The IMG Academy Top 150 spring update for girls in the 2018 graduating class is out today, and CASL midfielder Brianna Pinto is still deemed the top player in the country. In fact, the top ten remains virtually unchanged as the preparations continue for the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup which begins at the end of September.
One player of note, however, has crept her way into the tenth spot. PAC NW SC midfielder Summer Yates has been outstanding with the U.S. U16 Girls National Team since last fall, and finished the team’s tournament in Italy with three goals and an assist, which landed her a spot on the TopDrawerSoccer best list.
Other players climbing the ranks include New Mexico Rush defender Brianna Martinez, Real So Cal forward/midfielder Luisa Delgado-Heinz, Orlando City defender/midfielder Hannah Telleysh, and Sereno forward Brianna Atterbury. Martinez is a right back who, like Yates, was named to the Best XI list at the U16 GNT’s recent tournament, has made a verbal commitment to Notre Dame and spent time in camp with the U17 WNT in May. Delgado-Heinz made the list as well, but not for a performance with the U.S. squad. The Stanford recruit was a member of the Mexican youth national team at the event. Telleysh, a South Florida recruit, made her mark at each of the last three ECNL showcases, earning a spot on TopDrawerSoccer daily lists in Sanford, San Diego and New Jersey. Atterbury, an Arizona State pledge, scored five goals in two matches at the New Jersey Showcase, upping her season total to 13.
Players making their debut with this update include Match Fit Academy defender Margot Ridgeway, Orlando City defender Amanda Martin, Internationals forward Loren Sefcik, and SC Del Sol midfielder Olivia Nguyen. Ridgeway, who is still uncommitted, recently earned her second call up with the U16 GNT and is a solid defender for Match Fit’s playoff-bound U16 ECNL team. Martin, a South Carolina recruit, plays up on Orlando’s U17 ECNL team where she has tallied three goals as a defender. Cefsik is one of the leading scorers in the ECNL this season with 22 goals to her credit, and earned a spot on the TopDrawerSoccer Besti XI list from the San Diego Showcase for her spectacular performance: of the 11 goals scored by her team over the weekend, the Maryland recruit scored all but one. Nguyen, an Arizona State verbal, was highlighted for her play at a TDS Unsigned Showcase in 2015 as just a freshman, and has continued to improve her skill in the attacking midfield position, helping SC Del Sol’s U16s to a wildcard berth in the ECNL playoffs.
Not only has the IMG Academy 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 Maryland United goalkeeper Brooke Harrington, GSA midfielder Laney Steed, Match Fit Academy defender Emma Davis, PDA holding midfielder Jylissa Harris, Crossfire Premier defender Kelis Barton 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.