The fall update is out, and changes dot the rankings in the IMG Academy Top 150 for boys in the 2017 graduating class. Of those in the top 20, CF Monterrey midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez climbs six spots to no. 6, while Djordje Mihalovic continues his steady climb, now into the top 20 at No. 16. Gonzalez, making waves with Monterrey’s U20 side, recently trained with the club’s first team, and was a part of the U.S. U18 Men’s National Team’s win at a tournament in the Czech Republic in August. Mihailovic, a U19 MNT member, has scored four goals in three matches for the Fire’s U18 Development Academy this season, and has trained with Chicago Fire’s first team. Mihalovic is verbally committed to North Carolina.
Significant moves scattered throughout the rest of the rankings include Indiana Fire midfielder Justin Ingram, AIK Futbol forward Nebiyou Perry, and New England Revolution defender Daniel Jones. Perry and Jones traveled with the U18 MNT in August, with Perry scoring twice in the U18 MNT’s 4-2 win over the Czech Republic to help claim the Vaclav Jezek tournament crown. Ingram has been a designated player for Chicago Fire in generation Adidas competition, and gave a verbal commitment to Virginia over the summer.
Some of the players new to the rankings include FC Boston Bolts defender Wilhelm Jacques Jr, Capital Area Railhawks - CASL defender McChlery Gourlay, and Seattle Sounders midfielder Habib Barry. Jacques started 28 matches for FC Boston Bolts U15/16 Development Academy during the 2015-16 season, earning a spot on the East Conference Best XI. He is verbally committed to Duke. Before joining the Development Academy for his senior season (and committing to the three-plus hour commute), Gourlay played for Highland FC in Asheville, NC where he was a member of the Region III ODP team, travelling to Italy in March of 2015. He is verbally committed to NC State. Barry is in his second year on the Sounders’ U18 Development Academy team, and travelled with the U19 MNT to Serbia in September.
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 DC United left back and Duke pledge Avionne Flanagan, Minnesota Thunder goalkeeper Luke Anderson, Empire United defender and TDS Unsigned Showcase alum David Grana, Charlotte SA defender and Appalachian State verbal Yonatan Spencer, 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.