The spring update for the 2016 girls IMG Academy is out today, and once again, the busy camp schedule has had a significant impact on the rankings.
Mallory Pugh climbs back to #3 with this update, and if she keeps her current form, will likely be the #1 player in this age group by summer. The Real Colorado forward missed most of last fall due to injury, but returned last month to score four goals for the U.S. U17 Women’s National Team at the 4 Nations Tournament in Costa Rica. In addition, she has 16 goals and eight assists in just 12 games in the ECNL Mountain West Conference, leading her team to a perfect 13-0-0 record in conference play.
Pugh was not the only player to impress national team coaching staff and TopDrawerSoccer.com scouts. Dallas Texans forward Madison Haley, De Anza Force forward Samantha Tran, and Vardar midfielder Hannah Jones all made positive moves in the rankings with this update. Haley climbs from #26 to #11 after scoring three goals in her first appearance with the U17 WNT, Tran climbs from #98 to #78 after receiving an invitation to the U.S. U15 Girls National Team Camp in Dallas, and Jones climbs from #78 to #68 after a great showing at the TDS Combine in Chicago. The top player at the Combine, Jones turned heads and received multiple recommendations for a higher ranking.
Several players make their IMG Academy 150 debut with this update including U15 GNT May camp invitees Grace Bahr from Internationals SC at #62, Ciara Terabasso from Pittsburgh Riverhounds at #73, and Caroline Saltmarsh from Tophat SC at #81.
Not only has the IMG Top 150 received scrutiny, but the regional lists have been updated as well. Keep checking back this week as we unveil newcomers such as Sporting Blue Valley defender Katherine Retz, Santa Rosa United goalkeeper Claire Howard, FC Bucks Emma Loving, SC Del Sol midfielder Madison Rasimas, Solar Chelsea midfielder Alexis Thornton, and many, many more.
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 every quarter. 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.