The IMG Academy Top 150 spring update for boys in the 2016 graduating class is out today, and while the top players continue to do well, San Diego Surf midfielder Luca de la Torre, in particular, is back in top form and climbs from No. 11 up to No. 6. Another youth national teamer climbing the ranks, Lonestar winger Orrin Gaines, has attended every U17 Men’s National Team event since December, had a breakout week during the PacNW tour, and climbs from No. 28 to No. 24.
Players spanning the rest of the list worth a mention include DC United midfielder Lucas Mendes, Indiana Fire left back Spencer Glass, Chicago Fire defender Mauricio Pineda, Kendall SC defender Mattias Tomasino, and Ohio Premier Eagles forward Emmanuel Dapaa. Mendes was actually a part of the IMG Academy 150 rankings last year, and returns at the No. 51 spot after catching the eye of our scouts, college coaches, as well as his new club coaches at DC United this spring. The center midfielder travelled with DC United to the Generation adidas cup last month, and just gave his verbal commitment to college soccer power UCLA, the first of his class to do so.
Glass, at No. 66, has started and played every minute at left back for Phil Presser’s U18 playoff worthy Development Academy squad and during his “down” time, travelled (and earned a starting spot) with partner Chicago Fire as part of the Generation adidas team. Pineda, debuting at No. 85, is a consistent starter on the back line for a Development Academy squad with only one loss on the season and received a call up to the U18 MNT last month. Tomasino, who climbs to No. 98 from the 128th spot, is a starting center back for the Southeast Divisional leader, and is one of only two players on Matias Asorey’s U16s born in 1998. Finally, Dapaa, who climbs from No. 138 to No. 97, had a standout season in the USYS National League, finishing as the league’s second leading scorer with six goals, qualifying his squad for a national championship berth. Dapaa has also been on the radar of some prominent European clubs.
In addition to the IMG Academy 150 update, we have made key changes to the regional rankings which will be unveiled throughout the week. Some of the additions include Weston FC midfielder David Longo, Indiana Fire center midfielder and Butler recruit Derek Sutton, Shattuck St. Mary’s defender Tareq Hamad, Match Fit Chelsea forward Austin Riddick, Revolution Empire right back/forward Frank Cotroneo, and Lonestar forward Nick Marcin.
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 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.