Homeschooled athletes join Minnehaha Academy teams to play sports
After making it all the way to the section semi-final this year, the boysâ€™ soccer team will need all the help they can get next year to keep improving. They will lose 8 seniors, 6 of which were starters. Junior goalie Justice Goben, the teamâ€™s back-to-back most valuable player, will keep protecting the goal for his team.
Many students donâ€™t recognize him because they donâ€™t see him very often. This is because Goben does not attend Minnehaha but is rather home-schooled.
The high school competition was totally new for Goben when he joined the team back in his sophomore year of high school.
â€œItâ€™s been amazing time so far. Everyone has made me feel like Iâ€™m apart of Minnehaha Academy even though I donâ€™t even go to the school and itâ€™s been a blessing to be apart of this team,â€ he said.
You might be thinking about how a homeschooled kid would know when and where to join a school to play sports. Goben heard about Minnehahaâ€™s need of a goalie through a friend.
â€œI got involved with the soccer team by junior Drew Carlson. He was on my Eagan Wave club team and he was the one who introduced me to the coach and athletic director Josh Thurow,â€ said Goben.
In order to play for Minnehaha Academy, The Goben Family Academy had to register with the state high school league as a legitimate school, just like Minnehaha Academy.
â€œThey have to pay a certain amount of money to be apart of the Minnesota state high school league,â€ said athletic director Josh Thurow. “Once theyâ€™ve done that the Goben Family Academy is the same as St. Agnes who we have co-opd with in boysâ€™ lacrosse. From there we have to apply to allow them in our co-op.â€
Goben has played many positions in his soccer career, but his favorites are goalkeeper and midfielder. He is being looked at by a number of colleges and so far has been contacted by Marquette, Western Michigan and Louisville to come tour their college and participate in their camps.
This previous season, the team made it all the section semi-final game. Coming into sections they were the 11 seed but ended up beating the six seed St. Paul Academy by a score of 2-1 in the play-in game and defeated the three seed Cristo Rey 2-1 in the quarter finals.
Another sport that has homeschooled athletes on their roster is the SMB Wolfpack. Just like in boysâ€™ soccer, even just one player that is homeschooled can make a big difference for the team. The SMB Wolfpack has two homeschooled athletes, offensive lineman Isaac Reed and defensive lineman Aiden Lowery.
â€œThey work hard, are a lot of fun, fit in well and were awesome parts of the SMB Wolfpack this year,â€ said head coach Collin Quinn.
Surprisingly, the Minnesota State High School League does not track the number of homeschooled athletes that participate in sports in Minnesota. If a homeschooled student decides to come to the school that they have been co-oped with for a certain sport, they would be allowed to play that sport their first year at the new school at the varsity level. On the other hand, they would be considered a transfer if they were to join another sport that they had not been playing with the school originally in the co-op.