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USWNT World Cup player preview: Get to know Alyssa Thompson

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Alyssa Thompson is the USWNT's youngest player in New Zealand at 18 years old. (Lachlan Cunningham/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Plenty of new faces are heading Down Under with the U.S. women’s national team for the World Cup. Just Women’s Sports is taking a look at a few of the newcomers and introducing them to fans new and old.

Alyssa Thompson

Age: 18 years old
Position: Forward
USWNT debut: October 7, 2022 vs. England
Total caps: 4

How has she looked in her NWSL season?

After being selected first overall in the 2023 NWSL Draft, Thompson has had a solid start to her first professional season with Angel City FC. She scored mere minutes into her NWSL regular season debut, after scoring just five minutes into her professional debut against Liga MX Femenil.

Since then, Thompson has continued to make history in a league that’s in the midst of a youth movement, from San Diego’s Jaedyn Shaw and Melanie Barcenas to Portland’s Olivia Moultrie. Through 13 matches, Thompson has three goals and an assist and has earned NWSL Rookie of the Month honors. The forward has showcased both her finishing abilities and field vision as Angel City has tried to keep pace in a competitive NWSL.

According to Angel City teammate and New Zealand captain Ali Riley, Thompson has “lived up to all the hype.”

What does she bring to the USWNT?

Thompson has limited experience with the USWNT, having earned her first cap last year against England at Wembley Stadium. Since then, she’s made just three other appearances, including getting called into April friendlies against Ireland after Mallory Swanson went down with an injury.

“The environment of a pro is very similar to (the national team). There’s a little bit more pressure here,” Thompson said in April. “But Angel City has prepped me really well for this. I’m just continuing to grow my skills and continuing to grow as a player.”

Thompson will most likely serve as a depth forward for the USWNT at the World Cup. She has the ability to break down opposing defenses, but she is still developing in other areas. Described as a “generational player” by her club and widely considered the future of the USWNT, Thompson will use the tournament as an opportunity to learn from her peers and get valuable experience.

“I feel like I belong. When I’m on the field, the players are helping me just build confidence,” Thompson said following the roster announcement. “I know a lot of the players just talk a lot to me, which helps my confidence in the games and stuff like that. So definitely on the field, I feel more confident and like I belong and I’m supposed to be here.”

What have USWNT coaches and teammates said about Thompson?

Vlatko Andonovski, head coach: “Alyssa Thompson, I mean, she’s an exciting player. If there is a person that believes in Alyssa Thompson, or a coach that believes in Alyssa Thompson, it’d probably be me. Not long ago, when she was 17 years old, her first cap was against one of the best teams in the world in front of 80,000 people, and that was a decision that I made.

“She’s a young player, talented player, good player, and all she needs to do is just enjoy the game that she plays, focus on what she does best and allow the people that are making the decision to make the decision for her.”

Crystal Dunn, defender: “She is really hard to stop and to beat. She’s really great on the dribble. I think she’s someone who’s honed in on her talent and that’s really what brings you success, especially in club but also playing for the national team, is really knowing what you’re good at and executing that and consistently doing that. So, I think she’s shown and proven that in club, and I think that’s honestly what has really allowed her to be seen by obviously everybody — domestically in the league, but also now at the biggest stage.”