The IMG Academy Top 150 rankings update for boys in the 2019 graduating class is out today, and (new) LA Galaxy defender John Hilton remains No. 1. Hilton, who had been unattached, joined the Galaxy Academy this past week after returning from a tournament with the U16 Boys National Team.
Making a move up in the top 10, Houston Dynamo midfielder Marcel Palomino entered the U17 Residency program this fall and has continued raise his stock with the U17 MNT, and his rank to No. 7.
As the sophomore season continues for this group, players are building their resumes and impressing scouts, with rankings climbing in the process. LA Galaxy defender Leonardo Sepulveda, Seattle Sounders midfielder Azriel Gonzalez, DC United defender Nelson Martinez, and St. Louis Scott Gallagher midfielder Kip Keller are a few who have moved up. Sepulveda captained the U16 BNT on its recent trip to France, and has helped the Galaxy U16s to a 6-1-1 record good enough for second in the Southwest Division. Gonzalez joined Sounders Academy last spring from Las Vegas Pro Academy, and made an immediate impact. This season, he has already scored a goal with Sounders 18s, and is a consistent member of the U16 BNT. Both Keller and Martinez’ stock are rising within Development Academy circles, and are earning starting spots with their respective U16 teams.
Players new to the rankings this fall include Braddock Road YC midfielder Marcos Villeda Sanchinelli, Chicago Fire midfielder Nicholas Slonina, and GSA forward Kendall Edwards. Sanchinelli plays up two age groups on the BRYC ’99 Elite team that is a 2016-17 USYS National League participant. Slonina was a member of Chicago Fire’s U16 Development Academy as a ninth grader, entered the U17 Residency program for the fall semester, and travelled with the U16 BNT to a camp in Sacramento in September. Edwards was the leading scorer for GSA Premier during the 2015-16 USYS National League season with three goals. He earned a call up to August’s U17 MNT camp as one of only two 2001 birth years invited to the event.
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 IMG Academy goalkeeper Thomas Wallis, Indiana Fire defensive midfielder Dakota DePew, Las Vegas Soccer Academy defender Cole Lawrence, Capital Railhawks – CASL goalkeeper David Merola, Philadelphia Union midfielder Marco Bla, 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.