Player Development Academy - Fall 2024 General Information and FAQ's

Age Groupings:

Boys & Girls 2024/2025 Academy Age Groups

Age 7U - Birth Year = 2018
Age 8U - Birth Year = 2017
Age 9U - Birth Year = 2016

7U, 8U, 9U - Shin guards, cleats, socks, size 4 soccer ball, water bottle, ESA Nike Uniform kit to be purchased prior to season.

Who should register for the Academy?

Players that have prior soccer experience and are looking for a more competitive environment to develop their skills.  Our Academy teams include players that have shown a strong commitment to the game of soccer and always come to practice ready to learn.

What is the difference between Recreational soccer and Academy soccer?

Recreational soccer is primarily focused on having fun with a very limited commitment. The Academy is the transition to competitive soccer and prepares players for that transition.  Higher expectations and a competitive environment are all included in this program.  Players are expected to commit to playing in the fall and spring seasons.  Teams may also engage in some optional winter play.

What is the cost to play academy soccer?

The registration fee is $150 for the season. The deadline for the fall season is June 30th. The deadline for the spring season is February 15th. Registrations after the deadlines incur late fees.  Uniforms are an additional cost.

Are there any multiple sibling discounts?

Our programs are already offered at a discounted price due to the many generous sponsors in the Enfield area that help subsidize the costs.  Some of the surrounding town soccer organizations within Connecticut are currently charging around $200 a season for their recreational programs and $300 for their academy/competitive/high school programs.  We do want to help, though.  If a family has 3 or more children enrolled within our recreational/academy/competitive/high school programs, we will refund $30 back to the family.  We wish we could do more, but it’s the best we can do with our current fee structure.  For the $30 refund, a request needs to be made to our Registrar via email at  The refund will be applied after the full registration fee has been received.

Why are late fees charged when the season doesn’t begin until weeks later?

A lot of preparation and planning goes into planning a successful season.  We rely on several individuals who work year-round.  We have to submit our teams into leagues well before the season begins.  Our late fees are used to motivate parents to register timely as we cannot create additional teams after the league deadlines.

What is ESA’s refund policy?
  • Before the fall registration deadline of June 30th or the spring registration deadline of February 15th  – 100% refund allowed
  • After the registration deadline but before the first practice. – 50% refund allowed
  • Once practices begin, no refunds will be allowed.
  • Players who register late and cannot be placed on teams will receive a 100% refund of the $150 registration fee but will forfeit the late fee as an administrative fee.  The registration fee can also be rolled over to the next season.
Are there any special requirements at the time of registration?

Parents must upload a current color picture of their child during registration.  If your child has never played academy or competitive soccer, you must also upload your child's birth certificate. Our registration system will show if you need to upload one or not.  A picture and birth certificate are requirements of the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association (CJSA).

Are there tryouts for the Academy teams?

No.  Players should have prior soccer experience before joining the Academy.

How are coaches selected?

Each seasonal year (fall/spring), individuals apply to be head coaches for a one-year term.  The head coaches are then elected by our ESA Coaching Directors with approval from the President.  Most head coaches are volunteers who invest a considerable amount of time and effort into their teams.  Head Coaches are expected to attend regular coaches training offered by ESA as well as national licensing courses.  Head Coaches select their assistant coaches and team managers.  The ESA Director of Coaching oversees all coaches.

When does the season begin?

For the fall, the academy season begins in early September and concludes in mid-November. For the spring, the academy season begins in early April and concludes in mid-June.

When do teams practice?

Academy teams practice twice per week in the evenings. 

Can I request a certain practice day?

The coaches set practice days at the academy age groups, considering field availability.

When are the games?

Games are typically played on Saturdays and Sundays.  There is also a potential for a couple of weeknight games each season.

How much playing time should my child expect?

Committed academy players can expect to get at least 50% play time during games.  The amount of playing time received by a player is based on several factors.  Our coaches have team meetings at the beginning of each season and can address this subject more in-depth before the season begins.

Can my child play academy soccer and other sports at the same time?

Yes!  If players wish to play other sports in addition to academy soccer, they can.  Many children will play two sports during the same season.  However, players who wish to play at a more competitive soccer level should seriously consider their interest in playing other sports during the soccer season. 

Can my child play academy soccer and recreational soccer at the same time?

No.  Just because a player is offered more playing time with a recreational team doesn’t make it a good thing.  Players can learn bad habits, and the teachings offered to different levels of play often vary significantly.