Nike Signs First High School NIL Deal With Soccer-Playing Sisters From Los Angeles

(Video USA Soccer/Nike)

Alyssa and Gisele Thompson become the first high school athletes to be signed by Nike for name, image and likeness representation. The Thompson sisters are teammates on the soccer team at Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles, and are among the best U-20 soccer players in the country.

Alyssa, a junior, and Gisele, a sophomore, helped their respective U-20 and U-17 USA national soccer teams win championships this year. Alyssa and Team USA won the U-20 CONCACAF gold medal in March in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Gisele and Team USA won the U-17 CONCACAF championship in Santo Domingo, in May. Alyssa also won the 100 meters at the CIF-SS Division 3 Track and Field Finals earlier this month.

Both sisters have committed to playing soccer at Stanford University and have worked with the school to maintain their NCAA eligibility.

On Alyssa, who is the reigning Gatorade National Player of the Year, an opposing coach marveled at the then sophomore’s game play maturity.

“Alyssa Thompson is on a different level than her other high school counterparts,” said Justin Schroeder, head coach of Newport Harbor High. “Her game is refined in a way you’d think she’d be in her mid-20s with her ability to recognize what’s happening on the field. I am looking forward to seeing her in a World Cup final one day.”

Gisele credits big sister Alyssa as her “role model.” Like in many sibling relationships, they push each other to be their best. The older sibling generally sets the bar and the younger one tries to match or surpass. Separated by only 13 months, there is also a closeness they share.

“She always inspires me. She’s always working hard. We always train together, so whenever she does something, I also want to do something,” said Gisle. “I push myself as hard as she pushes herself. When I see her doing something at her best, that’s how I want to be.”

It may not end with Alyssa and Gisele for the Thompson family. They have a 10-year-old sister Zoe who is also a top soccer player in her age group. Breaking ground and setting records seems to be this family’s business. No doubt we’ll continue to see great things from the Thompson’s.

Beginning on July 1, 2021 the NCAA allowed college student-athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness. A landmark moment for the collegiate sports governing body that capitalized and profited for decades off the exploitation of its member institutions’ unpaid labor force.

As it pertains to high school athletes, they are bound by state laws and rules formed by their high school associations. As the Thompson sisters reside in California they are able to profit off their name, image, and likeness. Their deal with Nike is a multiyear commitment involving monetary compensation.

Elite high school and college athletes are revenue generators. They should be allowed to reap the rewards of their labors. In no other segment of a capitalist society do individuals who provide labor not get paid. Athletics is no different.