Vancouver, BC- From the NCAA to the top of the game, Canadian international striker Jessie Fleming has signed with Chelsea FC in the FA Women’s Super League following a studded collegiate career with the UCLA Bruins.
Although the 22-year-old is just turning to the professional game, she has already represented her country at the senior international level 77 times, after debuting at the ripe age of 15. When the high schooler stepped onto the pitch against the Brazilians, she became the second-youngest player ever to play for the Canadian women’s team. From that moment on, her game has only risen.
With Canada, she has won women’s only tournaments such as the Algarve Cup and Four Nations Cup but also has a bronze medal to her name from the Rio 2016 Olympic games. Aside from her wins, Fleming has also played in two FIFA World Cups, including Canada 2015 right in her own backyard. Fleming may be a fresh pro, but she’s not inexperienced.
“Jessie is one of the top young players in the world, so for us to be able to sign her is a testament to the work that has been done here for a number of years,” manager Emma Hayes told the Chelsea website. “She chose Chelsea, this was her priority, her first choice and we were over the moon to get her.”
With the ink still drying, the London, ON native’s new contract with the FA Cup champions runs through the summer of 2023.
Through her days as a Bruin, Fleming won the Hermann Trophy, an award given to the best male and female collegiate soccer players in the USA. While winning the award draws instant interest from the U.S based National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), Fleming has always had her eyes on Europe.
“I knew I really wanted to play in the WSL,” Fleming said. “I think the league is doing really well right now and there is a ton of fantastic players in the league so that really excited me.
The WSL is one of the few European soccer leagues to not have a return-to-play plan amid the Novel Coronavirus pandemic after cancelling the remainder of their season, but the English Football Association is hoping the female top-flight can kick-off the 2020-21 season as scheduled.
Although Chelsea was behind Manchester City by a single point when the season came to a halt, the London blues were awarded the league title based on points percentage.
Moving overseas is a massive step for a footballer of any gender, and Fleming is joining some of her Canadian teammates in UEFA (European) competition. Jordyn Huitema and Ashley Lawrence ply their trade with Paris St-Germaine and Janine Beckie will go head-to-head with Fleming as she suits up for Manchester City.
Transitioning from the NCAA to one of the top leagues in the world would be a challenge for any player, but for the extremely talented and experienced Fleming, she’ll swiftly slot into the Chelsea midfield.
Cover Photo: UCLA Bruins Athletics