By now you probably know that Angel City FC, was also the first player with Peruvian and Filipino heritage to be selected at No. 1?as the first high schooler to go No. 1 and as the youngest player drafted at the age of 18. But did you know that Thomson, a California native out Harvard-Westlake School who's beginning her pro career with her hometown club
Her journey to the pros began much earlier, way before she and her sister Gisele became the first high school athletes to receive an NIL -- name, image and likeness -- deal with Nike back in May. You can trace as far back as her days as a 13-year-old with the Santa Clarita Blue Heat where she played with college players. Just a few years later, she moved to Total Futbol Academy, where she played among the boys in Major League Soccer's youth academy system, MLS Next. She and Gisele were full members of the team and participated in competitive games with the club where they had to learn how to adapt and grow their game from a technical perspective.
Making history and breaking barriers is not uncommon for Thompson, who closed out the 2022 calendar year by being named to the U.S. roster for the 2022 U-20 FIFA Women's World Cup and scored a goal. She also earned two caps with the senior women's national team to end 2022 with a bang as the first senior USWNT player to earn a cap at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London against England in October.
Thompson recently sat down with the Attacking Third podcast to discuss her experience with the youth and senior national teams, her draft day experience and the factors that led to going pro. Thompson revealed that on morning of the draft, she "woke up and then got ready for school."
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Thompson's draft day began like any typical high schooler, attending school with classmates and her sister. When the school bell rang, she hustled her way over to Nike's headquarters in Los Angeles with her family to get ready for the big night. The entire Thompson family attended the watch party in L.A. while the NWSL Draft at the Philadelphia Convention Center took place.
Days before the draft, Angel City FC orchestrated multiple trades involving three other clubs to move up into the No. 1 slot in the draft order, with speculation that the move was made with Thompson as the top pick in mind. The rumors didn't eliminate the nerves for Thompson, who was grateful to be surrounded by family and friends.
"When I got there, I was starting to get a little bit nervous, like sweating a little bit," Thompson joked. "But I was with my sister, Giselle, which was nice, and my little sister Zoe, who distracts me a lot. She's just like, a ball of like energy. So it really helped just like take my mind off of it.
"I was really nervous the whole day and then leading up to the draft, just sitting on the couch, waiting for my name to get called is very scary, too. But I was lucky to be surrounded by my friends and my family, who have been with me throughout my whole journey."
Like any high school athlete, Thompson's schedule consists of balancing homework, studying for tests, getting good grades and squeezing time to play soccer. Outside of high school life, it's family life, staying social and soccer tournaments that takes precedent. Balancing out a schedule has become a common theme for Thompson and education ultimately became the leading factor as to why she decided to go pro straight out of high school.
"A big thing for me was also getting my education while being a pro," Thompson explained. "So, there were just a lot of talks about if my education would be valued while I was playing soccer.
"Just like knowing that I had that other piece outside of soccer was nice. The big part, was being able to get better -- on and off the field -- just as a person, and playing and maturing in this environment, which I wouldn't be able to do anywhere else because it's just a whole different thing. I have to grow up [quickly] at 18. So yeah, the biggest factor was the education ... knowing that I'd still be able to get an education while playing soccer. That was a big factor for me and my family."
Shortly after the long discussions about making the leap to the pros and with the support of her parents, Thompson registered for the draft right just days before the event. After the updated registration list for the draft was completed, all signs pointed toward the Los Angeles native going No. 1 with Angel City. A young player joining a young club, both with massive ambitions in front of them.
After hearing her name called by league commissioner Jessica Berman to kick off the draft festivities, Thompson celebrated with her family Thursday evening but was right back at school on Friday where she was welcomed with extended congratulations from teachers and peers.
"I had an in-class essay in the morning. We have a late start on that day, so we started at 10 o'clock, but I had to get there early to take the in-class [essay] that I missed on Thursday," Thompson revealed.
"So, I went there and took my in-class essay and my teacher welcomed me and was like "congratulations" and stuff like that ... People were coming up to me and congratulating me, which is really cool. A bunch of my friends are saying how cool it was that I was a draft pick ... so they were just all super proud of me, which is really nice."
Thompson will begin her pro career in her hometown while navigating her senior year, an important milestone for any high schooler, let alone the top pick of a draft, with prom, graduation and other traditions to look forward to.