Emma Hayes has made a star-spangled first addition of 2017 to her Chelsea squad, signing USA international Crystal Dunn on a one-year contract from Washington Spirit.
“It’s a big personal challenge for me but I am ready to take this next step in my career,” said Dunn in a statement.
“Playing for Chelsea is a unique opportunity for me to take my game to another level and I think the moment is right.
“I have only been to London once before but there is something that grabbed me about Chelsea. The whole family culture – the unity, the morale – is making it feel just like home.
“I’m excited because Chelsea has a large fanbase and their relationship with the men’s team alone is just incredible.
“I’m looking forward to the games and to seeing all the fans who come out and support and hopefully we can all help add to the growth of women’s football in England.”
Hayes – who hinted at Dunn’s signing when she spoke to Shoot! last month and mentioned a “major international announcement” – added, “Crystal is hands-down one of the best young players to have come through in the United States in recent years.
“She’s just been voted second in US Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year, she is a Hermann Trophy winner, she has been a league top scorer and she has come out of a fantastic college programme.
“We are really getting a top-quality player coming to England.”
Elsewhere, head coach Mark Sampson has named his England squad for the forthcoming friendlies against Norway (January 22) and Sweden (January 24).
Notts County’s Rachel Williams is recalled after an absence of almost four years, while team-mates Ellen White and Carly Telford also return after injury.
And Sampson’s assistant Marieanne Spacey has led the tributes to Martin Reagan, former England manager, who died on Boxing Day at the age of 92.
Reagan coached the side during the 1980s, with little support and even less funding, but in the course of his 96 matches still managed to lead them to the European Championship final in 1984 as well as two Mundialito wins.
On Twitter, Spacey described him as “[a] gentleman…everyone that came into contact with him walked away smiling.”
Martin Reagan, my first England Women’s coach. A gentleman who everyone that came into contact with him walked away smiling #RIP
— Marieanne Spacey (@marieannespacey) January 7, 2017