The IMG Academy Top 150 rankings for girls 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. U17 Women’s National Team midfielder Jordan Caniff. Caniff was the only member of this class on the CONCACAF qualifying roster for the U17s, and is one of the top talents on that team. When not on national team duty, Caniff plays for Richmond United’s U15 ECNL team, where she amassed 23 goals and 14 assists in just 18 matches during the 2015-16 season.
A few others of note in the top 20 include Tophat midfielder Talia Dellaperuta, So Cal Blues goalkeeper Ryan Campbell, and Arsenal FC defender Kayla Colbert. Dellaperuta scored 19 goals for Tophat’s U14 ECNL squad during the 2015-16 season, and has attended camps with the U15 and U14 Girls’ National Teams. Both Campbell and Colbert were recognized by TDS for their efforts at the ECNL Finals. Campbell was instrumental in the Blues’ ECNL National Championship run, earning a spot on the TDS Best XI at the event, while Colbert earned an honorable mention. Both are members of the U14 GNT.
Other players dotting the list include Internationals forward Amanda Winquist, CASL defender Elaine Rouse, Sting defender Briley Weatherford, and Minnesota Thunder midfielder Sophia Boman. Winquist routinely plays up two to three age groups for her club and was a US Club Soccer id2 participant in 2016. Rouse and Boman earn spots on TDS Best XI lists at Raleigh and Glendale id2 camps, respectively, and Weatherford was recognized as one of the top performers at the ECNL San Diego event in 2016.
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 Sporting Blue Valley midfielder Felicia Knox, Maryland United forward Lillian McCarthy, Lake Forest SA defender Paige Copeland, Match Fit Academy midfielder Rebecca Groseibi, 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.