Canadian international midfielder Jessie Fleming has signed with England’s Chelsea.
The 22-year-old from London, Ont., who has won 77 caps for Canada, joins the FA Women’s Super League champion after a stellar collegiate career at UCLA.
“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.”
Fleming’s contract runs through the summer of 2023.
“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.
“For Chelsea it was the players here and I wanted to be in a challenging environment. Having conversations with Emma and learning a bit more about the team, I was just really excited about the environment and what it has to offer.”
At UCLA, Fleming scored 25 goals in 75 appearances while majoring in materials engineering and minoring in environmental science. She was one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, honouring the top NCAA soccer player, in both 2017 and ’19.
Fleming made her Canadian senior debut in December 2013 at age 15, the second-youngest to do so behind Kara Lang. She was Canada’s youngest player at the 2015 Women’s World Cup on home soil, won bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and played in the 2019 World Cup in France.
Other Canadian teammates currently playing in Europe include Ashley Lawrence and Jordyn Huitema (Paris Saint-Germain) and Janine Beckie (Manchester City).
Fleming is the third addition to the Chelsea squad, joining German midfielder Melanie Leupolz and English winger Niamh Charles.
Chelsea (12-0-3) trailed Manchester City by one point when the season was suspended due to the global pandemic but was awarded the title on a points-per-game ratio.
Hayes was named manager of the year after her team scored 47 goals while conceding just 11.
The Blues also won the Women’s FA and Continental Cups.