Jumping into the world of professional sports at 18 years old can’t be an easy decision or transition for a lot of young athletes. But Angel City FC’s youngest signed player made her choice to play with someone very close to her, and that made it all easier.

Gisele Thompson, younger sister of Angel City’s Alyssa Thompson, signed with the squad four days before her 18th birthday, and she credits her 19-year-old sister with helping her make the jump to the NWSL.

“I’ve trained with [Angel City] since Alyssa signed, and it’s just been a wonderful experience because everyone’s so welcoming. As time passed, they treated me like family, so I already felt like a part of their team. It was just such an amazing experience,” Gisele told FIERCE.

Besides Angel City being so welcoming, Gisele also witnessed her sister go through the signing process with the club just 11 months earlier. After seeing the steps and meeting the team, the decision was a no-brainer for Gisele. 

“Seeing Alyssa go through it has made my decision easier. Knowing everyone and getting close [to] all the players had made it so much easier,” Gisele said. “I’m super excited to be a part of this team and see what we could do this season.”

As adults, Alyssa and Gisele get to live out their professional soccer dreams together. But these dreams started when they were just girls — girls who spent much of their time playing on club teams and training together.

When the sisters were younger, they didn’t imagine that they would sign a combined NIL deal with Nike. But when Gisele and her older sister became two of the earliest high school players to sign such a deal, the dream became real. 

“Alyssa and I would always talk about it in our room like, ‘This is so crazy. How is this our life right now?’ It feels so unreal.” Gisele said. “So getting that opportunity, especially together, felt so surreal at the moment. We were just so happy and so blessed to have that opportunity.”

Angel City FC announced on Thursday that it has signed Giesele Thompson through the 2025 season, with an option to extend the contract through 2026.

Thompson is the younger sister of Alyssa Thompson, who was drafted by Angel City last year with the No. 1 overall pick. She became the youngest player to be drafted No. 1 overall, and was a part of the USWNT’s World Cup squad this summer.

The younger Thompson inked the contract on Nov. 28, four days before her 18th birthday – and before she would have had to enter the draft. Instead, Angel City signed her through the NWSL’s U-18 entry mechanism, which requires the consent of the player and their parent or legal guardian.

Thompson told ESPN’s Charlotte Gibson that she always thought she would go to Stanford and play there for college, never imagining she’d go pro so early.

“It feels surreal,” Gisele told ESPN. “I could have never imagined going pro at this young age. … This was never even a thought in my mind that I would go pro this early, but I’m so excited.”

Gisele practiced at points over the past two seasons with the team, alongside Alyssa. In a statement, she said watching her sister go pro has helped her see that she, too, could bring a valuable piece to ACFC.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Angel City to take this next step in my soccer career,” Gisele Thompson said. “It’s such a great organization with an awesome fan base. Being from Los Angeles, I’m really looking forward to trying to bring a championship to my hometown.

“Having been able to watch Alyssa’s pro transition this past year, I’ve been able to really see what it takes to succeed at that level. I’m confident I can come in and contribute, and am also excited for all the growth and learnings ahead.”

General manager Angela Hucles Mangano called Gisele “an incredibly exciting player with endless potential.”

“The opportunity to discover and develop talent from our own backyard is really important to us, and Gisele’s success on the field in her youth career speaks for itself,” she said. ““While she will be joining her sister on our squad, Gisele will no doubt make her own impact on our environment and among the team.”

She also told ESPN that this year will count as Gisele’s first contract year, being that she signed in 2023. The option to extend keeps Gisele with the team for three years.

“Given how high Gisele would’ve been drafted [if she entered], we probably wouldn’t have gotten her with our current selections,” Hucles Mangano said. “We were very intentional and knew the player that we wanted to guarantee and fortunately, we were able to make it work.”

Gisele, who is a highly-touted senior national team prospect, has been a fixture on the U.S. youth teams, winning bronze at the Pan American Games, silver at the 2023 CONCACAF U-20 championship and gold at the U-17 championship. She also was a member of the U-17 World Cup team.

Angel City FC selected 18-year-old phenom Alyssa Thompson with the No. 1 overall pick at the 2023 NWSL draft.

And as Thompson prepares for her first professional season, she is bringing her 17-year-old sister Gisele along for the ride.

A star in her own right at Harvard-Westlake Prep and in the U.S. youth soccer system, Gisele Thompson will join Angel City FC for training throughout the season, as will fellow teenager Mia Minestrella, the team announced Tuesday. Thompson and Minestrella both featured on Angel City FC’s preseason roster.

“I always have someone with me, and that’s Gisele,” Alyssa said of her younger sister last August. “When she’s gone, it’s kind of weird.”

The Thompson sisters took the soccer world by storm in 2022, starting in May, when the pair became the first high school athletes to sign an NIL deal with Nike.

Elder sister Alyssa already has experience with the U.S. women’s national team, earning her first two caps last fall and making her debut at England’s Wembley Stadium, while Gisele played for the USYNT at the U-17 World Cup.

While both committed to play college soccer at Stanford, Alyssa decided to forgo her eligibility to play in the NWSL. But she isn’t leaving her younger sister behind.

“She is my role model,” Gisele said of her sister last April. “She always inspires me. She’s always working hard, we always train together. So whenever she does something, I also want to do something. I push myself as hard as she pushes herself so when I see her giving something her best, that’s how I want to be.”