What is Premier Soccer?
The state Premier league was established to provide the most skilled and committed soccer player with a truly intensive experience of practice and play. Most Premier teams have two or three practices weekly. Premier play requires a year round commitment to play soccer. Premier teams play in a state-wide league administered by the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association ("CJSA"), which places Premier teams in one of three divisions based on wins in the previous year. In addition, a Premier team may play in regional leagues and travel throughout New England. Premier teams often play in competitive tournaments throughout New England and the eastern seaboard.
Premier teams currently start at U-11 (U12 is more traditional) and continue though U-19. The age divisions are the same as in Travel. Teams are sponsored either by "Premier clubs", which are commercial businesses entirely focused on this level of play or by "town clubs", which are primarily Travel and Town League-oriented. Whereas, Travel team players primarily come from one town, Premier teams typically recruit from many towns.
Just like Travel, Premier has a fall and spring season, but most Premier teams also require a commitment to indoor winter practices and tournaments. Premier teams usually do not guarantee minimum playing time for each player. At U-15 and above, Premier play, like Travel, succumbs in the fall to the CIAC prohibition against club play during the high school soccer season; so older premier teams only play together in the winter and spring. CJSA rules leaves it up to each town club to determine whether to permit a child to play on its Travel team as well as on a Premier team. ERU permits Premier players to also play with their travel teams.
Try-outs for premier league teams are held in June or July each year. The tryouts are open; any player (including a player from out-of-state) may try out for as many teams as he/she wishes.
Most premier clubs sponsor “developmental teams” starting at U-9. This permits clubs to both start high level training at an early age and to begin recruiting for their eventual premier teams. (There's a lot of competition for the best players among premier clubs!) These “developmental teams” are usually structured and scheduled to serve as supplements to Travel team programs, rather than as alternative or conflicting programs (for example, their "friendly" games are typically on Saturdays).
ER UNITED STANCE ON PREMIER
The ERU Soccer Club's policy is to support each child playing at the highest level to which he or she wishes to aspire. Although "losing" a good player to Premier may "hurt" a Travel team, Premier permits some players to achieve a level of skill and experience that the Club cannot otherwise provide. When Premier players enter high school, they normally form the core of a successful program and can motivate their teammates to reach higher levels of play. Premier can also prepare a player for induction into the CJSA's Olympic Development Program and eventually college soccer.