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Canadian international midfielder Jessie Fleming ready to turn pro


TORONTO — Canadian international Jessie Fleming is headed to the pro ranks.

The 22-year-old midfielder from London, Ont., who has already won 77 caps for Canada, has signed with A&V Sports, which represents fellow Canadian Kadeisha Buchanan.

The sports management firm says the midfielder is leaving UCLA "to eye a professional career."

"Her future destination has yet to be disclosed," it added in a statement.

Europe would be a good bet. Fleming opted to forgo the January NWSL draft to focus on Canada and finish her degree, a UCLA spokeswoman said at the time. Fleming was a materials engineering major with an environmental science minor.

The Canadian women were gearing up for CONCACAF's Olympic qualifying tournament in Texas and California in January.

Fleming has exhausted her four years of eligibility at UCLA. She still has work left on her degree, which is understandable given the time away from school due to the demands of international soccer.

"Jessie's one of the best midfielders to ever play college soccer in America,'' UCLA coach Amanda Cromwell said in an interview in December. "She's someone that can dictate the tempo of a game. She can score goals. Her work rate is phenomenal defensively. She can block a shot at one end and then go score at the other end in a few moments.

"She's just the epitome of a box-to-box midfielder that has great vision, great feeling for the game and makes everyone around her better.''

Cromwell said she had been fielding calls from pro coaches about Fleming for the last year.

Fleming was one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, honouring the top NCAA soccer player, in both 2017 and '19.

Other Canadian teammates currently playing in Europe include Ashley Lawrence and Jordyn Huitema (Paris Saint-Germain) and Janine Beckie (Manchester City).

Fleming made her Canadian senior debut in December 2013 at age 15, the second-youngest to do so behind Kara Lang.

She was Canada’s youngest player at the 2015 Women's World Cup on home soil, won bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and played in the 2019 World Cup in France.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 16, 2020.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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