The U.S. U17 Women’s National Team may have made an early exit in the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup last week, but So Cal Blues forward Ashley Sanchez’ performance didn’t wane, as she scored both goals in the team’s losing effort against Japan. Next up for the No. 1 player in the IMG Academy 150 for the Class of 2017 girls is a possible spot on the U20 World Cup roster in November.
In addition to Sanchez, four other players have been included in recent camps with the U20s: San Diego Surf forward and Santa Clara verbal Julie Doyle, FC Revolution and Penn State commit Shea Moyer, TSC Hurricane forward and Arkansas pledge Parker Goins, and FC Virginia forward Emily Fox, who is committed to North Carolina. Goins and Moyer’s rankings rose as a result.
Other players making significant moves with this update include Real So Cal defender Taylor Mitchell, Jacksonville FC midfielder Angeline Daly, and Dallas Texans forward Rheagen Smith. Mitchell is a center back who has helped her Real So Cal U18s to a 5-1 record in ECNL play. She has been a member of the U18 WNT for the past year, and recently gave her verbal commitment to Duke. Daly was named a player to watch for the 2016-17 ECNL season by TDS, and is living up to the hype, with six goals in just the first month of the season. She is verbally committed to Florida State. Smith is another recent U18 WNT camp invitee who will head to Texas A&M in 2017.
Players new to the rankings this fall include a couple of non-ECNL stars from the west coast as well as a player that made her mark at the ECNL playoffs over the summer. Northern California studs midfielder/forward Delanie Sheehan from West Coast SC and midfielder Caroline Clark from Lamorinda United both debut in the top 100. Sheehan is an offensive threat that was part of the West Coast Wild team that won the Cal North State Cup as well as the Players Showcase at the U18 age group in 2016. She will head to UCLA next year. Besides earning a call up with the U18 WNT in April and making a verbal commitment to Stanford, Clark received several recommendations for this list. Samantha Coffey was a standout for Match Fit Academy at the 2016 ECNL playoffs, earning a spot on the daily best list at the tournament. In 2015 she earned a spot on the TDS Best XI for her play with New York SC, and the Boston College pledge is also becoming a consistent member of the U18 WNT, having attended three camps over the summer.
Not only has the IMG Top 150 received scrutiny, but the regional lists have been updated as well. Keep checking back over the next couple of weeks as we unveil newcomers such as Midwest United FC forward/midfielder and Cincinnati pledge Bailey Kohorn, Seattle Reign defender and Washington State commit Gabriella Crenshaw, LA Galaxy San Diego goalkeeper and USC commit Emily Cuthbert, Kings Hammer Academy forward and Butler verbal Payton Black, and many, 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.