Alyssa Thompson receiving her first U.S. senior national team call-up was a matter of when, not if.
It happened a lot sooner than even she expected.
“I was shocked,” Thompson said when she got the call from national team coach Vlatko Andonovski. “I was speechless, but very excited and a little nervous.”
Thompson, a 17-year-old high school senior at Harvard-Westlake, was called up to the national team camp for a pair of friendlies, starting Friday against England (Noon, Fox 11) at Wembley Stadium and Tuesday in Spain (11:30 a.m., ESPN2).
She is the youngest player to receive a call-up to the senior team since 2017 when Sophia Smith joined the group at 16.
“We’re very excited for her, very excited about potential and qualities,” Andonovski told reporters last week. “We’re looking forward to seeing how she’s going to turn out in our environment.
“This camp is not make or break it. It’s a first experience for her. It’s something that she shouldn’t really worry about. It’s great experience for her and good exposure and it’s also a good experience for us to work with her and we will see what happens from there.”
With Mallory Pugh having to leave camp, the U.S. is now left with five forwards, including Thompson.
Thompson is no stranger to the national team system. She was the second-youngest player on the U.S. U-20 World Cup team in August. She had a goal and an assist. Her younger sister, Gisele, is with the U-17 team for the FIFA World Cup that starts next week.
Thompson had eight appearances with the U-20s and will be eligible for the 2024 U-20 World Cup.
“I started playing when I was five and she was four,” Thompson recalls about their introduction soccer. “Our parents put us in a bunch of sports – basketball, track, volleyball – but we decided we could be good at soccer.”
Thompson’s sophomore year at Harvard-Westlake was a special one. She scored 48 goals and added 14 assists in 17 games, leading the Wolverines to the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 and SoCal Regional championships. She also earned Gatorade National Player of the Year honors.
Harvard-Westlake’s Alyssa Thompson was named the 2020-21 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year. (Gatorade)
That was her last year playing high school soccer.
She’s the only girl playing for Total Futbol Academy’s U-17 team in MLS Next and she also plays with Santa Clarita Blue Heat in the United Women’s Soccer League.
“Playing with the youth national teams, being in the World Cup and playing in MLS Next have set me up to be in this position,” Thompson said. “It’s been amazing and playing against older players have helped me get better.”
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Alyssa’s future is as bright as any, but she wants to take things at her pace.
She eventually wants to play with her sister at Stanford, to which they’re both committed. The duo have already signed an Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) deal with Nike.
“Stanford has a great soccer program and is amazing academically,” she said. “Getting a degree from there will go a long way because you can’t play (soccer) your whole life.
“In 3-4 years, I hope to be on the national team and have all of those opportunities and experiences that are going to help me grow in the game.”
United States at England
When: Noon Friday
Where: Wembley Stadium, London
TV: Fox 11