Cat Whitehill won more than 100 caps for the US women's national team ©Getty Images

Olympic gold medal-winning football player Cat Whitehill has been named an honorary co-chair of 2022 World Games in Birmingham.

Whitehill grew up in the Alabama city, before going on to make more than 100 appearances for the United States women's national team.

"Having an international competition like The World Games 2022 come to Birmingham is something the community should be extremely proud of," Whitehill said.

"It also represents an incredible opportunity for young girls in Birmingham and the surrounding community to see some amazing female athletes compete on a global stage, right in their own hometown. 

"That's huge".

The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame inductee joins a star-studded list of honorary co-chairs featuring Olympic bobsleigh gold medallist Vonetta Flowers, former National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Charles Barkley - who also won two Olympic gold medals - country music star Randy Owen and ex-soldier Noah Galloway.

"Adding another Olympic gold medallist to our team is very exciting and a huge honour for us," Birmingham 2022 chief executive Nick Sellers said.

Charles Barkley is another Birmingham 2022 co-chair to have won an Olympic gold medal ©Getty Images
Charles Barkley is another Birmingham 2022 co-chair to have won an Olympic gold medal ©Getty Images

"When people in Birmingham think about soccer, they think about Cat. 

"She helped put the sport on the map in this community, and we know she can amplify the voice and mission of The World Games 2022 in the same way."

Whitehill was a member of US national team from 2000 to 2010, winning Olympic gold at Athens 2004.

In 134 appearances with the team she scored 11 goals and played in two World Cups in 2003 and 2007.

The US game third at both.

The 2022 World Games are due to be held from July 7 to 17, with 3,600 athletes anticipated to compete.

In her role with 2022 World Games, Whitehill will participate in several events, including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

The World Games feature sports and disciplines that are not contested in the Olympic Games.

Birmingham 2022 will mark the 40th anniversary of the event and will generate an estimated $256 million (£185 million/ €218 million) in economic impact, it is claimed.