Former United States international Lorrie Fair, the youngest member of the U.S. World Cup-winning team in 1999, arrived in London last month to start her Chelsea career.
Lorrie Fair has been a standout on the soccer field since she was a child growing up in Los Altos, California. While at Los Altos High School in California, Fair led her team to a state championship earning NSCAA all-American and Parade magazine all-American along the way. After a successful high school career, Fair, regarded as the top recruit in the country, received a scholarship to the University of North Carolina. At UNC, she helped her team win the NCAA championship in 1996, 1997 and 1999.
At the age of 15, she played on the U.S. U-20 National Team where she participated in the Nordic Cup in Germany. At 17, Fair earned a spot as an alternate on the 1996 gold medal winning Olympic team and secured a full-time spot on the U.S. National Team. Fair had a breakthrough year in 1999 helping the U.S. women's team win their first ever World Cup-the victory over China. Along with being the youngest member of the World Cup Championship team she was selected as U.S. Soccer's Chevrolet Youth Female Athlete of the Year in 1999. Fair went back to UNC after the World Cup to play her senior season and she led the team to another NCAA Championship. Fair played every minute of the 2000 Olympics, anchoring the midfield to help the U.S. earn Silver.
Now, with 123 caps and a variety of awards and championships, Fair is considered among the all-time greatest women soccer players. Fair has a twin sister, Veronica (Ronnie) Fair who played soccer at Stanford University and shared the field with Lorrie in 1997 during an international appearance against England, marking the first time sisters played together for any National Team.
The 29-year-old from Northern California made 123 appearances for the U.S. 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-an accomplishment to be proud of for Fair. Most recently, she continued her soccer career playing on a U.S. semi-professional men's team.
Fair, who will become Chelsea's first U.S. player, said: "I had the opportunity to come to England and play for Chelsea, which was too good to turn down. It is an honor 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 U.S. summer tour in July, Fair began working for Chelsea as a U.S. ambassador on the club’s community and marketing initiatives in her own country. She also has 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 program particularly encouraging more girls and women to take up the game to improve health, fitness and to tackle childhood obesity, a problem that can result in serious medical problems.
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."
Chelsea Ladies’ manager Shaun Gore said: "Lorrie is a great player and an icon in the U.S. 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."
A pity the US Women don't have have a league of their own...