The South Korean football team has added an American-born teenager to its roster for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Historic move: Casey Phair, a 16-year-old footballer with an American father and a South Korean mother, is set to become the youngest and the first mixed-race player of any gender to represent the country if she gets tapped to play.
Hailing from New Jersey, Phair played for the Pingry School and had been training at the Players Development Academy when she was called to play for the national team.
Phair has represented the country at the youth level and was instrumental in their victories over Tajikistan and Hong Kong in the qualifiers for the 2024 U-17 Women’s Asian Cup.
“I feel really proud and honored to be given this opportunity,” she told reporters during a press conference in Paju. “And I’m ready and willing to do whatever it takes to help the country.”
Phair play: South Korea’s head coach Colin Bell noted that the young athlete has a genuine chance of securing a spot in the lineup, describing her as a “good finisher” who “learns very quickly.”
“I know as the first mixed-race player for Korea, men and women, it’s a highlight, it’s something new. But as far as I’m concerned she’s still a kid and it’s my duty to protect her so she can blossom and really fulfil her potential,” he said.
Bell added that the teenager was chosen based on merit and deserves to be part of the team.
Full roster: South Korea’s 23-player squad features a strong blend of experience and youthful energy, led by established stars Ji So-yun of Chelsea and Cho So-hyun of Tottenham, both of whom boast an impressive record of 144 international appearances.
The rest of the team consists of goalkeepers Ryu Ji-soo, Kim Jung-mi and Yoon Young-guel, defenders Shim Seo-yeon, Lee Young-ju and Lim Seon-joo as well as forwards Phair and Kang Chae-rim.
South Korea is aiming to surpass their previous World Cup performances, where they were unable to progress beyond the second round. The team’s campaign begins on July 25 in Sydney, where they face Colombia in their opening match of Group H.