Alyssa and Gisele Thompson on building their business, playing for the USWNT and tech support

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Angel City’s Alyssa and Gisele Thompson, both still teenagers, announced this week that they would be forming a new partnership with Toca Football, as well as becoming stakeholders in the company. Toca was founded by former USMNT player Eddie Lewis and has provided training services to both MLS and NWSL players.

This partnership continues the sisters’ trend of developing the business side of their careers alongside the soccer — development that more and more players are taking advantage of at younger and younger ages, especially with the advent of NIL. The Thompson sisters had their own name, image, likeness deal with Nike as high schoolers in 2022, before Alyssa went pro in 2023, and then Gisele followed at the end of the year, both signing multi-year contracts with Angel City. 

Now they’ve set themselves up with multiple business partnerships, including with investment bank Stifel, and they’re both working their way into the U.S. women’s national team roster, with Gisele most recently called into training camp with the WNT’s Gold Cup roster. 

The sisters spoke to The Athletic about handling the trajectories of their careers, their favorite workouts, and which of them would crumble if she lost her phone.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

How’s preseason so far?

Gisele Thompson: It’s really good. I’m having a lot of fun and just being able to actually be on the team, because last year I wasn’t on the team, I was just chatting with them. But being able to actually be on the team and play with all the players, they’re all super welcoming and super nice. And it’s been really easy to connect with them because we have a very young team, so it’s just really fun. 

Toca says that they’re a “tech-enhanced experience.” And I’m just wondering if a young player is coming to you and is like, “I’ve never really stepped into that kind of training environment,” what does tech-enhanced mean?

Alyssa Thompson: It just means that you are using the machine as help. You don’t really need anyone else. There’s a trainer that’s helping you and teaching you how to use it and where your body positioning should be but it’s more just having something that’s always going to be consistent, like with passes or with a ball in the air or anything like that. 

Do you guys have a particular favorite machine? Like, this drill, I really vibe with it. I really enjoy trying to beat a record or get good at this.

AT: I think the (Touch Trainer) where all of the goals are lighting up and you have to be super aware of which is lighting up, which is going, and then making sure you hit the target. And I like being in competition with somebody, so if me and Gisele do it together it’s fun to see who does better and it makes you want to work harder.

The announcement about your partnership with them also said you’re becoming stakeholders in the company. I feel like younger and younger players are setting themselves up on the business side these days. What’s the discussion been between you or your family, your agent, whoever, about choosing partnerships, building the business side of your career?

GT: Well, we choose businesses that we’d love, and I think all of our all of the partnerships that we’ve been in, has been like Nike, who we’ve worn forever and we love them and what they like stand for, giving us a platform to help them grow and also make young girls keep playing and believe in themselves. I think that’s what they stand for. And also Stifel, having something to help with our money has been super helpful for us. 

AT: Toca just adds to that. We played there when we were younger, we went to clinics. And it’s so cool that we get to be partners with them now and be able to train there.

Was there any other player or anybody in your family or someone you trusted who talked to you about how to navigate this and pick cool stuff, but also secure the bag?

AT: I think it’s nice having our family that really supports us. They are really helpful in leading us to good partnerships, and also our agent. He really helps us a lot to find different deals and kind of comb through what deals we should have and what we like and how that aligns with different partners and brands. And I think that’s been super helpful because it takes a lot of the stress off of us to find what we really like or if this is good for a long-term thing. I think all the brands we partner with, we want to stay with them for a long time and be long-term partners with them. 

We’re seeing some cross-sport investment, obviously Naomi Osaka with the Courage and she brought on Ons Jabeur. Do you guys ever see yourself down the road, maybe you would do the same thing, investing in some other sport. Like is there a sport where you’re particularly interested — tennis, golf, basketball, something?

(Both sisters laugh.)

Oh, too far down the road.

AT and GT: Yeah. 

Gisele, you got a call into national team camp ahead of the Gold Cup. I’m just wondering if you guys discussed what to expect, do’s and don’ts, ‘you’ll be okay if you do this, but if you don’t do this, you won’t be okay.’ That sort of thing. 

GT: I feel like not really. I feel like Alyssa doesn’t really tell me what to expect a lot. I feel like she wants me to experience on my own, which is kind of nice, because going through it, obviously meeting the players and all of that is super overwhelming. But also everyone was super welcoming to me. And it made it so much easier to be myself on the field and also have relationships off the field. So I think going through the experience on my own was kind of nice.

Not to blow up your spot. Was there anyone in particular you met where you’re like, ‘oh, I watched you growing up’?

GT: I feel like all of them. Going to the World Cup and watching them there, it’s super crazy watching them from the field or in the stands, and now playing with them is such a surreal moment. And especially watching them when I was younger to now being able to play with them is crazy. 

So, some quick-fire questions that are gonna be tech related for you guys, mostly. I saw on the B-roll footage that Toca filmed that Alyssa was driving when you guys pulled up. Is one of you a better driver than the other?

AT: I think we’re the same.

Does one of you prefer to drive?

AT: I feel like I like to drive. Well, I don’t like to, but I drive more in the morning and Gisele drives later in the day. Like if we’re going together, I’ll drive to practice and she’ll drive coming back.

Which one of you is better with technology? 

AT and GT (simultaneously): I think I am.

Can you elaborate? I know it was quick-fire but now we’ve got a conflict.

AT: (laughing) I just feel like I’m way better.

GT: No, I feel like I use technology way more.

AT: (skeptically) Okay. 

If you have a phone problem, which Angel City teammate do you go to first? Or are they coming to you?

AT: Yeah, they’re probably coming to us.

(Both laughing again.)

Which one of you is more likely to click like a bad link in an email or again, is that something your teammates are more likely to do?

AT: I would not click a link.

GT: Yeah, me too.

Have you had to explain any tech to your teammates or apps or anything like that?

AT: Um, BeReal. This one time someone asked about what that was. I don’t have it, but…

Neither of you has a BeReal but do you think that if you had it, you would always be posting late and getting that penalty where it’s like, uh oh, you didn’t post at the time that we said to post, or would you be on it?

GT: I feel like I’d be on it. I used to have it and like that notification just annoyed me so I deleted the app.

Which one of you would be more in trouble if you lost your phone?

AT: I’d probably be more upset.

GT: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Which one of you would be able to navigate the day without your phone better? 

GT: Oh, Alyssa. 

I’m so bad about this. I have to drive now to a place like 50 times before I can remember it because GPS is just always there.

AT: I feel like I’m good at knowing locations and stuff. I just like to know what time I’m gonna get there. That’s why I like using GPS.

If you could get any tech product — doesn’t have to be a sponsor — but anything in your hands right now. What would it be?

GT: Honestly, the new (Apple) Vision Pro, I think that’d be pretty cool.

(Photo: Toca)





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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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