USWNT phenom Alyssa Thompson 'will make a case' for World Cup spot but coach Vlatko Andonovski offers warning
- Youngest draft pick in NWSL history
- Made USWNT debut last year
- But left off recent squads
WHAT HAPPENED? Thompson is not in the latest USWNT squad despite scoring five minutes into her first NWSL game with Angel City on March 9 and continuing to drum up excitement as one of the best young American stars.
Andonovski explained his decision-making on Thompson during a conversation with reporters on Tuesday, claiming she was still in the running for a World Cup spot this summer but warning that he didn't want to tarnish her enjoyment of soccer.
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WHAT THEY SAID: “If there’s a coach that believes in Alyssa Thompson, it would probably be me,” Andonovski said. “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. So that speaks of how much I value Alyssa and how much I believe in her.
“I think that she has a lot of potential and I do believe that she will make a case for a [World Cup] roster spot. Part of the reason why she was in those [fall] camps was that if it happens that she has a good season and earns a roster spot for the World Cup, that it’s not her first camp. She already has experience being in the environment, understands the dynamics in the environment. She has already played in big matches against good opponents, so the transition is not as hard for her.”
AND WHAT'S MORE: In a warning about her status, though, the coach added: “I do want to point out one thing about Alyssa. At this point the most important thing is that she enjoys the game, that she enjoys her club environment because we don’t want to put too much pressure on her. She’s a young player, a talented player, a good player and all she needs to do is just to enjoy the game.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Thompson is part of a promising crop of talented young USWNT attackers. Trinity Rodman (20), Sophia Smith (22), Catarina Macario (23) and Mallory Swanson (24) are just a few of the players who will foster a fierce competition for starting spots along the team's front-line.
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WHAT NEXT FOR THE USWNT? Andonovski's squad will be in action on April 8 against the Republic of Ireland.