Academy player Charlotte Fleming has signed her first professional contract for Chelsea FC Women.

The 18-year-old midfielder has been at Chelsea since the age of 10 and has now signed a professional contract that keeps her with the club until May 2021.This season Fleming impressed for the Under-18s with her tenacious and energetic displays earning her a call-up to Emma Hayes’ squad. In the 2019/20 women’s campaign, the Academy captain was named in the squad three times and made two starts, which came in cup fixtures against Championship sides Lewes in November and Charlton Athletic in January. Fleming suffered from a calf injury against Charlton which kept her out of the senior squad for the remainder of the season.The Academy graduate is delighted to put pen to paper and said: ‘It’s a bit surreal to be honest, it’s a dream for me and I’ve always aspired to be part of the women’s team.‘It’s really exciting for me as a young player coming into this new world. I have got the most amazing support network around me from Chelsea to family and friends and it’s going to be an exciting year for me to see where my journey goes.’

Having trained with the Blues on a part-time basis last term, the teenager has now decided to take a break from education to focus her full attention on football and says 2020/21 will be a year of development. The England Under-19 international has revealed her personal targets and hopes for the season ahead.‘My main aim is to show Emma [Hayes] and Paul [Green] how grateful I am for this opportunity,’ Fleming admitted. ‘To be honest I will just be a sponge and gain as much information as possible, learn as much as I can and develop – this year is all about development for me and being the best player I can be.’Manager Hayes said: ‘Charlotte has come through our Academy and we are all proud of the steps she has made to earn her first contract.‘She’s a fantastic person from a good family with a bright future ahead of her. We are all excited to see her career develop.’

Head of Chelsea’s Regional Talent Centre and WSL Academy, Dean Steninger, who played a key part in Fleming’s development added: ‘We are all extremely excited to see Charlotte sign her first professional contract, knowing first-hand how hard she has worked towards this.

‘I hope that all other players within our set-up will see Charlotte as a role model and example of how to approach development.

‘We cannot wait to watch Charlotte begin to work even harder to build upon the great opportunity she has given herself – an amazing achievement and we are all extremely proud.’