Recruiting trends in the men’s game are more or less impossible to see from a 30,000-foot perspective. They crystallize so late, and so many top recruits never commit to college at all, that prognosticators are more or less playing a reactive game of catchup. Sometimes the recruiting winners in men’s college soccer aren’t entirely obvious until the end of the season.
The women’s game, of course, is a vastly different animal.
Girls club players are sometimes recruited in middle school, and while most don’t commit that early their college careers are still mostly spoken for by the time they become upperclassmen. This race to secure ever younger players has its drawbacks - notably the pressure it puts on the players themselves and their families - but it does allow us to see trends a few years out.
We’ve known UCLA, for instance, is about to come into a windfall of talent for some time. With the Bruins’ successes on the recruiting trail in 2016 and 2017, when the national team trio of Mallory Pugh, Marley Canales and Ashley Sanchez are set to join, UCLA will immediately launch into the national title discussion again.
But what about further out? We know some things there, too, thanks to the completeness of our IMG Top 150 rankings.
Today’s Top 150 Spotlight digs into the coming trends in the women’s college recruiting game. What can you expect to see not just in 2017, but in 2018 and 2019 and even 2020? Of course this is contingent on these commits holding (they most often do), but it’s possible to see some longterm powers forming if these classes are as good as advertised.
Here are three teams about to get very, very rich in near term recruiting success.