Casey Phair: From New Jersey, For South Korea
Updated: Jul 24
New Jersey native, 16-year-old forward Casey Yu-Jin Phair has been selected for South Korea’s Women’s World Cup roster. She just turned 16 on June 29 and is now on the plane to Australia and New Zealand with no senior national team caps.
She is set to be the youngest player at the 2023 Women’s World Cup and one to definitely keep an eye out for.
Jersey Girl Playing for the Taegeuk Ladies
Born in the US to an American father and a South Korean mother, Phair plays for the Pingry School and Players Development Academent (PDA) in New Jersey. PDA is the former youth soccer club of US Women’s National Team stars, Tobin Heath, Heather O’Reilly, and most recent call-up Casey Murphy.
Phair will be the first and youngest mixed-race player of any gender to represent South Korea. Phair represented South Korea at the youth level earlier this year, scoring two goals against Tajikistan and three goals against Hong Kong. Her addition to the team helped South Korea qualify for the 2024 AFC U-17 Women’s Asia Cup.
In March of 2022, Phair was called up for a training camp with the U.S. Under-15 Women’s Youth National Team led by head coach Katie Schoepfer. Two months later, Phair was in camp with South Korea.
“Casey is going not as a passenger but as a valuable player of the squad and has every chance of getting into the team.” says South Korea head coach Colin Bell on Phair’s inclusion on the roster, “I also want to have that competition. These young players – Casey, Chun Ga-ram, Bae Ye-bin – are pushing the older, experienced players.”
Teenagers at the World Cup
Phair will be joined by a handful of other teenagers at this summer’s tournament but is the only one to be born in 2007. She is the fourth youngest ever in Women’s World Cup history to make the final roster as North Korea's roster at the 2007 World Cup featured three 15-year-olds. However none of them played any minutes during the tournament in China, so if Bell calls on Phair to play, she will be the youngest to ever play in the Women's World Cup.
Philippine’s Isabella Piason, who is on the preliminary roster, Italy’s Guilia Dragoni, and Costa Rica’s Sheika Scott will also be 16 at the tournament but are all born in 2006.
As Phair is set to make history to be the youngest player at the Women’s World Cup since the year she was born, she wasn’t selected because it would look good in headlines. Head coach Bell, former coach of the Republic of Ireland’s women’s team, says the team is “she’s in the squad on merit. She deserves, on her performance, to be selected.”
South Korea’s World Cup Journey
South Korea's women's team made their debut at the World Cup in 2003 where they finished last in the group stage Brazil, Norway, and France. They did not qualify for the 2007 and 2011 tournaments.
In 2015, the Taegeuk Ladies had their best World Cup run to date reaching the round of 16 after finishing second to Brazil in the group stage but were knocked out of the tournament after losing to France 3-0. In 2019, South Korea was knocked out of the group stage, finishing last against France, Norway, and Nigeria.
This summer, South Korea is in Group H with Colombia, World Cup debutants Morocco, and Germany. They take on Colombia in Sydney on July 25, Morocco in Adelaide on July 30, and Germany in Brisbane on August 3.