The final update for the Class of 2015 Boys is in the books, and a few players took this opportunity to show us that they deserve a mention as we close out this class before college signing day February 4.
The top 20 have all made their mark, either internationally, as an MLS homegrown signee, or with a verbal commitment to a top college program, but six players have put an exclamation point on their high school careers in the last several months. Sean Dedrick, Alessandro Campoy, Ryan Clark, and Edward Opoku all debut in the IMG Academy 150, while Sean Dedrick and Eryk Williamson make significant moves up the ranks.
Williamson moved from club side Arlington Soccer Association to join DC United’s Development Academy system this past summer, and has thrived under the watchful eye of Coach Tom Torres. He debuted in our rankings in the fall at No. 104, but his 10-goal performance in league play (leads the team), and his inclusion in two U18 MNT camps during the fall including the tournament in Spain lifts his ranking to No. 55. He's also been invited to join United's first team at preseason training this January. Sierakowski made his verbal commitment to Michigan State over a year ago as a top goal scorer with Sockers FC Development Academy side. He has spent this season with Chicago Fire, earning a Best XI nod by our staff at the Academy Showcase as well as an invitation to the U18 MNT, and raises his ranking from No. 113 to No. 70.
Dedrick, a midfielder/defender from Beachside SC’s Development Academy, earned his first youth national team call-up with the U-18s in October and made the most of the opportunity, being touted as one of the best at the camp. Dedrick will follow his brother Kyle to Notre Dame next year, and debuts at No. 49. Campoy, a midfielder from Weston FC, is a former member of the U17 Haiti National Team, and like Dedrick was one of the top players at camp in October, earning the No. 77 spot in our rankings as a result.
Opoku, at No. 147, proves that the Development Academy isn’t the only route to success, having spent his years playing with Millbrook School and as part of the Right to Dream Academy. He earned a spot in the High School All-American game in December and caught the eye of the Virginia coaching staff, where he recently made his verbal commitment. Finally, Clark at No. 148, a goalkeeper from Indiana Fire, has had a break out year, earning praise for his shot-stopping ability at the Academy Showcase, even in a loss to New York Red Bulls, and has committed to Butler.
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.