Dreams only become a reality when you actively and intentionally run towards them. Regardless of where your path is headed, one thing remains certain: when those dreams are met with support — you become unstoppable.

For Gisele Thompson, her dreams of excelling in the sport she loves have jumped off the soccer pitch of her dreams and become her reality. Thompson has become one of the youngest players to be signed onto Angel City Football Club’s roster.

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The football club has signed the Los Angeles native defender through the NWSL 2025 Season with an option for 2026. Angel City General Manager Angela Hucles Mangano calls Thompson “an incredibly exciting player with endless potential.”

USED WITH PERMISSION Angel City Football Club

Her agreement with the team was signed four days before her 18th birthday. So, it’s safe to presume that this is only the beginning for the defender of Peruvian, Filipino, and African American descent.

Despite the added pressure that playing a sport professionally can put on someone, Thompson is up for the challenge

Professional sports can be a demanding career. It requires a lot from the player physically, psychologically, and cognitively. To play a sport, you need to have motor skills, reflexes, and force that will help you excel. 

An athlete also needs to know how to control their emotions and fight the evils of distraction. Cognitively, you need to be able to make keen split decisions that will help your team score that goal. Now, add the layer of getting along with the different personalities you encounter on the team.

This pressure can make most people buckle, but Thompson tells FIERCE she’s built for it. 

USED WITH PERMISSION Angel City Football Club

“I feel like I get a lot of pressure from my family and even myself throughout the game. I put a lot of pressure on myself. But even with that pressure, I think it makes me play a lot better,” Thompson expressed.

The Angel City defender explains that this added pressure makes her play better overall. She credits it for being the reason she is where she is today. 

She adds, “Without that pressure, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Sometimes, I think it is a lot [and] for a lot of people, it does hurt [them] mentally. But I think for me, I think it’s helped me throughout my game and throughout my life.”

Although she acknowledges the pressures of playing soccer professionally, Thompson understands the importance of protecting her mental health

So, what does the 18-year-old L.A.-native like to do in her downtime? She likes to bake. Thompson explains that baking helps soothe her mind and helps her “calm down.”

“I love to bake, so whenever I get a chance, I love to bake cookies for my family because they love them. I make cookies for them, and it helps me calm down. Sometimes I like to not think about soccer because, you know, that’s like one part of my life,” Thompson affirmed.

USED WITH PERMISSION Angel City Football Club

She admits that she has taken up other hobbies and has spent more time with friends as a way to decompress. The Harvard-Westlake School senior has created a “balance” for herself by spending time with friends, going to the beach, and reading books.

Another key element to Thompson’s mental health plan? Spending time with her family and her sister Alyssa. Like Thompson, Alyssa (only 13 months older) is also signed to Angel City. So, she understands what Thompson is going through better than anyone.

Thompson and her sister’s relationship can be likened to that of Venus and Serena Williams — both competitive, but at their core, both incredibly devoted sisters

“Alyssa, she’s my closest friend — my best friend. She’s been through everything with me. So whenever I talk to her, she understands everything that I’m talking to her about. I feel like we just get each other so well,” Thompson proclaims.

As the two are close in age, they’ve been able to spend considerable time training together. The two have even played together on a boy’s soccer team to “challenge themselves.” 

Thompson told “Sports Stars of Tomorrow” that her sister has always inspired her. Alyssa has even helped her younger sister become a better player. 

USED WITH PERMISSION Angel City Football Club

In a post on Instagram Thompson shared on Alyssa’s birthday, she says, “Nobody can make me die laughing on the floor other than you. I wouldn’t want to go through life with anyone else. I love you and am so proud of everything you’ve accomplished.”

It shouldn’t go without noting that a lot of the Thompson sisters’ success has been largely impacted by the love, support, and sacrifices their parents have made.

“So I know we have to make a lot of sacrifices for soccer, like not going to different school events — you know, just making sacrifices. But also, our parents had to make a lot of sacrifices for us,” she declares.

The 18-year-old continues, “They have to take us to practice [and] drive us far while they still have work and having to run around doing all of these things for us. I think it’s amazing how they do that, and it [has] helped me and Alyssa as a player.”

In addition to becoming Angel City’s youngest signed soccer player, Thompson is also one of the first high school students to sign a name, image, and likeness deal with Nike

Thompson says being on the Angel City team has “been amazing.” She has also credited the team’s dynamic for making her feel welcome.

“I’ve trained with them since Alyssa signed, and it’s just been a wonderful experience because everyone’s so welcoming. As time passed, they treated me like family, so I already felt like a part of their team. It was just such an amazing experience,” she explained.

The defender tells FIERCE that seeing her sister go through the process of signing to the team made her experience and decision “easier.”

“Seeing Alyssa go through it has made my decision easier. Knowing everyone and getting close [to] all the players had made it so much easier. I’m super excited to be a part of this team and see what we could do this season,” she asserts.

USED WITH PERMISSION Angel City Football Club

Among the many milestones Thompson and her sister achieved, they signed the NIL deal with Nike.

NCSA College Recruiting explains how this is a deal struck between “a student-athlete and a third party,” where the student gets paid every time their name, image, or likeness gets used. Thompson notes that it felt surreal at first.

“At first, when our dad told us about it, it felt like, ‘This is impossible.’ Like, how are they coming to us right now? Because we’ve always worn Nike and never any other brand. So it was crazy to see how Nike could come to us,” she adds. 

Thompson continues, “Alyssa and I would always talk about it in our room like, ‘This is so crazy. How is this our life right now?’ It feels so unreal. So getting that opportunity, especially together, felt so surreal at the moment. We were just so happy and so blessed to have that opportunity.”