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Fair Coup As Chelsea Sign Us Star

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Transfer deadline day passed quietly for Avram Grant's Chelsea but not so the Blues women, who pulled off a major coup with the signing of World Cup winner Lorrie Fair.

The 29 year-old midfielder, part of the USA's triumphant 1999 World Cup squad, is set to become the first American international to play in the Women's Premier League.

She is already familiar with Chelsea, having been working in America for the club in an ambassadorial role since last July.

In those seven months Chelsea manager Shaun Gore has been negotiating to bring her to England to play for the club, and his persistence has finally paid off.

"It's been a long process," said Gore, "but I'm delighted that Lorrie's now joined us and she will add so much to the team.

"We're quite a young side and her experience, professionalism and energy for the game will help the youngsters develop and make us a stronger side all round."

Fair, who will be working on grass roots and community initiatives for the club as well as playing for the women's team, will make her debut against Doncaster Belles on Sunday.

"It's great to be here," she said, "and I'm really looking forward to playing for Chelsea. I've met the girls at training and they've impressed me with their ability and attitude.

"I'll be aiming to help the team improve on the pitch and to support the club in their grass roots work, which I'm really passionate about."

Fair has no experience of the English game though she did play alongside Arsenal striker Kelly Smith for Philadelphia Charge in the professional American league.

She also played for the Lyon women's team at the same time that current Chelsea stars Michael Essien and Florent Malouda were at the French club.

And her prowess extends beyond the women's game - her last club before signing for Blues was the semi-professional men's outfit San Francisco Glens.


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