or managed from home than you do classes taken elsewhere - at a brick and mortar school or community college.
What types of classes count as "homeschool" classes?
Please read through the guidelines set down by the organizers of the Michigan State Cup/Midwest Regional Tournaments (below). This gives a good idea what can count and what doesn't.
Can I be a 5th year senior and play?
Yes, as long as you are continuing on with some high school level classes. The rules state that you can not have graduated from high school level education AND you must fulfill the age requirements (see below). So any amount of continuing your education, including dual enroll classes would count. Classes that are college level classes not at all pertaining to your high school education would not count.
Can I go ahead and take part in a graduation ceremony with friends if I am going on as a 5th year senior?
Simply taking part in a graduation ceremony does not disqualify you if you are doing so to graduate with friends or if you are doing so because you will graduate in December and no ceremonies take place at that time. It can be confusing so it shouldn't be the norm, obviously. But some students will opt to participate in a graduation ceremony for personal reasons before they are fully done with high school level education. Your intent to continue high school level education should be made clear to Panthers administrators to avoid any confusion or appearance of impropriety.
How old do I have to be to play on the Junior High Team?
Generally speaking, Junior High encompasses 5th through 8th grade. More skilled 8th graders may have the opportunity to move to Junior Varsity. If numbers are high, we may prioritize older children for the roster.
When am I too old to participate on a Panthers Team?
The age rules are different for the Michigan Tournaments than they are for the National Tournament. For the State Cup and Midwest Regional Tournaments, you must be no older than 18 through the last day of the tournaments.
For the National Tournament, you can be no older than 19 through the final day of the tournament.
Therefore, we default to the younger age, which is no older than 18 through final day of tournament.
Are there ever any exceptions to the rules?
Yes, for various circumstances that we would deem to be valid, we can request a waiver for an exception to the rules for a particular athlete. This determination would be made by the organizers of the State and National Tournaments.
Where can I read the rules of eligiblity for the Michigan State Cup/Midwest Regional Tournaments and for the National Homeschool Soccer Tournament?
You can read them HERE (below).
State Cup (Men's) and Midwest Regional (Women's) Eligibility Rules:
Participant must be homeschooled more than 51% of their classes for the academic year they are playing soccer. Participant must maintain pursuit of their education and the majority of their educational effort must be directed toward home school instruction with a minimum of one subject area not including extracurricular athletic endeavors.
Players shall be homeschooled students, with the majority of their education managed by their parents/guardians. They shall be taught at home by an older (18 or older) sibling or taught at home, or someone else’s home, by another homeschool parent or tutor, provided that it is done under the direction and supervision of the child’s parent or taught at a central location for particular subjects by a homeschool parent or tutor or correspondence or online high school course(s).
Homeschooled does not mean college classes taken at a University or College or Community College or Vocational/Technical classes taken outside the home; or classes taken at a Private, Christian or Public School.
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. This must be notated to the tournament director.
Other Criteria: Player must be a live-in dependent of one of their parents (or legal guardians). Player must NOT be employed full-time (40 hours per week). Player must NOT have graduated from High School level education. Player must NOT have been expelled from public or private school during the school year of the current sports season. Player must NOT be enrolled in a public or private school that has a soccer team. Player shall be no younger than 13 years old and no older than 18 years old through the final day of the tournament.