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Angel Metropolis picks high-schooler Thompson No. 1

Jan 12, 2023Charlotte GibsonESPN Angel City FC selected 18-year-old forward Alyssa Thompson as the first overall pick on Thursday in the 2023 NWSL draft.Thompson, a senior at Harvard-Westlake in Los Angeles, becomes the first high schooler to be drafted in the No. 1 spot in NWSL history.- Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)”It’s honestly

Angel Metropolis picks high-schooler Thompson No. 1

Jan 12, 2023

  • Charlotte GibsonESPN

Angel City FC chosen 18-year-old ahead Alyssa Thompson as the primary general choose on Thursday within the 2023 NWSL draft.

Thompson, a senior at Harvard-Westlake in Los Angeles, turns into the primary excessive schooler to be drafted within the No. 1 spot in NWSL historical past.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

“It is truthfully actually surreal,” Thompson advised ESPN. “I am honored I get to be talked about with the opposite first picks like Naomi Girma, Sophia Smith, Andi Sullivan. All of them are wonderful gamers and for me to be one other title on that checklist is so cool to me.

“I might’ve by no means thought, even a 12 months in the past, that I might be the primary excessive schooler to carry that spot.”

After Thompson’s choice, NY/NJ Gotham FC traded away the No. 2 choose to the Kansas Metropolis Present in change for USWNT participant Lynn Williams, and the Present used that choose on Duke ahead Michelle Cooper. The Orlando Delight chosen Florida State defender Emily Madril at No. 3 and Gotham FC used the No. 4 choose to take her teammate Jenna Nighswonger, a central midfielder.

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Angel Metropolis finally acquired the choose used on Thompson in a three-team trade final week with the Portland Thorns and NY/NJ Gotham FC, buying and selling the membership’s 2023 first-round choose (No. 5), their 2024 second-round prime choose and allocation cash to accumulate midfielder Yazmeen Ryan from the Thorns.

Angel Metropolis then despatched Ryan and an extra $250,000 in allocation cash to Gotham FC for the primary general choose, finalizing the deal. The Thorns used the No. 5 choose acquired from Angel Metropolis on Alabama midfielder Reyna Reyes, the 2022 SEC defensive participant of the 12 months.

“It is an unbelievable assertion that we’re making in bringing Alyssa into Angel Metropolis as our No. 1 choose, and in addition what we did to get the No. 1 choose. As a result of we did not have that,” Angel Metropolis basic supervisor Angela Hucles Mangano advised ESPN.

“We wished to look each short-term and long-term in our technique … so the power to usher in a participant like Alyssa allows us to do all of that.”

Thompson, who gained the Gatorade nationwide ladies soccer participant of the 12 months in 2021, made her national team debut in September at the age of 17. On the 83-minute mark throughout a pleasant in opposition to England, Thompson subbed in for Megan Rapinoe and earned her first worldwide cap.

Final June, Thompson and her youthful sister Gisele made historical past as the primary high-school athletes to signal title, picture and likeness contracts with Nike.



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Hucles Mangano added: “She’s a participant who can impression the now, who can elevate our surroundings, carry us nearer to these targets of successful a championship so much before an extended term-strategy.

“And she or he has years forward of her; she’s a participant that may proceed to develop. She is our phenom, generational participant that may come into Angel Metropolis. … For us, it was a no brainer.”

Thompson, who verbally dedicated to play at Stanford subsequent 12 months, mentioned her determination to play professionally was tough. Simply days earlier than the NWSL draft registration deadline final week, and after a lot deliberation along with her household, Thompson mentioned she determined to go professional. She had been speaking with Angel Metropolis for the previous couple of months.

“It was the toughest determination I’ve ever needed to make,” Thompson mentioned. “However finally, I feel it got here right down to what’s going to be finest within the second proper now.”

Thompson advised ESPN that her determination hinged largely on the power to pursue a better schooling whereas enjoying professionally, one thing that Angel Metropolis made some extent of emphasis since their preliminary talks.

“From the start it is all the time been one thing that if I’ll go professional, I am nonetheless going to get an schooling,” Thompson mentioned. “I need to proceed to get higher, and since there’s alternative to nonetheless go to school, why would not I do it?”

– Kassouf: Why Alyssa Thompson could be the future for U.S. women

Based on Thompson’s mother and father, the choice to go professional grew to become extra streamlined as soon as there was a tentative pathway to enjoying professionally whereas pursuing a level. Thompson’s father, Mario, added that they’re nonetheless working by the plan and the place Thompson will attend lessons subsequent 12 months, however the steps to creating {that a} actuality are in movement.

As soon as the NWSL season kicks off on March 25, Thompson will take on-line lessons to complete her senior 12 months of highschool and attend lessons in-person at Harvard-Westlake when her schedule permits.

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Relating to supporting not solely the remainder of her senior 12 months but in addition her larger schooling, Angel Metropolis mentioned that regardless of solely being of their second 12 months, they need to set the usual in ensuring the membership is supporting its gamers on and off the sector.

“We undoubtedly are very intentional and need to be that membership and that atmosphere that, regardless of who you might be, it doesn’t matter what stage you might be in in your profession, you might have the chance to develop,” Hucles Mangano mentioned.

“That may very well be somebody on the finish of their profession; that may very well be somebody who’s popping out of highschool. However you continue to have that chance to develop. And I feel that is on the sector and off the sector.”

She added, “Understanding the place [the Thompson family] is coming from was one thing that was very straightforward for us to say that is one thing that Angel Metropolis needs to do for you, Alyssa. But in addition all of our gamers.”

Final September, Thompson, a Los Angeles native, attended her first Angel Metropolis sport as a fan. Watching Angel Metropolis tackle Racing Louisville at their house stadium, Banc of California Stadium, Thompson sat within the stands along with her household and mates and acquired to benefit from the full Angel Metropolis expertise.

“I used to be shocked as a result of I’ve by no means been to a sport like that, particularly for girls’s soccer. The followers had been so loud and there is a complete fan part,” Thompson mentioned. “I acquired to see every little thing up shut, and it was superior to look at.”

It was additionally, in accordance with Thompson, one of many first moments that she thought of what it could really feel wish to play for her house workforce.

“Watching them, I used to be identical to, ‘Wow, it could be cool to play right here.’” Thompson mentioned. “And now understanding that I get to play there in entrance of my household, mates and followers, I would not need to be wherever else.”

Regardless of not making the NWSL playoffs final season, Angel Metropolis performed in entrance of 4 sellouts and averaged 19,105 followers for its 11 house video games.

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With the potential return this spring of Christen Press, who tore an ACL final season, and an all-star roster together with one in all Thompson’s idols, Sydney Leroux, Angel Metropolis advised ESPN they count on Thompson to regulate rapidly to the skilled atmosphere and compete straight away for beginning time.

“The expectation that I’ve is that she’s going to return in and compete,” Hucles Mangano mentioned. “She’s going to begin to assist elevate the bar for everybody else along with her aggressive nature. And that is precisely what we need to create and what we need to have when it comes to our tradition as a result of that’s what we have to create and to grow to be that championship sort of workforce.”

On the sector, Thompson mentioned she’s assured in her potential to go one-on-one, because of the numerous hours working towards along with her youthful sister and youth nationwide workforce defender Gisele Thompson.

“I hope that I could be a purpose scorer for them, that I can proceed to get higher and proceed to develop as a participant,” mentioned Thompson, who compares her sport to France’s Kylian Mbappe.

“I feel with my pace that I may be capable of beat defenders on the wing wherever within the entrance line, run behind the again line as effectively, taking up defenders, taking pictures so much, so I may create scoring possibilities, aiding lots of my teammates and having the ability to, if I lose the ball, defend and get again so we may very well be on the assault.”

Thompson, who stays a eager for the 2023 U.S. women’s national team World Cup workforce in New Zealand and Australia, says she is aware of the strain that comes with being a No. 1 choose. However, she added, she feels “prepared for this second.”

“I’ve put in lots of onerous work for this, and I simply must remind myself that I can do that and I am prepared for this,” Thompson mentioned. “Strain makes diamonds, so I simply hope that I’ll thrive.”

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