Angel City FC to select NWSL Draft No. 1 pick

Teen soccer sensation Alyssa Thompson has raised the bar for herself, her family and girls's soccer. Now, she's poised to join Angel City FC as the top selection in the upcoming 2023 NWSL Draft.

Ahead of the 2023 NSWL Draft, as part of the second-most expensive deal in NWSL history in terms of allocation money, Angel City FC positioned themselves to sign top prospect, 18-year-old Los Angeles native, Alyssa Thompson, the youngest U.S. WNT player since Mallory (Pugh) Swanson. In a multi-team trade deal with the Portland Thorns and Gotham FC, Angel City traded its natural first-round pick in the 2023 Draft, second-round natural pick for 2024 and sent $200,000 in allocation money to Portland for midfielder Yazmeen Ryan, then traded Ryan and $250,000 in allocation money to Gotham for the top pick in the upcoming January 12th draft. Thompson, the Harvard-Westlake high school sensation, skyrocketed to national headlines when she got called up to the USWNT senior team by Vlatko Andonovski to participate in friendlies in Europe in 2022. As she subbed in for Megan Rapinoe, one of the women she watched on tv all her life, at Wembley Stadium in front of a crowd of 77,000, Thompson was still starstruck by her teammates and in awe of the experience. She’d just become the 70th teenager to earn a cap for the WNT and the youngest to debut for the senior squad since then 17-year-old Pugh made her first cap in 2016. Just as USWNT teammates Lindsay Horan and Mallory Pugh Swanson before her, Thompson, previously committed to Stanford University, has reportedly declared for the upcoming draft, and chosen to turn pro before attending college.

After finishing in 8th place in their inaugural season with a 8-9-5 record, and missing the NWSL playoffs, Angel City are looking to build on their still promising start by adding the rising soccer sensation to the roster. “We know that in order to achieve these goals, we have to set ourselves up for on-field success for many years to come, which is why we wanted to be able to control our destiny with the No. 1 overall draft pick of the 2023 Draft,” said ACFC General Manager Angela Hucles Mangano. “We are focused on making as big of an impact on the field as possible, and we look forward to being able to do so in our second season.”

Excellence in athletics runs deep in Thompson’s family. Her father, Mario, a school principal was a basketball and football player and track star, while her mother Karen, was a basketball player. “I’m a competitor, and I’ve raised competitors,” Mario Thomspson. But it’s her relationship with her younger sister, Gisele that truly makes Alyssa light up on and off the pitch. Gisele, one year her junior, has joined Alyssa throughout their entire lives as soccer soul sisters and best friends. They’ve shared a room and dreams. Together, they’ve balanced life, school, and soccer. Gisele was training for the U-17 World Cup with the USWNT when Alyssa got her call up to the senior side. They’ve also made history together. They were the first high school athletes to sign a deal with Nike to use their name, image and likeness in promos and advertisements.

The soccer sisters styles on the pitch complement each other too. While Alyssa’s got a nose for goal scoring, Gisele is most adept at defense. Like the famous Williams sisters, their father has been instrumental in driving his dynamic daughters to pursue their natural abilities. He enrolled them in Total Futbol Academy when they were 8 and 9 years old so they could practice with the boys. When it became dangerous to continue playing with the boys’ teams, instead they played up with women 4-5 years older. They were the only high school students at Santa Clarita Blue Heat, a second division United Women’s Soccer League team. Constantly seeking greater challenges and depth, Alyssa and Gisele went back to TFA after Alyssa’s sophomore year as part of MLS Next. Training and playing against boys, generally perceived as being faster and stronger, provided Alyssa the platform she needed to excel. She runs the second fastest 100 meters in California, but her talents go well beyond that. Even though she wasn’t called in by Andonovski for the USWNT friendlies in January, Alyssa will continue to impress on the international level. “Alyssa is a very creative player with a very good understanding of the game,” said Andonovski

And, if all goes according to her father’s plan, she’ll be pivotal in raising the bar for Angel City FC in 2023.  “I know when she does play with women at a high level, she’ll be fine.”

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