The IMG Academy 150 Rankings winter update is out today for girls in the 2016 graduating class. With preparations for the 2014 World Cup underway, the 2016s have been busy, attending two U.S. Youth National Team camps for the U17 age group and one for the U15 age group in the last 6 weeks alone. Couple that with ODP region team trips, id2 camps, pdp camps, and U.S. Soccer Training Center invitations, and some of these players will barely have time to play for their respective clubs in the coming months.
The top four of #1 Marley Canales, #2 Mia Gyau, #3 Jennifer Westendorf, #4 Zoe Redei continue to impress U.S. Youth National Team staff, and remain unchanged for this update. But, solid performances at recent camps helped two goalkeepers, among others, break into the top 25. So Cal Blues’ Katherine Hess debuts at #16 after making key saves in the U.S. U17 WNT scrimmage against Germany in January, and Concorde Fire’s Mikayla Krzeczowski climbs from #34 to #24 after performing well at the ODP Interregional in November, then impressing once more at U.S. U15 GNT camp in February.
Our scouts have been busy, and as a result, more than a few players have made the list for the first time. Among those are Santa Rosa United midfielder Taylor Ziemer at #81, PDA defender Allison Russo at #103, Colorado Storm center back Kristin Barbour at #135, Texas Rush forward Cienna Arrieta at #141, and Birmingham United midfielder Caroline Moffitt at #150.
Not only has the IMG Top 150 received scrutiny, but the regional lists have been updated as well. Keep checking back this week as we unveil newcomers such as St. Louis Scott Gallagher midfielder Sarah Luebbert, McLean Youth Soccer midfielder Carson Nizialek, San Juan SC defender Jordan Holt, Washington Premier FC forward Alea Acosta, and many, many more.
As far as how we arrive at the rankings, it’s no simple task.
We keep a national database of players as the starting point for our rankings (if you’re not in it, enter a profile here).
We track an extensive list of selections to national team camps and other honors including USSF Development Academy (Boys), ECNL (Girls), and U.S. Youth Soccer National League event and season awards, plus U.S. Soccer Training Centers, ODP, id2 and other player identification programs.
From there we look at additional signs of top player performance in a club environment, with the help of an extensive network of observers around the country. The priority here is for club, college, national team and other select team coaches on the ground, but especially when we can gain corroborating opinions. The more layers of opinions we can gain accumulate the better, as our role is primarily to aggregate those viewpoints, rather than making our own determination as to a player’s quality.
As a matter of policy, we never share which coaches said what about whom so that coaches will be freer to share their assessments. Another policy is that parents’ opinions about their own children are not considered, but you are welcome to provide feedback about honors and other details that may be of help to us in keeping their profiles up to date as well as our challenge of sifting through thousands of players nationwide. That kind of data can be helpful, but the: “How can you not have rated my kid? He is awesome” communique, while compelling, will be consigned to the virtual trash.
In the end, there’s always some level of subjectivity about players, because after all, how good someone is relative to someone else is largely a matter of opinion, but we do our best to make our rankings as educated an opinion as can be.
The rankings will be updated every quarter. Keeping current rankings for 8 classes of 150 players each is no small task, and it is counterintuitive to think the rankings would change daily or weekly. We will announce each update.
So that’s it. You can see the newest version of the rankings here.