Canadian midfielder Jessie Fleming has joined the Portland Thorns of the NWSL from Chelsea in England.
UK reports peg the transfer fee at 250,000 pounds ($425,785). Fleming signed a contract with the Thorns that runs through the 2026 season.
The 25-year-old from London, Ontario, joins fellow Canadians Christine Sinclair and Janine Beckie in Portland.
“As we continue to aim for championships, it is important for us to bring in players with a championship mentality, which Jessie has, both with club and country,” said Thorns general manager, Karina LeBlanc, former Canadian international goalkeeper, in a press release. “After speaking with Jessie, it became very clear that the Thorns are an organization that she admires from afar, she understands how unique and special this community, this fan base and this team are.”
Fleming scored 12 goals in 111 appearances over four years with Chelsea, helping the London side win three Women’s Super League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup and one Community Shield.
She was also part of the team that reached the 2021 UEFA Women’s Champions League final.
“I am very excited to join the Portland Thorns. More than anything, I look forward to being a part of the incredible community that surrounds the team that Portland is so often talked about,” Fleming said in a club release. . “I feel honored to represent these people and this city, and I can’t wait to get started.”
The decision came on the eve of the Women’s Super League transfer deadline.
“Adding a player of Jessie’s caliber is a big step for us as we continue to build the roster for 2024 and beyond,” Portland coach Mike Norris said. “Jessie has a great ability to connect and create in midfield, which makes her a very dynamic option for us in midfield.
“Her sense of the final pass will be a great asset to our frontline. Add to that her physical abilities to go from box to box, we feel we have acquired a very complete world-class midfielder.”
Fleming won 123 caps for Canada and is considered by many to be Sinclair’s successor as Canada captain.
Sinclair retired from international football in December. Fleming has captained the 10th-ranked Canadian team in the past when Sinclair was unavailable.
Fleming joined Chelsea from UCLA, where she was a two-time MAC Hermann Trophy finalist and three-time All-American, recording 25 goals and 22 assists in 75 games for the Bruins.