The IMG Academy Top 150 rankings update for boys in the 2019 graduating class is out today. While John Hilton still heads up the list, there have been some changes to the top ten as well as a plethora of changes to the rest of the IMG Academy 150.
Real Salt Lake AZ midfielder Taylor Booth climbs to No. 2 on the heels of a superior performance, according to accounts, at the U16 Boys National Team’s recent trip to England. But the biggest jump into the top 10 comes from PDA defender Dominic DeAlmeida, who lands at No. 9. DeAlmeida was another standout with the U16 BNT, and has been a consistent member of the youth national team system for the last two years. He tends to impress time TopDrawerSoccer gets to watch him play.
Others making significant moves up the rankings with this update include IMG Academy forward Tonny Temple, LA Galaxy defender Leonardo Sepulveda, Carolina Rapids forward/midfielder Brennan Conger, and New York Red Bulls forward Scott Taylor. Temple attended his first youth national team camp in November, was on the roster for the U17 MNT at the Nike Friendlies in December, and has joined the U17 Residency program for the spring semester. Sepulveda is becoming a top level center back for the Galaxy U14 Development Academy, helping his back line to 11 shutouts and only five goals conceded in 14 matches this season. Conger is the leading scorer for the Rapids’ U14 Development Academy with five goals on the season from his forward and attacking midfield roles. Taylor moved from Capital Area Railhawks in North Carolina to the Red Bulls Academy last year. He is thriving in his new role, leading the NYRB U14s in goals with 14.
Several players are having breakout seasons, getting noticed by scouts and landing spots in our rankings for the first time. A few of these players are Capital Area Railhawks forward Miguel Montano, Boca United forward Lucas Cini, and San Diego Surf defender Johan Valdovinos. Montano is new to the Development Academy and is having a spectacular inaugural season, scoring 11 goals in 10 matches. Cini is not only the top scorer for Boca’s U16 Development Academy with 18 goals in 22 matches, but currently sits in the second spot overall for the U16 age group, the only 2019 on the list. Valdovinos has started every game he has played at center back for the Surf U14s, ranked No. 11 in the GrandeSports TeamRank Top 25.
In addition to the IMG Academy 150 update, we will update the regional rankings as well throughout the next couple of weeks. Some of the players to be added include Empire United goalkeeper Braden Melveney, Tampa Bay United center mid John Casey, Indiana Fire center back Thomas Brown, Shattuck St. Mary’s defender Luke Agnew 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.