The IMG Academy Top 150 rankings for boys in the 2019 graduating class debut today. There are close to 100 players in the country that have been invited by U.S. Soccer to attend training camps in the past two years, and recommendations for those and hundreds of others were sent to us over the past several months, so it was a difficult task to narrow the list to just 150 players.
We had to pinpoint the No. 1 player in the land as well, and the consensus for this initial ranking is U.S. Youth National team right back John Hilton. Hilton was a member of Chivas USA Academy, but is currently plying his trade in Europe. He was named captain for the U14 BNT during a trip to Spain in February, and has spent time with the U15 BNT as well.
Other players of note in the top 20 include Bethesda-Olney forward Gabe Segal, Oakwood SC defender Joey Zarra, and Weston FC forward Jose Rivas. Segal plays on BOSA’s U14s where he accumulated 19 goals in 19 matches during the 2014-15 season and has regional coaches singing his praises on a consistent basis. Zarra was the only 2001 on the roster for the id2 International tour in 2014. Rivas, a winger, is one of the younger players on a very strong Weston FC team that went 3-0 at the final showcase. All three are consistent members of the U14 BNT.
Other players dotting the list include Crew SA Wolves goalkeeper Logan Kowalczyk, New England Revolution forward Jonathan Ferreira, St. Louis Scott Gallagher center mid Bryce Gamache, and Capital Area Railhawks midfielder Colton Pleasants.
In addition to the IMG Academy 150 update, we will unveil the regional rankings throughout the week. Some of the players on our initial list include North Carolina Fusion midfielder Will Burns, New York SC forward Jalen Anderson, Lonestar midfielder Aidan O’Toole, LA Galaxy defender Jose Olmos, and many, many more.
Keep checking back throughout the week 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 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.