Former United States international Lorrie Fair, the youngest member of the US World Cup-winning team in 1999, arrived in London this week to start her Chelsea career.

photo Darren Walsh

The 29-year-old from California made 123 appearances for the US during a star-studded career as a versatile midfielder or defender, the high point being victory over China in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final. Most recently she continued her career playing on a US semi-pro men's team.

Fair, who will become Chelsea's first US recruit, said: "I had the opportunity to come to England and play for Chelsea, which was too good to turn down. It is an honour to play for such a great club.

"I am here first and foremost to hopefully help the team which has so many good players, and at the same time the challenge of trying to raise the profile of the women's game in England is also a big motivating factor. Those are the two key things that Chelsea and I focused on when we talked about me coming to play. It was about what I could contribute on the pitch."

During the US summer tour in July, Fair began working for Chelsea as a US ambassador on the club's community and marketing initiatives in her home country. She has also been an athlete ambassador for Right to Play, Chelsea's Global Charity Partner since 2006.

When not on team duty, she will be helping Chelsea's Football in the Community programme particularly encouraging more girls and women to take up the game to improve health, fitness and to tackle childhood obesity.

Fair said: "I enjoyed meeting the team out in California last summer and I am a huge supporter of what the club is trying to do by encouraging grass roots development in the UK and throughout the world , and I will be working hard to get more women and girls playing."

She will also be staying in contact with Chelsea fans in the US, where women's football has a huge following, through the Chelsea US members site, contributing a regular blog about her time in England.

Chelsea Ladies manager Shaun Gore said: "Lorrie is a great player and an icon in the US. No doubt she will generate a huge amount of exposure for the women's game in this country. Someone of her stature can become a role model for many young aspiring female players in the UK and to help more women and girls participate in sport generally."