The IMG Academy Top 150 rankings for boys in the 2020 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. U15 Boys National Team midfielder Efrain Alvarez. When not on national team duty, Alvarez is a member of LA Galaxy’s Development Academy where he scored 25 goals for the U13/14 Academy and another two for the U15/16s during the 2015-16 season.
The rest of the top five are as follows: Chicago Fire North defender Axel Alejandre at No. 2, Ballistic United midfielder Gilbert Fuentes Perez at No. 3, North Carolina Fusion midfielder Gianluca Busio at No. 4, and Chicago Magic goalkeeper Damian Las at No. 5. All five players have attended multiple camps with the U15 BNT in recent months.
Other players dotting the list include Alpharetta Ambush defender George Bello, PDA midfielder Jules Anderson, World Class FC forward Jake Novoshelsky, San Diego Surf midfielder/forward Jose David Perez, and Atlanta United midfielder Chase Oliver. Bello and Anderson have youth national team experience, while Oliver was a former id2 participant.
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 Empire United midfielder Tyler Moran, Holmdel FC goalkeeper Tomas Lazicki, Chargers SC left back Lucas Windschauer, Match Fit Academy defender Michael Schimbeno, and many, many more.
Keep checking back throughout the next couple of weeks 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.