Most of the time, No. The first-round picks have time to celebrate their success with loved ones and fantasize about their future professional sports careers.
Not so for soccer star Alyssa Thompson, who had to think about her classes the next morning, which were more important.
When Thompson, who is just 18 years old, was chosen as the No. Angel City FC selected him with the number one overall pick in the 2023 NWSL draft, making him the first high schooler ever selected in the league’s history.
She tells Amanda Davies from CNN Sport, “I was very nervous.”
And in the same way that at that exact moment, I was experiencing every emotion. I was simply astonished and unable to comprehend how this could possibly be taking place right now.
The Harvard-Westlake senior insists that, despite having to balance a professional soccer career with her studies, she will not allow her status as a rising star in the NWSL to distract her from her studies.
“I don’t have anything else to do after practicing. So I’ll probably finish my schoolwork,” she says. I’ll do it so long as it helps me graduate.
Whether it’s weekend trips to tournaments or training camps, Thompson is used to juggling school and soccer. In October, she went one step further by making her debut for the US Women’s National Team in a London friendly against European champion England.
Thompson was substituted in for USWNT superstar Megan Rapinoe in front of a packed Wembley Stadium, a memory that will last a lifetime.
That was insane! I have no idea how to put it. I was going in for Megan Rapinoe because I was just really nervous!” She remembers. I don’t think I was even thinking about it at the time.
Thompson will have to get used to lining up alongside the sport’s biggest names. Serena Williams, Natalie Portman, Becky G, Eva Longoria, and Mia Hamm are among the prominent owners of Angel City.
Additionally, the stars are not restricted to the stands. Two-time world champion Christen Press and Thompson’s personal hero Sydney Leroux will be on an all-star team when the NWSL season begins next month.
Inspiring on and off the field
Not only is Thompson becoming the first high school No. 1 pick in the draft She also became the first player of Filipino and Peruvian descent to be selected No. 1. 1, something that she is aware of.
Thompson, despite the fact that she is only 20 years old, not only wants to play soccer, but she also wants to inspire the next generation of girls who participate in the sport.
According to her statement to CNN Sport, “I think that being able to be a woman of color just as a role model for little girls is such an amazing thing.” It’s really cool to be able to look up to someone who looks like you.
Thompson has always been a role model for her younger sisters, Gisele and Zoe, so she is used to being one. Both want to succeed like Thompson.
Along with Alyssa, Gisele was the first high school player to sign a name, image, and likeness agreement with Nike. She is already on that path. She has also emulated her older sister by participating in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup for the USWNT youth teams.
From the time they were able to walk all the way up to the present, when they have played together for the Southern California-based boys’ team Total Futbol Academy of MLS Next, the pair have been inseparable.
Even though Thompson is only 20 years old, she already sees herself as much more than just an athlete. She sees herself as someone who has the potential to motivate a new generation of US soccer players.
She says, “For my youngest sister, Zoe, being able to just be an inspiration for her and a role model for her to look up to, I think has really helped me put things into perspective for what I really want to do and how I want to be a role model for little kids.” “I think has really helped me put things into perspective for what I really want to do.”
While Thompson’s first goal is to play in her first NSWL game in Los Angeles, the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which begins in July, is far more important.
Thompson is eager to be a part of the biggest showpiece in women’s soccer, having played senior international soccer in October and now regularly training with USWNT players at club level.
The young striker faces a challenging task. The United States of America is the tournament’s reigning champion, albeit at a low point, and has the most players to choose from of any team.
Before the US lost to Germany, Thompson made two appearances for the team in defeats to England and Spain. This was the first time the team had lost three games in a row since 1993.
In his bid to lead the United States to a third title in a row, head coach Vlatko Andonovski has very little room for error. Thompson will need to really stand out if she wants to get on the plane that will take her across the Pacific.
According to Thompson, “I’m just going to work hard toward that goal,” and “I’m going to do everything that I can to be able to be able to make the roster.”
“I feel like I have a chance if I continue to grow as a player and thrive in the NWSL environment.”
Although Thompson is accustomed to making the seemingly impossible appear routine, this may be a remote possibility.