Casey Phair, a 16-year-old from New Jersey, has made history as the youngest player in FIFA Women’s World Cup history.
Making history: Phair, an American-born teenager from Warren Township, also became the youngest and the first mixed-race player of any gender to represent South Korea at the World Cup when she was tapped to play in the last 12 minutes of Monday night’s match between South Korea and Colombia.
The New Jersey teen previously represented the country at the youth level in the qualifiers for the 2024 U-17 Women’s Asian Cup.
Lauren Molinaro, Phair’s soccer coach at the Pingry School in Somerset County, where Phair is a sophomore, expressed her excitement from back home.
“I was really excited to see her and you could tell right away just the way she moves her body,” Molinaro said
. “The way she sees things on the field. I think from the get-go I was like this kid’s the real deal.”
Choosing to play for Korea: Phair had been training with the Players Development Academy in Central Jersey when she was called to play by both the U.S. and South Korean national teams. Attributing her choice to her strong connection to her mother’s South Korean heritage, Phair opted to play for South Korea despite the team having only made three World Cup appearances before 2023.
Despite her team’s loss to Colombia 2-0 on Monday, Phair expressed her gratitude to her supporters in an Instagram post:
Although today we didn’t get the result we hoped for, we will work hard to bounce back next game. I am honored to make both my senior team and World Cup debut, and wanted to thank everyone that has supported me to this point – this is just the beginning