The 2017 Girls IMG Academy Top 150 is out today, and if we could have a three way tie for the top player in the country, it’s doubtful there would be too many objections. Frankie Tagliaferri scored a hat trick for PDA’s U16s on the second day of the ECNL event in New Jersey last month, and her first two goals were spectacular according to our Travis Clark, who covered the event for TopDrawerSoccer.com. Couple her performances in the ECNL this season playing up an age group with her consistent string of youth national team appearances, and we arrive at a new No. 1. No. 2 Madison Haley and No. 3 Catarina Macario could easily share No. 1 with Tagliaferri, and both have spent periods with the accolade, but we decided to give the freshman from New Jersey’s Colts Neck High School the nod this quarter. Haley recently spent time with the U18 WNT, and Macario has scored 31 goals so far this season in ECNL play.
Moving up the ranks this spring include players who stood out to our staff at recent ECNL events and players topping the charts for their respective leagues. Forwards Kelsey Turnbow and Abby McNamara make moves after standout performances, Turnbow at ECNL San Diego, and McNamara at ECNL New Jersey. Crossfire’s Turnbow, now at No. 23, is becoming a steady invitee to the youth national team program, and McNamara, at No. 58, has scored more than half the goals (19) for her Ohio Elite squad, is one of the top scorers in the U15 age group, and proved herself to be a difficult mark at the event in New Jersey.
Another forward moving up in the world of the IMG Academy 150 rankings, from No. 32 to No. 28 is Tophat’s Reagan Glissen. Glissen finished the US Youth Soccer National League season as the league’s top scorer with seven goals in as many games and was singled out by our staff on the final weekend in Las Vegas. So Cal Blues Goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy has been keeping forwards off the score sheet all season, and as she continues to keep her U14 squad on top of the ECNL’s Southwest Conference, debuts at No. 71. Brzykcy has allowed just 5 goals in 28 matches this season, keeping 23 clean sheets in the process.
Not only has the IMG Top 150 received scrutiny, but the regional lists have been updated as well. Keep checking back this week as we unveil newcomers such as Ohio Elite SA midfielder Mikayla Hampton, Sporting Blue Valley central midfielder Maddie Souder, Maryland United defender Anissa Mose, Sockers FC goalkeeper Eda Senger, Scorpions defender/midfielder Gwynith Godin 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 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.