The 2015 girls IMG Academy 150 Rankings summer update is out today and Katherine Cousins remains No. 1. Cousins, when not on youth national team duty, will get to play her senior season in the ECNL for newly formed Richmond United, a merger of her Richmond Kickers SC with Richmond Strikers at the ECNL and USSDA levels.
Taylor Racioppi and Kaleigh Riehl both missed competing for a national championship this summer, Racioppi with PDA at the ECNL finals and Riehl with Braddock Road YC at US Youth nationals. The two U.S. U20 Women’s National Team members instead spent their July in preparation for the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup. Although their teams suffered without their play, their rankings did not, Racioppi climbing one spot to the No. 2 player in the country. and Riehl moving into the top 10 at No. 10. Joining them on the U20 WNT World Cup roster is former No. 29 Rose Chandler, who decided to forego her senior year of high school to enter Penn State a year early, and will be added to the TopDrawerSoccer.com college rankings pool later in the fall.
Other players making significant moves up the rankings with this update include GSA midfielder Brittney Bennett, Dallas Sting forward Mimi Asom, and Connecticut FC forward/midfielder Elena Santos. Bennett, a midfielder whose verbal commitment is to the University of Florida, had a goal and an assist to help her GSA Phoenix 97 squad to a berth in the ECNL finals. She climbs from No. 76 to No. 57. Stanford verbal Asom led her Sting U17s in scoring during the regular season and during the ECNL finals, helping her squad to an ECNL national championship, and continues her climb up the rankings, landing at No. 72. And Santos, a verbal commitment to Fairfield, climbs from No. 150 to No. 140 after an exceptional summer league season as a starter for the CFC Passion in the WPSL.
New to the rankings this time around include Matchfit Academy midfielder Hana Kerner, Indiana Fire Juniors forward Cassidy Blacha, and Penn Fusion forward Charlotte Williams. Kerner, at No. 65, scored 17 goals for Matchfit during the 2013-14 season and attended the U.S. U18 Women’s National Team camp in Mexico City. Blacha (No. 67), formerly of Zionsville SC, was the 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year in Indiana and will spend her senior year playing in the ECNL for Indiana Fire Juniors (formerly Carmel United) before heading to Indiana in the fall of 2015. Williams (No. 89), a product of Revolution Empire SC in Rochester, NY, is a discovery player for Penn Fusion’s ECNL U17s, and has seen her stock soar since making the commitment to play soccer full time instead of splitting time with her second love – ski racing.
Not only has the IMG Academy 150 received scrutiny, but the regional lists have been updated as well. Keep checking back this week as we unveil newcomers such as Connecticut FC’s Kyla Persky, Washington Premier’s McKenna Ferrera, Dallas Sting’s Katherine Lund, 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.