Reading FC Women are delighted to announce the signing of Jess Fishlock, who joins the Royals on a loan deal from OL Reign.
Fishlock, Wales’ all-time leading appearance-maker with 113 caps to her name to date, links up with Kelly Chambers’ side ahead of the Royals’ FA WSL restart – which comes in the shape of a trip to Arsenal on Saturday 5th September.
And, alongside Fara Williams, it means that we’ll have two MBEs marshalling the midfield in the coming season! And she will link up with many familiar faces from the Welsh international squad including Angharad James, Rachel Rowe and Royals skipper Tash Harding, all of whom will be vying to help their nation qualify for the 2021 European Championships in the coming months.
A serial winner, she arrives with an enviable medal collection from a career that has taken her all over the globe.
After breaking through to the Cardiff City ranks as a 16-year-old – where she made her debut against Reading – she made her first move to foreign shores in 2008 to join Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, and helped the club to consecutive Eredivisie titles in each of her two full seasons with the club.
Jess returned to the UK to join Bristol Academy in 2011, and played an eye-catching role in a side which reached the FA Women’s Cup final and finished fifth and fourth in the FA WSL during her two years – as well as a host of personal honours.
Her intercontinental travels began in 2012, when she became an instant hit as a Melbourne Victory player and scored some vital goals – including a 94th minute winner against Canberra United – as Victory reached the W-League Grand Final.
She was snapped up by Seattle Reign – the former name of OL Reign – for the inaugural NWSL season in 2013. After an eye-catching first season in the USA, she spent the off-season with a couple of productive loan spells… firstly by helping Glasgow City to win a league and cup double and making her Champions League debut, before then returning to Melbourne as a loanee at the end of her first season – this time helping Victory go one better and beat Brisbane Roar in the final.
And that has been a theme of her career: alongside representing Reign since 2013, where she won the NWSL Shield alongside the likes of Megan Rapinoe and Kim Little in both 2014 and 2015, she has also continued making major impacts during loan spells, too.
Her loan spells in Europe have twice harvested UEFA Champions League winners’ medals – firstly for FFC Frankfurt in 2015, and then starting in a 4-1 win for Lyon over Barcelona in 2019 as the French side completed the treble.
Between those forays back to Europe, she spent three hugely productive stints back in Australia, representing Victory’s near-neighbours Melbourne City. Not only did she win the W-League Grand Final in each of her three seasons, but she also used the opportunity to embark on her coaching career at a senior level. The highlight came in 2017 – scoring in a 2-0 win in the final against Perth Glory, as well as managing the team!
And now it is Reading FC Women who will benefit from her service when the 2020-21 season kicks off.
Manager Kelly Chambers said, "Jess is a world class player that has a wealth of experience at the very top level of the women’s game.
"Not only does Jess have incredible experience behind her, she also possesses a fantastic understanding of the game that will only help the players around her on the pitch and our team to progress.
"What I love about Jess is that she is still so hungry to develop and learn and I’m so excited to work with her over this period. It’s fantastic to bring Jess to our club."
"I am super excited to be joining Reading on loan," said Jess. "It's nice to be home and I am thankful for the opportunity.
"I can't wait to get started and I'm really looking forward to helping Reading push on to another level."