Arsenal Women defender Jen Bettie has left the club to sign for Bay FC in the United States.
The 32-year-old has brought her second spell with the Gunners to an end having returned to the club in June 2019.
She previously spent four years at Arsenal between 2009 and 2013, winning one league title, two FA Cups and two League Cups before moving on to Montpellier, Manchester City and Melbourne City.
Beattie – who can also play in midfield – made 166 appearances and scored 33 goals in total for Arsenal, helping the club to last season’s Conti Cup title.
Arsenal sporting director Edu Gaspar said: “Jen has had a beautiful career with Arsenal and we want to say a big thank you for her many years with us.
“She has helped to bring titles to our club and as a person, she is a great example of strength. We wish her success and happiness in the USA and she is welcome here in her home at any time.”
Director of women’s football Clare Wheatley added: “Jen leaves Arsenal with the respect and admiration of every one of us. She has been a wonderful player for us across two periods here and we’re excited to watch her in this new chapter.
“It’s a sad moment to say goodbye to such an important Arsenal figure, but Jen will always be part of this family and we look forward to seeing her soon.”
Beattie successfully overcame breast cancer in 2020 and was later presented with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award, for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.
The Three Players and a Podcast co-host was also awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List 2023 for services to football and charity.
Three Players and a Podcast: The one where Jen moves to the States!
In an emergency Three Players and a Podcast, the panel talk all things Jen Beattie and her move to the NWSL, after signing for Bay FC.
Beattie bids farewell: Once a Gooner, always a Gooner
Beattie later took to social media to share her own words with Arsenal and football fans alike, expressing her love for the club and reflecting on the growth of women’s football in England.
It read: “Gooners, I want to start by saying thank you.
“I don’t think there was ever going to be a right time to leave Arsenal because it was never going to be an easy decision. I’ve had so many conflicting emotions. When I think of Arsenal, I think of home, and I think of family, and that’s because of all of you.
“Arsenal is the club that as an 18-year-old kid from Glasgow, gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to play with legends and to be coached by some of the most experienced in the game. And when I re-joined the club for the second time, I had that same feeling all over again when I saw the Arsenal crest at the entrance of the training ground.
“It’s been an absolute privilege to represent this club. As someone who grew up watching Thierry Henry, Rachel Yankey, Dennis Bergkamp, Jayne Ludlow and Kelly Smith, I feel so lucky to be able to call myself a Gunner and to have been made so welcome from day one.
“The sheer scale of this club is never lost on me. I’ve always appreciated how much of an impact it’s had on the community, on me and everyone involved, even my friends and family. They’re now Arsenal fans too, because once you’re in, you’re in. Arsenal is a family like that.
“It’s almost difficult to put into words just how much the people at this club mean to me. I’ve never really experienced anything like this before, when teammates become actual friends and then become family. I went through the hardest period of my life during my time at Arsenal and I couldn’t have asked for better support from the club. I think that’s what’s so special about this club, that performance is so important, but the human always comes first.
“There’s always been a real effort and ambition across the club to make it feel like we’re all part of a big family, and I think the people that we employ as players and staff are really embedded in that.
“I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed coming to work every day and that’s credit to the people at Arsenal and the culture they’ve created, because it’s such a tight knit group here and one that I’ll miss so much. To find a home away from home is something truly special. It’s something I’m not sure a lot of clubs have.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to see and experience first-hand just how much the game has grown and it’s overwhelmingly sad to say goodbye to English football, but being able to see where the game is now compared to when I first joined, it’s one of the things that I’m most proud about, knowing that l’ve been a part of it.
“To see the way that all of you, our fans, have invested in us, stuck with us and supported us has been such a crucial part in what we’ve created here at Arsenal, so I just want to say an unbelievable thank you for doing that.
“Keep doing what you’re doing, because this team needs you.
“And from me personally, I just want to thank you for all of the love and support that you’ve given me over the years. 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 onto 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 Emirates Stadium and support the team. It’s the most talented group of people I’ve ever been a part of and I’ve no doubt that they’ll go on to achieve whatever they want to. They’ve got the group to do it.
“Once a Gooner, always a Gooner.”