The IMG Academy Top 150 spring update for boys in the 2017 graduating class is out today, and there are many changes to highlight with this update. In the top 20, Logan Panchot climbs yet again, this time breaking into the top 10, as his stint at U17 Residency has earned him a spot on the roster for the U17 Men’s National Team’s trip to Korea later this month. LA Galaxy goalkeeper Eric Lopez has made the roster for Korea as well, after successfully competing with the U15 BNT and the U16 BNT this spring, raising his ranking as a result.
New York Red Bulls forward Omir Fernandez, New England Revolution forward Justin Rennicks and left back Daniel Jones, FC Golden State right back Harold Hanson, and North Carolina Fusion goalkeeper Alec Smir all climbed the ranks this time around based on recent club and select team or national team performances. Fernandez has 15 goals for the No. 1 Red Bulls, second only on the team to Class of 2016 standout Brian Saramago who has 23. Both Rennicks and Jones are key pieces of the Revolution’s success this season at the U16 age group (ranked No. 12 in the Grande Sports Academy TeamRank Top 25), and both have taken part in U16 BNT camps this spring. Jones, in addition, was highlighted by TopDrawerSoccer.com as part of our Homegrown Watch feature. Hanson, after a year without a youth national team camp on his resume, was invited to the U16 BNT March camp along with Rennicks and Jones, while amassing nine goals from right back for FC Golden State. Smir has more than a few starts in goal for NC Fusion’s U18 Development Academy and entered our rankings last fall via recommendation, but has since been selected to the Development Academy Select Team at December’s showcase, and spent a week’s trial at U17 Residency in April.
A couple of players new to the rankings this spring include FC Dallas center back Brandon Terwege and Revolution Empire forward/midfielder Lukas Rubio. Terwege has 21 starts at center back for the No. 3 ranked U16 FC Dallas Development Academy squad, and at 6’3” has a couple of goals to his credit as well. He was a big part of FCD’s success at the Generation Adidas cup in April. Rubio has stepped up big with Paul Valenti’s U18 side since moving to the Revolution from Baldwinsville YSA in 2014, starting and scoring goals from his midfield position while playing two years up.
Click here to see where these players as well as all the members of the IMG Academy 150 are ranked.
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 Baltimore Bays midfielder Ben Alexander, Revolution Empire center back Matthew Pickard, Dallas Texans midfielder Humberto Chavez and many more. Keep checking back to see who else made the lists.
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 at least 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.