As part of our expanded Players To Watch section, today we continue unveiling our regional rankings for 2015 Boys. Today we focus on the central part of the country, with lists from the Midwest, Heartland, Great Lakes and Mid Atlantic regions.
These are four of our 16 regions, and by the end of the week we will release all 16 for this age group. As we move forward with our summer update of National Top 150 (our 2015 Boys national list was released Monday) player rankings over the next several weeks, we’ll examine each age group more closely via these regional lists. This is just one installment. We’ll have regional lists every Tuesday through Friday of weeks when we introduce a national list on Monday. We’ll also be expanding these regional lists to recognize more and more players as we continue scouring the countryside to find the top soccer talent.
Among the top-ranked players today are (by region): Peter Schropp of Omaha FC and the U15 Boys National Team (Heartland), Mukwelle Akale of Minnesota Thunder and the U17 MNT (Midwest), Rece Buckmaster of Indiana United Fire (Great Lakes) and Arsenal FC target Gedion Zelalem of Olney Boys and Girls Club (Mid Atlantic).
Next week, we will release the national and regional lists for 2015 Girls.
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). 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, especially college club and other coaches on the ground (recruiting interest shown is a major factor). As a matter of policy, we never share which coaches said what about whom. 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 and sifting through thousands of players nationwide
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.