Thompson brothers reunite in San Jose
A dominant force was born in San Jose this week as Ty Thompson went 69th overall to the San Jose Earthquakes in the fourth round of the MLS SuperDraft on Tuesday. With the selection, the eldest Thompson brother has the chance to join the youngest, Tommy, on the pitch this season for the Earthquakes.
“I was thinking about that before the draft,” Ty admitted when asked of the prospect of rejoining his brother. “And I actually hoped (this) would happen.”
Ty became the fourth soccer player from Granite Bay High School to be drafted into the MLS following Ryan Hollingshead, Connor Hallisey and his brother, Tommy.
Ty, who graduated from Stanford this past fall, joined his collegiate teammates Brandon Vincent (fourth overall) and Eric Verso (34th overall) as players from The Farm to be drafted into the league this past week. All three were among the 59 NCAA Division I college players invited to participate in the 2016 adidas MLS Player Combine last week. Although Ty was not selected in the first two rounds of the SuperDraft last Thursday, like his teammates, he heard his named called Tuesday morning in the fourth round.
“I’m excited to get this opportunity, but my work is just beginning,” he admitted. “That’s kind of the problem with the hype around the Draft — it doesn’t really mean anything unless you’re able to make the team.”
Ty hopes to become the second member of the Thompson family to sign with the local MLS club. Tommy was San Jose's first homegrown player to sign a contract with the organization back on Jan. 22, 2014, and he became the second-youngest player to start a game in Earthquakes history.
“That’s how it works,” Tommy admitted. “You work hard for your chance and you better take advantage of it because it can pass you by pretty quickly.”
After sitting through the first three rounds of the Draft, Ty’s name was still on the board and the Earthquakes were up with the eighth pick in the fourth round. They didn’t hesitate as they quickly snatched up the midfielder from Stanford.
“I was actually kind of hoping that would be the case,” Ty’s father Gregg Thompson admitted. “There are 20 or so MLS teams, so the chances of him getting picked by the Quakes was one out of 20. It’s just an exciting time for our entire family.”
Gregg was one of the first people Ty called after his selection was announced.
“When I first talked to him, he was very excited to get drafted and to be recognized by the Quakes,” Gregg recalled. “They think he has the ability to make the team and eventually contribute to their success on the field. That’s everyone’s goal, make it to the professional level and to do it with your local team — it doesn’t get much better than that.”
It’s been over four years since Ty was on the same pitch as his youngest brother, Tommy, at Granite Bay High, but they still look back on those years. With the addition of Tanner — the middle brother — the Thompson’s helped the Grizzlies win a pair of section titles.
“That was a special experience,” Ty acknowledged. “I was able to play with some really special players like Ryan Hollingshead, who’s with FC Dallas now, and Tommy, who’s with the Earthquakes, and Tanner, who will probably go pro, and other Division I collegiate players. I mean, Granite Bay had some top-notch players over the years and it was cool to be a part of that program.”
Together, the Thompson brothers led Granite Bay to one of the section’s best seasons as the 2010 squad posted a 26-0-1 record and claimed a Division II section title.
Reunited at last, Ty and Tommy take the field together for the first time Saturday for the Earthquakes' first practice.
“I know Ty still has the challenge of making the team — he was drafted, but it’s not a guaranteed contract,” Gregg pointed out. “But he’s going to compete with all of the other draft picks this Saturday and hopefully he’ll earn that contract.”
The San Jose Earthquakes emerged from the 2016 MLS SuperDraft with four additions to the club, including a pair of midfielders.
“In the college ranks, you’re a unit. You’re a team, working together for a common goal,” Gregg explained. “But in the pros, once you make the team it’s the same environment, but those tryouts are dog eat dog. I told both of those guys, ‘You’re there to take one of those other player’s job.’ … It is a bloodbath, and there’s no mercy. Everyone is going as hard as they can and everybody wants to make that team.”
Last year, the Thompson family traveled quite a bit to witness most of Ty’s games at Stanford and the majority of Tommy’s games in San Jose. Now, they can see both play in the same stadium.
“Hopefully it all works out,” Gregg added. “I’d love to see Tommy get more playing time and Ty get his foot in the door. That would be exciting.”