Portland Thorns Sign Canada International Jessie Fleming
It was the move on everyone’s minds: on Wednesday morning, Portland Thorns confirmed the signing Jessie Fleming from WSL side Chelsea FC.
After many swirling rumours, the London, Ontario native penned a three-year deal through 2026 and reunites with fellow women’s national team players Christine Sinclair and Janine Beckie.
“I am very excited to be joining the Portland Thorns. More than anything, I am looking forward to being a part of the incredible community surrounding the team that is so often talked about with Portland,” Fleming said in the club’s press release. “I feel honored to represent these people and this city, and cannot wait to get started.”
Fleming, who was voted as Canadian Player of the Year alongside FC Porto’s Stephen Eustaquio in 2023, joins Portland after a four-year spell with Chelsea FC. She won three consecutive Women’s Super League titles and three Women’s FA Cups with the London side, and has reportedly left the team on “good terms“.
In 86 appearences for Chelsea, she had eleven goals and four assists. She now looks to add to Portland’s quality as they chase the NWSL Shield and NWSL Championship in 2024.
“Adding a player of Jessie’s caliber is a big step for us as we continue to build the roster for 2024 and beyond,” Thorns Head Coach Mike Norris said upon Fleming’s signing.
“Jessie has great ability to connect and create in midfield, which makes her a very dynamic option for us in the middle of the field. Her eye for a final pass will be a great asset for our front line. Add in her physical capabilities to go box-to-box, we feel that we have acquired a very complete world class midfielder.”
Portland finished in second place in the NWSL in 2023, two points off Shield winners San Diego Wave FC. They also got knocked out of the NWSL playoffs to eventual Champions NJ/NY Gotham FC. With the team under new ownership, Fleming’s signing will certainly be a statement to the rest of the league about Portland’s ambitions to once again rise to the top.
“As we continue to pursue championships, it is important for us to bring in players with championship mindsets, which Jessie has, both with club and country,” former Canadian International and current Thorns General Manager Karina LeBlanc said. “After speaking with Jessie it became very clear that the Thorns are an organization she has admired from afar, she understands how uniquely rare and special this community, fan base and team is.”
Fleming will join up with her teammates in the preseason preparations pending the receipt of her P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Portland will be travelling to California on February 17th for the Coachella Valley International, before coming back to Portland ahead of their season-opener vs Kansas City Current on March 16th.
Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques