Signing day is just two days away, and the commitments are pouring into our site. The Class of 2016 is loaded with talent, and narrowing down this final list to just 150 names was darn-near impossible. But narrow it down we did, and below are some of the many changes to the list as well as the overwhelming pick for No. 1.
Mallory Pugh earned her first cap with the U.S. Women’s Senior National Team in January, scoring her first goal in a friendly against Ireland. She also captained the U20 Women’s National Team in its successful run to the CONCACAF Women’s U20 Championship in December. If that wasn’t enough, she has been named to the roster for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship in February. The UCLA commit is proving every day why she is No. 1.
As for the rest of the class, there are more than a few additions to mention as well as some players that have made significant moves up the ranks before the list was finalized.
Dallas Sting forward Cyera Hintzen, Tampa Bay United defender/forward Victoria Cannata, and NJ Stallions forward/midfielder Tomi Kennedy all improved their ranking based on their play during the fall season. Hintzen, a Texas recruit, has missed more than a couple of matches for the ECNL Texas Conference leader due to camps with the U19 WNT, but has still managed to be her team’s leading scorer, with six goals in eight matches. Cannata helped her team to a third place finish in the USYS National League red division this fall, and will head to Arkansas after graduation. Kennedy, a Princeton commit, finished National League play as the top scorer with seven goals in seven matches, helping her team to a berth at the USYS National Championships next summer.
The pleas were abundant for additions to the final IMG Academy 150 rankings, and though we couldn’t add them all, three players deserve a mention here. Utah Avalanche’s Holly Daugirda, Tophat’s Treva Aycock, and Syracuse Development Academy’s Jade Gentile all are making their first and last appearances on our list. In addition to her club accolades with Utah Avalanche, Daugirda was named the NSCAA Utah State Player of the Year in 2015 and has attended two camps with the U19 WNT in recent months. Aycock is a new addition to Tophat’s roster for its first year in the ECNL, and is one of the main reasons the team sits in first place in the Southeast Conference. She is a prolific scorer, her 22 goals equaling nearly half her team’s total of 53, and she will be a welcome addition to the Furman roster in the fall. Furman graduates Southern Conference leading scorer Stephanie Da Vita along with several other scoring threats, so Aycock may find herself in an important role as a freshman. Gentile, a West Virginia recruit, scored six goals in seven matches to help her team lead the NL Blue Division heading into the final weekend in Las Vegas.
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 Kings Hammer forward and Wake Forest recruit Haley Jordahl, FC Portland midfielder and Gonzaga commit Taylor Kernion, West Florida Flames goalkeeper and Troy(w) commit Haleigh Mercer, McLean defender/midfielder and UMBC recruit Rayven Conner, 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 three times per year. 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.