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The 2014 Girls IMG Academy Top 150 Rankings fall update is out today. The top five remain unchanged with this update, and #1 Andi Sullivan continues to set the pace for this age group. The Stanford commit is currently competing with McLean Youth Soccer’s U18s in the ECNL, instead of her usual Bethesda SC, in between camps with the U20 and U18 national teams. Bethesda SC Ellis Pierre said that it was important she continue to compete at a high level while his team was on hiatus for high school soccer. It’s no doubt McLean is happy to help her along, as she has led the team to an undefeated 4-0-1 record at the midway point of the fall season.
Moving up the ranks of the IMG Academy 150 are a couple of players who have been getting a look from US Soccer, and a couple who have received multiple recommendations from our scouts, most notably Texas Rush defender and TCU commit Michaela Abam, Colorado Rush midfielder and Georgia commit Rebecca Rasmussen, Sporting Blue Valley center back and Vanderbilt commit Cristina DeZeeuw, and Pleasanton Rage goalkeeper Alexandra Nicholas, who is headed to Notre Dame(w). Click here to see where they are ranked.
There are several players getting a first ranking late in their youth careers. Gretna SC defender/midfielder Megan McCashland, Sporting Blue Valley forward Allie Hess, and Penn Fusion forward Haleigh Echard debut on our list at #51, #71, #92, respectively. McCashland, who will head to Notre Dame(w) next fall, is a discovery player for FC Dallas this year, making the 600+ mile commute to Plano from Lincoln, Nebraska for matches in the ECNL. McCashland also attended US U18 WNT camp in August. Hess was injured for much of the last year, but is finally healthy and leading her team to the top of the ECNL Heartland Division as well as the #6 spot in the Grande TeamRank standings. Finally, Echard has received recent call-ups for the U18s, and will head to Penn State(w) in 2014.
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 Maryland United forward Sheridan Street, Match Fit Academy midfielder Kelsey Burke, Pac Northwest SC forward Natalie Vukic, and 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.