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How Alyssa Thompson quickly showed she is the real deal

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The National Women’s Soccer League was blessed by the emergence of several high-level rookie players in 2022, but few in league history can claim to have settled in as quickly as Alyssa Thompson.

Described as “a generational talent” by Angel City general manager Angela Hucles after being drafted No. 1 overall earlier this year, Thompson played as if free from pressure in her NWSL debut, scoring her first league goal after 11 minutes.

Showing to receive on the inside-left, the 18-year-old let the ball roll across her, took a touch to separate from an NJ/NY Gotham FC defender, then unleashed a right-footed strike with such venom that the out-stretched leg of Allie Long—and the fingertips of goalkeeper Abby Smith—could merely deflect the ball, not keep it out. Thompson’s first shot as a professional player seared into the top-right corner, sending a sell-out crowd of 22,000 at BMO Stadium into raptures.

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