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Published on February 22, 2024
Jessie Fleming Takes the Helm as Captain of Canada's Women's Team Amid Legal Turbulence Off the FieldSource: X/CANWNT

As the Canadian Women's National Team gears up for action in the CONCACAF W Gold Cup, a new leader emerges from the ranks in the form of Jessie Fleming. The 25-year-old midfielder has officially been handed the captain's band, as reported by TSN. The London, Ontario native steps into shoes vacated by the legendary Christine Sinclair. Fleming's elevation to this role isn't a shocker since she's captained the side 11 times in the absence of Sinclair over the past two years.

On the cusp of their Gold Cup opener against El Salvador, Fleming's leadership qualities are touted by Canada manager Bev Priestman, "Jessie doesn’t need to change, she leads by example, she’s humble and she’s a big team player which is exactly what this team needs." The team aims to reflect the values of hard work, high standards, humility, and respect, all of which Priestman believes Fleming possesses. These remarks were relayed by Sportsnet.

This changing of the guard coincides with a legal storm brewing behind the scenes. A lawsuit filed by the Canadian Soccer Players' Association against members of Canada Soccer has rattled the organization. Allegations pertain to "negligence and breach of fiduciary duty" linked to marketing and broadcast rights dealings. Fleming has remained tight-lipped about the lawsuit, focusing instead on the pitch, a tact endorsed by coach Priestman who has, according to Sportsnet, full confidence in her new captain.

Fleming, now with the Portland Thorns, brings to the role her impressive tenure with Chelsea and her veteran experience from acquiring 125 caps for Canada. It was Battlefords Now that provided insight into her decorated journey, including an Olympic gold medal from 2021. The tournament will see her guide her team through a sequence of crucial encounters starting at Houston's Shell Energy Stadium, and if the winds of fortune blow favorably, through the knockout stages set to unfurl in sunny California locales Los Angeles and San Diego come early March.