USL News Release
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. – United Soccer Leagues announced today that MLS veteran Abe Thompson has joined its management team to oversee its newest and most progressive youth initiative, the Next Generation Series (NGS). Thompson will serve as NGS Director, overseeing all matters related to NGS administration, operations, and competition. He will also be involved with the continued growth and development of the Super Y-League and Super-20 League under the direction of Youth Leagues, Senior Director Jason Arnold.
In his new role Thompson will also work closely with club administrators and NGS partner IMG Academy, while also assisting with league expansion initiatives and managing league events.
"Abe Thompson is the perfect choice for NGS Director as he has the experience and understanding of the national soccer landscape necessary to manage the unique philosophy NGS represents," USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. "NGS will focus on developing and educating not only players, but coaches and parents as well, and Abe’s background and the relationships he has developed at all levels of the game will be of great benefit as NGS gets underway and grows."
Thompson joins USL following an eight-year professional career that started in 2005 when he was selected in the second round of the MLS Supplemental Draft by FC Dallas. He appeared in 69 games during four seasons in Dallas, tallying 14 goals and adding 11 assists. He was traded to Kansas City in 2008, appearing in 16 games before joining the Houston Dynamo midway through the 2009 season.
Thompson spent the past three seasons with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, tallying 17 goals and nine assists in 64 games and also serving as an assistant coach in 2012.
"I am excited for this opportunity," Thompson said. "There is an abundance of talented players in this country, and I am looking forward to helping develop and nurture their potential. By working with the nation’s most progressive youth soccer clubs, NGS will provide a vehicle for these players to identify the aspects of their game that require attention, as well as expose them to elite levels of training, competition, and evaluation."
Also a respected youth coach, Thompson served as director of coaching for the Hollywood Wildcats Soccer Club for the past year, coordinating club-wide training sessions and training and monitoring the club’s coaches. He also created the club’s code of conduct, tryout format and coach and player evaluation format, and conducted clinics and oversaw tournament selection.
As a youth player, Thompson represented the United States with the U17 National Team at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand, and also earned the Golden Boot as his club team, the Braddock Road Warhawks, captured the 1999 USYS U17 national championship.
He moved on to the University of Maryland, scoring 43 goals and adding 26 assists in 79 games for the Terrapins, becoming the school’s all-time points leader (112). During his career he was named a NSCAA third team All-America selection, an All-ACC first team selection, and a two-time Hermann Trophy semifinalist, while also being named the 2002 ACC Tournament MVP.
Thompson also has experience in the USL’s PDL, playing for both the Chesapeake Dragons and the Boulder Rapids Reserves.