Thompson signs MLS homegrown contract

California dreamin’ turned out pretty well for Tommy Thompson. The Indiana University freshman forward and Loomis, Calif., native has made his dreams come true by signing a homegrown contract with Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes. The deal was announced on Friday.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had to make a more difficult decision,” Thompson said in an IU news release. “This past semester has been the best few months of my life. It was hard to leave such great staff, players, fans and facilities.
“However, San Jose has provided me with an opportunity to make a life-long dream come true. It has been an absolute pleasure here in Bloomington, and I could not be happier with my decision to attend IU. Thank you to everyone for the unbelievable support, and I look forward to starting the next chapter of my life.”

Making the decision to forgo his final three seasons of eligibility with the Hoosiers more difficult was not only the history of his father, Gregg, as an Indiana player, but the fact that his older brother, Tanner, will be returning to IU for his sophomore season.

“Gonna be weird being on a team without tommay,” Tanner tweeted Friday. “Been a long time since that has happened.”

Thompson is the first Indiana player to sign a contract under the MLS Homegrown program. Created in 2008, the program allows teams to sign local players from their own development academies directly to their squad. The program resulted in part because of the last Hoosier to depart following his freshman season, Lee Nguyen, who played at IU in 2005.

Thompson played briefly with San Jose’s U18 Academy team before being sidelined by a knee injury, then appeared in five games with the Reserve team last summer before heading to Bloomington on the heels of early graduation following his junior year of high school.

Once on campus, Thompson made an immediate impact for the Hoosiers, finishing the season tied for the team lead in goals scored (five) and total points (13), despite missing six matches due to a torn meniscus. He was named second team All-Big Ten, as well as Big Ten Freshman of the Year. TopDrawerSoccer.com, College Soccer News and Soccer America all named Thompson to their national All-Freshman teams.

“Tommy has an incredible opportunity to join San Jose as a Homegrown signee,” Indiana Todd Yeagley said in the release. “Although his time at IU was short, he left a very positive mark on our program on and off the field. Tommy will join a distinguished group of IU greats, who are representing the university and our soccer program with distinction within Major League Soccer.”

Thompson isn’t the only Hoosier to make an early exit. Junior midfielder Dylan Mares has left Indiana to pursue a professional career as well, a departure that has been confirmed by the IU soccer program.

The absence of Thompson and Mares, combined with the graduation of Jacob Bushue, A.J. Corrado, Nikita Kotlov, Matt McKain and Harrison Petts, means that Indiana is losing 58 percent of its goals scored and 73 percent of its assists from the 2013 squad.

One comment

  1. Losing all of that talent makes it even more important, in retrospect, that last year’s team won the B1G Tourney and played in the NCAA Tourney. Todd will have a huge task in putting together a first class, B1G Champion caliber, NCAA Tourney type team next year. However, as a Yeagley, he has positioned himself with great recruits, great transfers, and good kids already in the program to do just that! Go Todd and IU! I love watching IU grads in the MLS!

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