2018 Girls IMG Academy Top 150 Update

2018 Girls IMG Academy Top 150 Update
by Caroline Yort
October 24, 2016

Though the U17 WNT did not advance at the World Cup, those that traveled to Jordan remain some of the top players in this age group. The IMG Academy 150 fall update for girls in the Class of 2018 is out today, and Brianna Pinto from the World Cup squad remains No. 1, followed by Naomi Girma, Jaelin Howell, Alexa Spaanstra, and goalkeeper Laurel Ivory.

Michigan Hawks midfielder Emaly Vatne makes the biggest climb in the rankings this fall, and enters the top 25. The Ohio State verbal scored and had an assist in the U16 GNT’s 3-3 draw with the Netherlands in September, and has been a part of every U16 GNT camp in 2016.

Other players climbing the ranks include Crossfire Premier midfielder Sophie Hirst, Michigan Hawks midfielder Natalie Viggiano, and Real Colorado defender Shae Holmes. Hirst was named to the TDS Best XI at the ECNL playoffs in July, attended two U16 GNT camps over the summer, and will follow former Seattle Prep teammate Samantha Hiatt to Boston College in 2018. Viggiano earned honorable mention by TopDrawerSoccer.com at the 2015 ECNL finals, and like Hirst, has attended multiple camps with the U16 GNT. She shares the spotlight on the Hawks U17 ECNL team with Vatne and U17 WNT member No. 4 Alexa Spaanstra. Holmes has attended multiple camps with the U17 and U16 youth national teams, earning a starting spot with the U16s against the Netherlands.

More: Commitments  | U17 World Cup Coverage

Players making their debut with this update include FC Dallas center mid Chloe Bohanon, Richmond United defender Emily Crocco, and Tophat defender Ella Shamburger. Bohanon has helped her FCD U17s to a 3-0-3 record good enough for a current second place in the ECNL Texas Conference standings. She gave a verbal commitment to Texas Tech over the summer. While Crocco’s U17 ECNL team at Richmond United is under-performing at the moment, she is not, having earned a verbal commitment to ACC power Duke and her second call up with the U16 GNT in the last several months. Shamburger, a Georgia verbal, is part of a Tophat U17 backline that has conceded just five goals in thirteen matches to remain undefeated and on top of the ECNL Southeast Conference standings. She attended August’s U16 GNT camp.

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 Oklahoma FC midfielder and Kansas commit Samantha Barnett, FC Pride forward and Samford commit Audrey Klieman, Albertson forward and Connecticut pledge Skylar Prendergast, Sporting Blue Valley defender and Arkansas State verbal Hannah Maupin 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.

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