Teenage soccer sisters built mogul-like resumes: USWNT, movie cameo, now a tech investment

Alyssa and Gisele Thompson have never been much interested in taking the traditional path.

Teenage soccer

He was the first high school athlete to sign a zero deal with Nike. Alyssa was the first high school student to be selected No. 1 in the NWSL draft by Angel City FC, while Gisele signed with the team as a free agent while she was still in high school.

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They’ve already made a cameo in a movie with Jennifer Garner and announced last week that they’re becoming stakeholders in TOCA Football, a network of training facilities that rely heavily on technology for player development . On Wednesday, BodyArmor announced it is now partnering with the sisters, along with a new agreement with US Soccer.

Teenage soccer sisters built mogul-like resumes: USWNT, movie cameo, now a tech investment

All this, and the Thompson sisters are still teens. Alyssa, a forward on last summer’s United States World Cup team, turned 19 in November. Defender Gisele, who will play in the U-17 World Cup in 2022, celebrated her 18th birthday a month later.

“It has always been about being more than football. “We don’t really want to see ourselves as just football players,” Gisele said.

The Zero deal with Nike “was our first thing,” Alyssa said, “and we said, ‘Wow. We can really step outside the realm of football a little bit.'”

Thompson isn’t the first teenage athlete to become a budding business mogul. Serena Williams signed with Puma at the age of 16. At 19 years old, Coco Gauff’s portfolio of sponsorships ranges from athletic wear to pasta to package shippers.

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But being able to use the sport as a gateway to opportunities in business and other fields early in a career used to be reserved for tennis players and Olympians. Being able to create a brand that can endure long after one’s athletic career has ended used to be reserved for male athletes.

What the Thompson sisters are doing now reflects their talent as well as the changing landscape for athletes. Especially female athletes.

Abby Wambach talks about receiving the ESPY Icon Award with Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant and realizing as she walked off the stage how different their fates were — literally and figuratively — even though all three of them were at great heights in their sports. Were at the peak.

“I didn’t have much to show for it financially,” said Wambach, a World Cup champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist and sometime all-time international scoring leader.

Wambach said, “Their biggest concern was how they were going to invest the millions of dollars that they had rightfully earned.” “And mine was… how was I going to find a job, get health insurance, be able to pay my mortgage that month.”

But thanks to Zero, and skyrocketing interest in women’s sports, there are more opportunities than ever for female athletes. And they don’t need to wait until they are experienced to take advantage of it.

“We’re always very thankful and appreciative because we wouldn’t be in this position without the players who came before us and what they did to get it to the level that it is now,” Alyssa Thompson said. “We can still push it further and try to get to where the men are. But it’s definitely great that we get these opportunities.”

As he has begun to build his “brand” outside of football, Thompson has received advice from family members. The best thing to do is to stay true to themselves, stick with companies and brands they already use or admire.

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He said he wore Nike gear growing up, so it wasn’t a problem. He trained at TOCA while he was still in grade school.

TOCA facilities are similar to tennis or golf clubs, with spaces for training and socializing. But Thompson said what he appreciated during his time at TOCA was the technology the club uses to measure a player’s performance.

“Immediately after the work is done, you get your stats,” said Gisele Thompson.

Alyssa added, “I think it helped us realize that you don’t really learn when you’re that young. You’re just like, ‘I’m on the field, running around.’ But really, when you’re at TOCA, you have to be aware of a lot of different things, so having that was really helpful for our development.

The sisters moved to Total Soccer and eventually played for the club’s under-19 boys’ team, which is part of the league’s feeder system MLS Next. Both were stars in the American youth system and are expected to be cornerstones of the USWNT for the next decade.

But Thompson wants to be more than a football star. Both have interests beyond sports – Gisele “loves baking” – and have friends who don’t even care about football, let alone play it. They want their business interests to reflect who they are as both athletes and people, knowing that their careers after football will last much longer than their time as players.
And starting now, when their professional careers are just getting started, they hope that after they’re done playing, they’ll have the kind of options that have long been taken for granted to star male athletes.

“It’s very important for us to do this,” said Alyssa Thompson. “We are still very young in our careers and it is hard to think about what we want to do after this. We want to be financially stable. Whatever has come our way, we just want to be okay with the decisions we have made in the future.”

Because those decisions could have a lasting impact on Thompson and the female athletes who come after her.

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