Alyssa Thompson has made history. She has become the first fútbol player ever to be drafted straight out of high school by the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). If that wasn’t impressive enough, Angel City FC drafted Thompson at No. 1.
“Alyssa Thompson, for us, is a phenom and generational player,” said Angela Hucles Mangano, Angel City FC’s General Manager. “She’s a player who can make an immediate impact, but she’s also young and can develop and look to be a player that we’re building a future off of, too.”
Thompson, who has Peruvian roots, is a senior at Harvard-Westlake in Los Angeles. According to Angel City FC, she declared for the draft last week, which means she opted out of her college eligibility for the professional stage.
“This was the hardest decision that I’ve ever had to make in my life,” said Thompson, who had actually committed to Stanford University when she was only 15. “There were so many back and forths about it, but in the end, I decided that it was the best for me.”
Last September, Thompson played for the senior U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) at the age of 17. She was the youngest player in the history of the USWNT to ever take the field.
Thompson’s career started at age 13 when she and her younger sister Gisele joined a semi-pro team made up of college players. They went on to join the Real So Cal Soccer Club and then Total Fútbol Academy, a boys’ club, which is part of the Major League Soccer’s (MLS) academy system.
“[Competing against boys] definitely helped me get to the point where I am,” Thompson says. “The boys’ game, it’s super-fast, and they’re super physical as well.”
Thompson added that joining Angel City FC will allow her to continue to play in front of her family and friends – something that is important to her.
“I visit my grandparents frequently because they live in Burbank, so it’s super easy to see them,” she said. “My grandma always makes Peruvian dishes for me. I’m upset that my mom didn’t teach me how to speak Spanish, but I am taking Spanish, to stay in touch with my culture.”