The IMG Academy Top 150 Rankings for boys in the 2013 graduating class is out today. Some of the players have already signed professional contracts, most will be signing National Letters of Intent in just a couple of weeks, but almost all are deeply in the midst of their last season in the Development Academy.
There have been some standout performances in the Academy since our last update, most notably by New York Red Bulls defender Matthew Miazga, who debuts at #58 on our list. Miazga had a busy fall, getting called up to the U.S. U18 Men’s National Team camp in November, followed by a performance on the Development Academy Select Team just days later.
Also new to the list are DC United striker Nigel Robinson at #89, Houston Dynamo forward Carlos Ibarra at #97, and Santa Barbara SC defender/midfielder Joshua Yaro at #126. Robinson, a verbal commitment to Maryland, received multiple recommendations to be added to the list. Ibarra has spent time with the Houston Dynamo Reserves and was chosen for the Development Academy Select Team at the Academy Showcase in Sarasota last month. And Yaro is a product of Ghana’s Right to Dream Academy, and will play at Georgetown in the fall.
Three players previously on our list who have had outstanding senior seasons thus far are Seattle Sounder striker Jordan Morris, Baltimore Bays midfielder Jacori Hayes, and South Carolina United Battery forward James Carlin. Morris climbs 40 spots to #86, having scored 13 goals at the midway point of the season, and is committed to play for Stanford in the fall. Hayes, a Wake Forest commitment, climbs to #100 and is the midfield leader for the Bays this season, who are currently in 2nd place in the Atlantic Division. Carlin, a South Carolina commitment, is at #111 and has scored 9 goals in 9 games after recovering from an injury earlier in the season.
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.