Alyssa Thompson can count on USWNT veterans for help
Shining in the spotlight can be tough and that can only be compounded if you’re a teenager. Say that spotlight gets wider and suddenly, you’re a teenager carrying the burden of national expectations…well, what’s a teen to do?
For starters, you can rely on a little help from your friends. For NWSL club Angel City sensation Alyssa Thompson, those friends happen to be the tried-and-true veterans of the U.S. Women’s National Team.
Though questionable how much help she’ll need, the 18-year-old who has been called up a handful of times in the past year has a strong possibility of joining the World Cup roster this summer.
“All the players on my team have been super helpful with just trying to help me know what to expect with international play,” Thompson said. “They really helped me just know what my goal is and tell me what it takes to get there and all the extra details that it takes.”
Angel City has been instrumental in her development, as a professional player and as a student, making sure she’s on track with school and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
“For us, it’s about putting her in the best position for success,” head coach Freya Coombe said. “I think it’s about how we use her in games to keep her fresh and to keep her enjoying the moment, enjoying the sport.
“I think it’s also about working collectively with her support network and managing her school schedule versus training when we’re putting meetings in the week, when we’re asking her to do extra, limiting the amount of additional activities that are non-essential for the club. I think that so far, we’re doing a good job of being able to manage that as a collective group.”
And it is paying off. Thompson is thriving with the club and leads the stats with five starts in six matches and three goals thus far this season.
“She’s been playing really well. I think that we are seeing some variations of her game in terms of the spaces that she’s attacking and where she’s looking threatening,” Coombe said. “I think that we are seeing her develop in a defensive capacity and seeing her both sides of the ball and her defending increasing and being better as the weeks go on.”
The Thompson family must be – deservedly – besides itself with the best kinds of problems at hand: If Alyssa skips the U-20 CONCACAF Championship later this month because of the USWNT nod, her younger sister Gisele will be there.
San Diego Wave also did not release their 18-year-old sensation, Jaedyn Shaw, who has started every game for the club and also boasts a three-goal tally.
“It’s my choice not to release her,” said head coach Casey Stoney. “She’s wanted by the national team. Unfortunately, they don’t run through FIFA windows. And even if they did, the FIFA windows here aren’t even respected. We’ve got six key players out with injuries. It’s my job to look after the club.
“We just can’t release her right now. She’s a starter for us, she’s a main feature. She’s been a key player for us this season and we can’t afford to miss her during this period.”
The Thompson sisters were also the first high school athletes to sign Name, Image and Likeness deals with Nike.
USWNT’s Catarina Macario ruled out of the Women’s World Cup
United States Women’s national team midfielder Catarina Macario will miss out on the 2023 World Cup as she’s still recovering from an ACL tear.
The 23-year-old suffered the long-term injury last June while playing for her club team Lyon. Macario announced via social media that she “won’t be physically ready for selection” nearly a year after the injury.
“The desire to return to play for my club and country has driven my training and fueled my everyday life,” she stated via an Instagram post. “However, what’s most important right now is my health and getting fit and ready for my next club season.”
Despite not taking part in training for Lyon in April, Macario still expressed optimism about being fit in time for the World Cup. However, the recovery has taken longer that expected with the midfielder not featuring for Lyon at all this season.
With the USWNT looking to win their third straight championship, Macario will be supporting her teammates when they travel to Australia and New Zealand.
“I’ll be cheering hard for my teammates at the World Cup, and I look forward to dedicating myself to fight to earn a spot for what I hope will be a long future on the U.S. national team,” she wrote.
Macario’s injury is not the only long-term setback to hit the USWNT. Forward Christen Press, who was key in the 2015 and 2019 World Cup wins, is also still recovering from an ACL tear. The 34-year-old still hopes to recover in time for the tournament.
Forward Mallory Swanson, who suffered a torn torn patella tendon in her left knee just last month, will also not feature for the USWNT.
The USWNT hopes to make it three consecutive World Cup wins but faces a difficult task without three key players in the picture.
FIFA approvedone-time switch for new USMNT player Timothy Tillman
Dual-nationality midfielder Timothy Tillman has committed to the US men’s national team.
FIFA approved the player’s one-time change of association, making him eligible to represent the American team in international competition. Tillman previously formed part of the German national team, playing in official matches at the youth level.
Tillman was born in Nürnberg, Germany to an American father and German mother, allowing the dual-nationality figure to represent both teams at an international level.
Despite playing in Germany for most of his career, last featuring for Greuther Fürth before joining LAFC, the player followed in the footsteps of his older brother Malik Tillman in choosing to sport the Red, White and Blue.
“To represent the United States is obviously making me proud. I’m really honored to do so and I’m looking forward to the future with the United States,” Tillman said in a release. “Telling my family about it was really exciting. As a kid, my brother and I dreamt of playing for a national team together and now we’re one step closer.”
Tillman, who came up through Bayern Munich’s youth system, has impressed since joining the reigning MLS champions in 2023. He’s managed three goals and two assists in 13 matches across all competitions to become a starter under head coach Steve Cherundolo.
The midfielder is the latest dual-nat player to commit to the United States, after Folarin Balogun announced his choice just last week. The two could soon feature for the senior side in the upcoming CONCACAF tournaments as the Nations League semifinals and Gold Cup take place this summer.
Big USMNT news as FC Dallas striker Jesús Ferreira shines
Big news for the USMNT as Ligue 1 striker Folarin Balogun opts for international play with the U.S. over England. But fans should also rejoice as another USMNT striker option, FC Dallas’ Jesús Ferreira, puts in the work to arrive in the best possible shape for the U.S.
The 22-year-old netted in the 89th minute of Dallas’ 1–nil victory over Austin FC last Saturday and scored a brace Wednesday night in their 2–1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps at Toyota Park.
Ferreira now has eight goals in 13 matches this season and is in a three-way tie for second in the 2023 MLS Golden Boot race.
Balogun’s much-awaited announcement certainly pulled the spotlight away with his 19 goals in 34 matches on his loan at Reims from Arsenal this season, Ferreira is doing his part to make himself an attractive option for interim USMNT head coach Anthony Hudson for the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup this summer.
“I’m just setting personal goals for myself and trying to better myself for the team,” Ferreira said after the match. “I’m finding that rhythm I had again, getting into pockets and spaces in the box. My teammates are trusting me to be the guy to score goals, and I’m happy we did a good job today.”
The good news isn’t tied exclusively to USMNT hopes and aspirations as Dallas is also enjoying an upswing from his productivity, sitting in the third spot of the Western Conference with 21 points and are unbeaten in their last three matches.
Ferreira, a Dallas homegrown player, added to his growing tally of milestones as his latest brace is the eighth time in his career that he nets multiple goals and adds to his 44 career goals, putting him in third place in Dallas history two goals behind Kenny Cooper.
His good form has fueled European transfer rumors with Ferreira himself denying a rumor of Serie A champion Napoli putting in an offer for his services.
In the meantime, Ferreira’s focus is on the club he’s called home since 2016.
“At the end of the day we’re a team trying to win games, make the playoffs, and win the MLS Cup,” he said. “We all know that when someone is down we have to support them and continue on and push the next person. The level tonight was there, the guys were hungry and we showed that we’re here to get points.”
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