Jessie Fleming reported to leave Chelsea for Portland Thorns

Jessie Fleming of Chelsea celebrates
Jessie Fleming of Chelsea celebrates during the Barclays Women's Super League match vs Manchester United on September 26, 2021 in Leigh, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Canadian midfielder Jessie Fleming is reportedly leaving Chelsea and joining the NWSL’s Portland Thorns in a blockbuster transfer.

The report comes from Tom Garry of The Telegraph, who says the reported £250,000 ($317,000) transfer fee for the reigning Canada Soccer Women’s Player of the Year is believed to be an NWSL record.

In three-and-a-half years with Chelsea, the attacking midfielder has won three Women’s Super League titles and three FA Cups. The 25-year-old appeared in more than 100 matches across all competitions for the WSL side. 

However, Fleming has not been a regular starter in the Blues midfield, starting just four of 11 matches this current WSL season. According to the report, Fleming parts with Chelsea ‘on great terms’. Signed in November 2022, Fleming’s Chelsea contract had extended through 2025.

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A new chapter for Jessie Fleming

Portland Thorns FC — the reported next destination of Fleming — finished second in last year’s NWSL regular season before losing to eventual league champion Gotham FC in the play-off semifinals. This offseason, the Thorns lost a major starter, U.S. national team midfielder Crystal Dunn.

Dunn signed with Gotham, and so Fleming may slot into the vacant attacking midfield role for the Thorns. 

As NWSL teams gear up in pre-season, with matches beginning in March, Fleming will join former Canadian teammate and captain Christine Sinclair at the Thorns. The all-time international scoring leader resigned a one-year contract with Portland. She announced she will play one more NWSL season after she retired from international play last December.

Since making her international debut at age 15, Fleming has 123 caps and an Olympic gold medal with Canada — plus, earned a nomination for FIFA Best Women’s Player. She’s also familiar with the United States’ west coast, having played collegiate football at the University of California, Los Angeles, for four years before joining Chelsea in 2020. 

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