Since January, Chelsea FC Women have brought in superstar striker Sam Kerr, young prospect Jamie-Lee Napier, midfielder and former Bayern Munich captain Melanie Leupolz and, thanks to Liverpool’s relegation forcing their best player to seek a new club, Niamh Charles. Despite losing forwards Adelina Engman and Ramona Bachmann, and defensive midfielder Anita Asante, Chelsea seemed to have done enough to keep the squad refreshed and stacked with top-tier talent.
BUT IF YOU THOUGHT THAT WAS IT, THEN YOU DON’T KNOW THIS CHELSEA!
Look who we’ve got!— Chelsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) July 22, 2020
Welcome to Chelsea, Jessie! #JessieJoinsChelsea
Today, Chelsea announced the signing of 22-year-old midfield prodigy Jessie Fleming. The Canada international made her national team debut at 15 and has already played in two World Cups, including every minute of Canada’s 2019 tournament, and has a bronze medal from the 2016 Olympics. Fleming was also an integral part of UCLA’s exceptional women’s soccer program, receiving honors and awards from her freshman year on. She is not your average 22-year-old prospect; she is a star.
Fleming is a complete box-to-box midfielder who has shown enough composure, technique and skill to stroll into many teams’ starting XI. As such, there was plenty of speculation about where she would choose to begin her professional career. The National Women’s Soccer League in the USA is revered as the best top-to-bottom women’s league in the world and is experiencing a boom in growth and mainstream popularity. The one hindrance of the American system however, is that players are drafted rather than being able to choose where they will sign. So instead, Fleming looked toward Europe. With all of the usuals circling, it is a tremendous achievement and (another) statement of intent about what Chelsea and Emma Hayes are committed to building.
.@CanadaSoccerEN star Jessie Fleming has signed with @ChelseaFCW.— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 22, 2020
She joined @RonMacLeanHTH to discuss her decision to join the club.
"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." pic.twitter.com/xAyCW2B3Cu
What can Fleming bring to Chelsea? Well, a lot. The Blues are known for attacking prowess, and often look to overload and overwhelm teams in the final third. Fleming gives more control and ball progression from central midfield areas, without the need for forward players to drop into midfield to provide that link. With Fleming’s terrific ability to read play and exceptional vision and technique to drop the ball into dangerous spaces, the full complement of Chelsea’s attacking players can remain forward — though she also likes to get around and into the box to bag a goal.
Welcome to Chelsea, Jessie Fleming!