Tommy Thompson shines in first career start

19 year-old homegrown signing Thompson makes first MLS start

Tommy Thompson’s first MLS start was big success in a 1-1 draw with the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink field on Wednesday night. The 19 year-old homegrown player went 87 minutes before being replaced by Adam Jahn.

“Me and Wondo have built some chemistry over the last month from playing with each other in practice,” Thompson says of partnering with the Earthquakes captain. “He’s a great guy to have with you up top and I thought that showed.”

Both stuck around after practice on Aug. 14 to work on finishing and other skills at Buck Shaw Stadium.

“He’s a great role model for me,” Thompson said of Wondolowski, who has scored 81 goals in MLS play dating to the beginning of the 2010 season.

“His finishing skills are something I’ve never really seen before. I’m hoping to become more like him, whether it’s the shots after practice or the extra time getting touches on the ball. I’m just trying to be the best player I can be.”

Everyone around the club is excited about Thompson’s promise.

The club’s first homegrown signing in January, Thompson, a Loomis native, came to the Earthquakes after starring for one season at Indiana University, playing with his brother Tanner. Tommy quickly excelled in the Earthquakes' academy program and trained early with the first team

During his transition from Division I college play to MLS, Thompson endured five months of rehabilitation after arthroscopic knee surgery.

Now, Thompson, who turned 19 on Aug. 15, is healthy, hungry and turning heads with a number of teams. He's displayed his rare attacking qualities also with the Quakes’ Sacramento affiliate and the under-20 national team.

The Quakes, who have brought him along slowly because of his youth and the knee, are clearly happy with his progress. Coach Mark Watson was excited to see Thompson selected to the MLS homegrown team, which faced the Portland Timber under-23s.

“It’s a big moment,” Watson said of Thompson’s selection. “The structure’s set up where they want the clubs to develop the players, so it’s a big deal for us and, hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come. We know we’re in a great area, and, hopefully, Tommy is the first of many young players who will be a part of us.”

Thompson is thrilled about all the support he’s received from fans who want to see him play.

“Definitely,” Thompson said. “I see the support on Twitter. I love the excitement. I love the support, and I can’t wait to show everyone what I can do.”

He knows he’s landed in a great spot with the Quakes, especially with the team’s new stadium set for a 2015 MLS debut.

It’s all coming together nicely for him. The knee is feeling great too.

“There couldn’t have been a better time to come in,” Thompson said. “I got great rehab done. That injury was somewhat of a serious one, so I’m glad I got the professional help here in San Jose. It’s given me a nice adjustment period this past year.

"I’m hoping to make an impact toward the last push of the season and, hopefully, have more of an impact next year as well.”

-- Richter Media