Vivianne Miedema is leaving Arsenal after her contract expires. | David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

As the season draws to a close with Manchester United Women winning the FA Cup with a breezy 4-0 victory over Tottenham — the first final without either Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City for almost two decades — the team’s historic first major trophy is just one face of the rapidly shifting status quo across the WSL.

Just as Chelsea had been on a comfortable track to triumph with a reliable cast of players and staff propelling them to be the league’s leader in WSL championship titles, that too is changing with the departure of Fran Kirby and Emma Hayes, with questions swirling as to what the team will look like going into next season.

Now Arsenal is joining in the chaos with longstanding club superstar Vivianne Miedema, who is an out LGBTQ athlete, announcing she will be leaving when her contract expires at the end of the season.

In a message posted to social media, Miedema wrote a heartfelt letter of thanks to the club’s supporters, and the camaraderie from her teammates in getting her through her period of injury.

“I’ve loved being part of a community that makes us feel safe and I hope that every single one of you shares that feeling and will continue to be part of the story,” she writes.

“Thank you for making a place away from home, feel like home. For always allowing me to be myself but also helping me grow into a better person. For being there for me in difficult times, but also to celebrate good times together. The togetherness in this team is something special and I’m pretty sure this will continue to be the case in the future.”

Her accomplishments since joining Arsenal in 2017 are second to none, and Miedema claims the honor of being the current all-time top-scorer in the league, winning the WSL Golden Boot twice, as well as the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year award in 2021.

Off the pitch, she has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ athletes in football and beyond, emphatic in her support of male players to come out just as she and others in the women’s game have felt safe and supported in doing.

Now, following her return from ACL injury this season and at only 27 years old, a healthy Miedema will still be a force to be reckoned with for years to come at whichever club she may find herself next season.