South Korea’s American-born teenager Casey Phair became the youngest player ever to take the field in the history of the FIFA World Cup against Colombia on Tuesday.
Phair, who celebrated her 16th birthday just 26 days ago, started the match on the bench and came on as a second-half substitute in the 78th minute.
Born to an American father and Korean mother, Phair is the first player of mixed descent to make the senior South Korean women’s football squad.
She was previously involved with youth squads for the US national team.
Phair played for the South Korea under-17 team before she was called up to the women’s team for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She played a vital role in helping the under-17 team qualify for the 2024 AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup, scoring two goals against Tajikistan and three against Hong Kong.
“She deserved to get the chance to play, she has trained really well, as good as anyone,” said South Korea’s English coach, Colin Bell.
“It is also a signal that that’s the future, she is the future.
“We need strong, fast players with physicality.”
Speaking on the eve of the Colombia game, Bell, said he was eager to protect the teenager.
“So now she’s in the squad, then we just take it day by day, so I don’t really want to hype up a young player too much before she’s even played,” he said.
“That’s why I’ve been safeguarding her from the media.”
The record for the youngest FIFA World Cup player was previously held by Northern Ireland’s Norman Whiteside. The striker was 17 years and 40 days old when he made his World Cup debut against Yugoslavia in 1982.
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