The IMG Academy Top 150 rankings update for girls in the 2019 graduating class is out today, and U.S. U17 Women’s National Team defender Kennedy Wesley remains No. 1. When not on national team duty, Wesley helped So Cal Blues U16s to a spot in the ECNL playoffs and earned a nod as one of the daily best, playing against older competition.
Post season play and national team duty allowed more than a few players to show their worth over the last few months. FC Stars forward Payton Linnehan, Honolulu Bulls midfielder Sunshine Fontes and defender D’Awncey Jones-Black, and GSA forward Lillian Babalola all raised their rank based on recent success. In addition to her success with the U15 GNT, Linnehan’s creativity on the ball helped the Stars win their group at ECNL playoffs and go on to earn a spot in the finals. Also members of the U15 GNT, Fontes and Jones-Black were part of the Bulls’ U17 team that advanced to the USYS Region IV semifinals before falling to Utah Celtic Storm. Fontes finished the tournament tied for top scorer with five goals. As a forward, Babalola totaled 10 goals and six assists for GSA’s U15s during the regular season, but it was her exploits in central defense during the ECNL playoffs that landed her on the TopDrawerSoccer top players list for the event.
Players added to the IMG Academy 150 with this update include FC Salmon Creek midfielder MacKenzie Frimpong-Ellertson, Midwest United forward Regan Berg, San Diego Surf defender Sawyer Simo, and Mustang midfielder Emiko Groth. Frimpong, as a discovery player for Crossfire Premier, earned a spot on the TopDrawerSoccer Best XI for the ECNL San Diego event in April. In June, she led her FCSC Nemesis in scoring to help capture the USYS Region IV title and a spot at USYS Nationals. Berg received multiple recommendations for her performance at USYS Region II Championships. Simo was a standout at right back for Surf’s U15 ECNL playoff run, while Groth earned praise for her play at both the ECNL San Diego event and the ECNL playoffs, where she led her team to a spot at the ECNL finals.
In addition to the IMG Academy 150 update, we will unveil the regional rankings throughout the week. Some of the additions include CASL forward Isabella Brown, Sporting Blue Valley forward/midfielder Catherine Thornhill, Bethesda SC goalkeeper Hanna Sellinger, Campton United defender Alison Wessel, 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.