Portland Thorns to pay record fee to sign Canadian midfielder Jessie Fleming

The club will surpass the NWSL transfer high mark to bring the talented 25-year-old over from Chelsea FC.

Jessie Fleming stands on the sideline of a soccer field wearing a blue jersey next to a referee holding a digital board.

Jessie Fleming during the Women’s Super League match between Chelsea and Everton in September 2021.

Photo by Katie Chan

During an offseason that has seen many familiar faces leave the Portland Thorns, including fan favorites Rocky Rodriguez and Natalia Kuikka, the club’s front office has made its desire to win under the new ownership known — by splashing the cash for a record signing.

The Thorns will reportedly pay approx. £250,000 (or about $317,000) to Chelsea FC to acquire Canadian midfielder Jessie Fleming. It’s the largest-ever transfer fee for a club in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Fleming made her international soccer debut for Canada in 2013 when she was just 15 years old and was instrumental in Canada’s historic gold medal success at the 2020 Summer Olympics, where she scored the first goal in a penalty shoot-out against Sweden. Since signing with Chelsea in July 2020, Fleming has made over 100 club appearances and helped the Blues win three Women’s Super League titles and three Women’s FA Cups. But she hasn’t been a regular starter for Chelsea this season.

Jordyn Huitema, Kailen Sheridan, Jessie Fleming, Janine Beckie, and Nichelle Prince stand shoulder to shoulder, holding up gold medals and wearing red uniforms on a grassy field.

Members of the Canada women’s national soccer team (including Jessie Fleming, center) on their gold medal Celebration Tour in 2021.

A move to Portland could see the now 25-year-old nail down a starting spot in the Thorns’ lineup. She’ll also play alongside former Canada captain — and all-time leading international goalscorer — Christine Sinclair, who just signed a one-year contract for the 2024 season.

So what can Thorns fans expect from Fleming? Aside from a proven knack for rocking a red jersey, we’ll leave you with a sneak peek of her skill in finding the back of the net.

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