Alyssa Thompson shines in Angel City FC debut towards Club América

Alyssa Thompson spent the day earlier than her first skilled soccer match doing homework.

And we’re not speaking about learning formations, recreation movie or practising method. Instead, Thompson curled up in a nook on the Angel City observe facility and labored on a highschool essay.

Given her expertise and poise, it’s typically simple to overlook that Thompson, the NWSL staff’s largest and most profitable offseason signing, is simply a youngster with three extra months at Harvard-Westlake to complete. For her teammates, a few of whom had been getting ready for school when Thompson was born, the homework has develop into a supply of amusement.

“They’re just like, ‘Oh, I remember when I had to do that,’” Thompson mentioned. “It was funny that I was doing schoolwork [when] we’re all having practice.”

On the sector, nevertheless, Thompson was giving the teachings in her Angel City debut Wednesday, beginning and scoring a panoramic purpose in a 3-0 win over Mexico’s Club América in a preseason pleasant at BMO Stadium.

If there was any doubt Thompson belonged at this degree, she dispelled it within the first 5 minutes.

“Out on the field you couldn’t tell that she’s an 18-year-old,” Angel City coach Freya Coombe mentioned.

A 12 months in the past, Thompson was enjoying soccer in an all-boys’ league and operating observe at Harvard-Westlake. Since then, she’s performed in a U-20 World Cup, appeared in two video games for the senior nationwide staff and was taken with the No. 1 choose in January’s NWSL draft, signing a three-year contract with Angel City.

Now comes the transition to the professional recreation.

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Thompson mentioned she attended college — English class — Wednesday morning together with her sister, then fought off nervousness by sleeping within the automobile as her father drove her to the sport within the afternoon.

But, she added: “I feel like I’m ready.”

She performed prefer it Wednesday, gathering the ball simply contained in the Club América finish within the fifth minute, dribbling via three defenders and outrunning a fourth on a 40-yard sprint up the middle of the sector, then neatly rounding goalkeeper Itzel González and slotting the ball into the middle of the online together with her left foot.

Angel City FC beginning eleven earlier than the sport towards Club América at BMO Stadium on Wednesday.

(Will Navarro / Angel City FC)

As objectives go, it was spectacular. As objectives go on a youngster’s first actual contact as an expert, it was otherworldly.

“I’m still like, soaking it in,” Thompson, who performed 76 minutes, mentioned as she nervously giggled her approach via a postgame information convention. “It’s still shocking, but it’s just an amazing feeling.”

“It definitely helped relax me,” she mentioned of the purpose. “I just felt like everything that I prepared for up to this moment has helped me score that goal. It definitely took some weight off my shoulders.”

But the purpose wasn’t Thompson’s solely contribution on the evening. Playing as the middle ahead in Angel City’s 4-3-3 formation, she had a presence on each ends of the sector, together with her ballhandling and sprinter’s velocity giving América suits. That mixture practically led to a different rating within the thirty third minute with solely a late two-handed stab from González holding the ball out of the purpose.

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Thompson got here near doubling the lead once more within the opening minute of the second half, chipping a ball ahead for Claire Emslie who beat González cleanly solely to be dominated offside. Paige Nielsen ultimately bought the second purpose within the 56th minute earlier than Simone Charley, Thompson’s alternative, closed out the scoring within the eighty fifth minute.

With her professional debut out of the way in which, Thompson’s subsequent milestone is the NWSL season-opener later this month, then her promenade and highschool commencement — occasions which are additionally positive to amuse her teammates, a few of whom have youngsters of their very own. Enrollment at Stanford was alleged to comply with, but when Thompson had second ideas about passing up school for the professionals, they had been dispelled Wednesday.

“Going into this environment, I’m happy with the choice that I made, and I’m going to put everything that I have into this,” she mentioned.