Updated News Around the World

Alyssa Thompson shines in Angel City FC debut against Club América

Alyssa Thompson spent the day before her first professional soccer match doing homework.

And we’re not talking about studying formations, looking at game film or practicing technique. Instead, Thompson curled up in a corner at the Angel City practice facility and worked on a high school essay.

Given her talent and poise, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Thompson, the NWSL team’s biggest and most lucrative offseason signing, is just a teenager with another semester to finish at Harvard-Westlake. For her teammates, some of whom were preparing for college when Thompson was born, the homework has become a source of amusement.

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

On the field, however, Thompson was giving the lessons in her Angel City debut Wednesday, starting and scoring a breathtaking goal in a 3-0 win over Mexico’s Club América in a preseason friendly at BMO Stadium.

If there was any doubt Thompson belonged at this level, she dispelled it in the first five minutes.

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

“She’s given that opportunity and she’s growing in confidence. We’re starting to see her express herself more. It’s allowing her to feel comfortable in her environment where then we can challenge her to bring the best out of her.”

Getting comfortable may still be a work in progress for Thompson, who was playing soccer in an all-boys’ league and running track at Harvard-Westlake at this time last year. Since then, she’s played in a U-20 World Cup, appeared in two games for the senior national team and was taken with the No. 1 pick in January’s NWSL draft, signing a three-year contract with Angel City.

Now comes the transition to the pro game.

“The players have been in the league for so long and they’ve just grown into themselves,” said Thompson, who went 76 minutes in her debut. “I’m still 18 and I’m still learning and growing and trying to strengthen myself.”

Angel City FC starting eleven before the game against Club América at BMO Stadium on Wednesday.

(Will Navarro / Angel City FC)

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

She played like it Wednesday, gathering the ball just inside the Club América end in the fifth minute, dribbling through three defenders and outrunning a fourth on a 40-yard dash up the center of the field, then neatly rounding goalkeeper Itzel González and slotting the ball into the center of the net with her left foot.

As goals go, it was spectacular. As goals go on a teenager’s first real touch as a professional, it was otherworldly. And it wasn’t Thompson’s only contribution on the night. Playing as the center forward in Angel City’s 4-3-3 formation, she had a presence on both ends of the field, with her ballhandling and sprinter’s speed giving América fits. That nearly led to another score in the 33rd minute with only a late two-handed stab from González keeping the ball out of the goal.

Thompson came close to doubling the lead again in the opening minute of the second half, chipping a ball forward for Claire Emslie who beat González cleanly only to be ruled offside. Paige Nielsen eventually got the second goal on a scramble in front of the net in the 56th minute before Simone Charley, Thompson’s replacement, accounted for the final score in the 85th minute.

With her pro debut out of the way, Thompson’s next milestone is the NWSL season opener later this month, then her prom and high school graduation — events that are also sure to amuse her teammates, some of whom have kids of their own. Enrollment at Stanford was supposed to follow, but if Thompson had second thoughts about passing up college for the pros, they were 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 said. “I’m going to try not to look back on what could have happened and just be in the now and what I can do.”

For all the latest Sports News Click Here 

 For the latest news and updates, follow us on Google News

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! NewsUpdate is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.