Grande Sports Academy TeamRank update

Grande Sports Academy TeamRank update
by Caroline Yort
January 16, 2014

Today we unveil our latest update to Grande Sports Academy TeamRank, the comprehensive ranking system for elite club soccer teams nationwide, and we release the latest standings for U16, U17 and U18 Girls. Next week, we will update the younger age groups on the Boys side. We will update our National Top 25 of each age group at least once per month.

(scroll down for system details)

Crossfire climbs at U16

Seattle-based Crossfire is off to a good start in the ECNL, amassing a 4-0 record in its first month of play. Although the season is in its early stages, the defense has been impenetrable in its first four games, even No. 21 Dallas Texans and No. 9 FC Virginia couldn’t find the back of the net against them. Coach Tim Reynolds said that in addition to the outstanding play of US Youth National Team goalkeeper Lauren Rood and IMG Academy 150 center back Samantha Hiatt, those clean sheets have been a group effort, with goalkeeper Natalie Dierickx, center backs Amanda Wall, and Claire Feeney, as well as outside backs Erika Jung, Annie Flora, Clare Suter, and Olivia Witherspoon all making significant contributions. January 19th Crossfire will face equally stingy Santa Rosa United in a battle of the back line. No. 6 SRU has given up just a single goal in five games.

Dallas Texans ECNL climbs from No. 25 to No. 21 in our standings after defeating FC Dallas in league play in December, followed by a good showing in Florida where they earned wins against No. 12 PDA and No. 14 FC Stars of Massachusetts.

NSA Jaguars enter rankings at U17

Some teams in the USYS National League finished divisional play at the Disney Showcase over the holiday, and the NSA Jaguars held first place in the blue division standings at the conclusion of the event. With two losses in league play, however, NSA’s position is precarious as three teams from California have a chance to knock NSA off its perch when play resumes in March. Nevertheless, NSA’s Illinois Youth Soccer state cup championship this fall, as well as defeats of two ranked national league opponents in DMCV Sharks and Legends propel the Jags into the Grande Sports Academy TeamRank Top 25 this month at No. 23.

New No. 1 at U18

While PDA’s ECNL squad remains idle waiting for warmer, clearer skies, Michigan Hawks completes its final ECNL regular season and takes over the top spot in the Grande Sports Academy TeamRank Top 25. The Hawks finished in first place in the Midwest Conference with a 15-0-1 record, the only draw in conference play coming at the hands of Heartland Division leader and No. 4 ranked Sporting Blue Valley. Forward Michelle Manning, a Northwestern commit, provides much of the offense for this balanced squad where 10 players have multiple tallies on the season, and is aided in the midfield by  North Carolina commit and veteran YNT member Megan Buckingham. Now it will be the Hawks turn to sit idle, while PDA gets its final season underway.

New to the rankings this month is No. 25 Richmond Kickers Elite, who have defeated three ranked ECNL teams in the last three months. Although the Kickers do not have regional or national league honors on their resume, it’s hard to deny the success of this squad this season, led by the No. 2 ranked player in the class of 2015, Katie Cousins. Cousins and her team took down the USYS National League red division leader No. 21 Braddock Road YC Elite in the Virginia State Cup final in October, then again at the Disney Showcase final by a 3-0 margin in December. The Kickers also took care of Concorde Fire and Continental FC Delco’s ECNL squads at the CASL Showcase, showing that they deserve a mention in the Grande Sports Academy TeamRank Top 25.

Next Thursday: U13, U14, and U15 Boys

Grande Sports Academy TeamRank is the comprehensive team-ranking system devised by TopDrawerSoccer.com to provide an objective and common-sense approach to determining which elite youth soccer teams are the best in the nation.

The rankings, updated monthly, are primarily results-based, with a nod toward the league and championship competitions that emulate how excellence is determined in leading soccer nations around the world.

Tournaments are also included but at a reduced value due to the many mitigating factors involving such events, including attrition and guest players.

A final layer of executive evaluation is provided to account for variables that often impact results, thus ensuring that the monthly lists are not subjective, but are not purely mechanical.

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