Jen Beattie has left Arsenal to join Bay FC in the National Women’s Soccer League on a permanent transfer.
The 32-year-old central defender makes the switch to the USA after eight years with Arsenal in two separate spells during which she has made 166 appearances.
She has signed a contract with the new Californian NWSL expansion team that will run to 2025 with an option to extend for the 2026 season.
Beattie first joined the north London club in 2009 before moving to Montpellier in 2013. She returned for her second stint in 2019, following time with Manchester City, with whom she won the Women’s Super League, and a loan spell with Melbourne City.
The former Scotland international has 143 caps but retired from international football in January 2023.
She said: “I’ve treasured every single day that I’ve worn the Arsenal badge, and because of all of you, I’ve been able to walk out on that pitch feeling loved, which is something quite special.
“This might be the end of my journey as an Arsenal player, but as of today, I’m now a fan. I genuinely can’t wait to come back to the Emirates Stadium and support the team.”
Most recently, Beattie was pivotal in the Gunners’ impressive run to the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-finals in 2023. She started both semi-final legs against Wolfsburg as Arsenal were plagued with injury problems, scoring a 75th-minute equaliser in the second leg to take the tie to extra time.
But Bay FC gain a player who has impacted off the pitch just as much as she has on it.
Beattie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 and continued to play while raising awareness. She won the Helen Rollason Award in 2021 and was awarded an MBE in 2023 for services to football and charity.