Canadian international star Jessie Fleming is set to join Chelsea FC Women of the FA Women’s Super League, the team announced Wednesday.
The London, Ont., native has spent the past four years with the UCLA Bruins, earning First Team All-American honours twice in that span. After forgoing the NWSHL draft in January to finish her degree, she’ll now move on to the pro level in England.
The 22-year-old joined Ron MacLean to discuss her upcoming move to Europe and the decision to join one of the most historic organizations in the sport.
“Obviously it’s a storied club in England,” Fleming told MacLean. “There’s a lot of history to the English Premier League on the men’s side, and I think just watching the women’s league grow over there the last couple years has been really exciting. I guess I just fell in love with the coach, there’s a ton of fantastic international players there, so I think [there’s] a lot to love about the environment.”
Aside from her UCLA career, Fleming has earned 77 caps with the Canadian women’s national team, debuting with the red and white’s youth program in 2013 and getting her first shot with the senior team at 15 years old in 2015.
The midfielder took the field for Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, helping earn a bronze medal with a defeat of the host nation, and the Women’s World Cup in both 2015 and 2019.
After an illustrious career at UCLA, for whom she ended her tenure as co-captain, Fleming says the draw of the European game drew her to sign with Chelsea.
“I think I had my sights set on Europe,” she told MacLean when asked about her potential options after deciding to turn pro. “Just, I think, the quality of play there and having the opportunity to play for a club that’s attached to a big men’s team is really exciting for me. And then, like I said, the English Super League’s done really well in the last couple years. I’ve had the opportunity to watch Janine Beckie go over there [to join Manchester City] and really improve and do well in that league.
“So, I think I had my sights set on England. I think just the culture around football there and just that atmosphere is something I’m really excited for.”