LOS ANGELES — When forward Alyssa Thompson found out she was going to play for the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) in the 2023 Women’s World Cup, she was shocked. But after recognizing her hard work in soccer, she knows it was worth it.
Thompson missed her senior prom and graduation playing the sport.
“It feels really amazing. I was really shocked and surprised. But honestly, I did everything that I could to be able to put myself in this position, so it feels really relieving that all my hard work paid off.”
Thompson was selected to represent the USWNT in the World Cup on Wednesday by head coach Vlatko Andonovski, making her the youngest player on the roster, and second youngest player ever to be named to a USWNT World Cup roster.
Thompson was first called up to the USWNT when she was 17 years old, appearing in International Friendlies against England and Spain. Now, she is on the roster for the World Cup at 18 years old.
“In England, we were really happy to see her in training but also how she dealt with pressure in front of 80,000 people… For us, Alyssa is a great player with some exceptional skill and exceptional abilities, and she is going to be important for us in the World Cup,” Andonovski said.
At such a young age, Thompson is learning from veterans. In particular, she is relying on her Angel City teammate, midfielder Julie Ertz, who was also selected to represent the USWNT in the 2023 World Cup.
“Yeah, I have been asking a lot of questions about packing and stuff because I am going to be gone for like two months, so I don’t know what to pack, I asked [Ertz] what is essential, I asked her advice, like everything because I have no idea. I’ve never experienced the World Cup… It is really helpful having her on the team.”
While supporting Thompson, Ertz will relish her third World Cup with a similar desire to win as her previous two. She was a part of the USWNT when they on in 2015 and 2019.
“There’s always drive to win,” Ertz said. “I think that’s kind of ingrained in any athlete that wants to compete and play their best.”
The USWNT plays Wales in their send-off game on July 9 in San Jose, California. Then, their World Cup journey begins on July 21 against Vietnam.