Chelsea Women Make History With Groundbreaking Off-Field Decision

The entrance to Chelsea's stadium, Stamford Bridge.

A gated entrance before entering Chelsea's stadium Stamford Bridge. Credit: Eleventh Hour Photography/

Chelsea Women’s wonderkid, Lexi Potter, has become the first female player in England to sign a professional contract at the age of 17 and will continue her development with Crystal Palace this campaign.

The Blues have become one of the most feared but also admired teams in both the Women’s Super League as well as across Europe due to their success on the pitch but also their embarrassment of riches when it comes to the players they can call upon, both experienced and star talents.

Emma Hayes has been tipped with jobs in the Men’s game for the last 12 months, but as she keeps saying, why would she leave a Champions League contending team for a team playing in League One or Two just to potentially be ridiculed and undermined at any opportunity.

Hayes is now firmly part of the furniture at Chelsea and has been able to assemble a team capable of competing on multiple fronts throughout a chaotic season, and the most impressive feat is that Chelsea have been able to do it on a consistent basis, which is largely down to the fact they also prepare for the future.

Lexi Potter signs her first professional contract

Players such as Jess Carter, Niamh Charles, and Lauren James are all examples of how Chelsea look to get young players tied down and integrated into the first team, before their more veteran stars start to go on the decline, meaning they are consistently right at the very top.

This latest decision to hand Potter a professional contract though is taking it to another level and shows how competitive it is becoming at all levels of the Women’s game because to hand a 17-year-old a professional deal is a huge amount of faith and repssure on the youngster.

The contract is not even a short-term one potentially done for a bit of PR, with Potter committing her future to the Blues until the summer of 2026, which will see her enter her 20s, and could then be a very useful player for Hayes in any sort of competition.

Chelsea continue their impressive off-field work

At 17, signing a professional deal is very impressive and a huge sign of potential, but that’s not all Potter has achieved, with the midfielder now set to go on loan to Championship side Crystal Palace for the season, something that will allow her to grow in a first-team environment, while also not having to relocate away from London.

Speaking on her pride and excitement at this groundbreaking deal, Potter was seemingly delighted, she said:

“‘It’s an absolute dream come true for me and my family. I’ve been here since I was eight years old and it’s everything you could ever dream of. I’m really grateful and really excited for the future.”

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Written by

Aaron Hindhaugh

Qualified and experienced journalist covering all aspects of news and sport. Specialist in both Men's and Women's football with increasing coverage of golf and tennis.