FIFA Women's World Cup
Casey Phair, 16, becomes youngest to ever play in Women's World Cup
FIFA Women's World Cup

Casey Phair, 16, becomes youngest to ever play in Women's World Cup

Updated Jul. 25, 2023 5:25 a.m. ET

Casey Yu-jin Phair, just 16 years and 26 days, made Women's World Cup history during South Korea's 2-0 defeat to Colombia on Monday, becoming the youngest player to ever play in the tournament.

Phair, a powerful forward from New Jersey, entered the game for South Korea in the 78th minute but could not prevent Colombia from collecting a comprehensive victory.

With an American father and Korean mother, Phair – who was born in Korea but moved to the United States as a baby – was eligible to represent either country, and had attracted significant interest from USA national team coaches at the lower age levels.

However, the prospect of playing in a World Cup as a teenager was too good to pass up – and Phair signaled her arrival in emphatic style, delivering a crunching header despite colliding with Colombia's Carolina Arias – leaving Arias sprawling on the turf at Sydney Football Stadium.


'World Cup NOW' Crew on South Korea's Casey Phair making her World Cup debut

In the end however, it was more age-themed positivity that decided the contest. Linda Caicedo, 18, was the star of the show in the Group H clash, and become the current World Cup's youngest goalscorer.

She had some help, as Korean goalkeeper Yoon Young-geul made a basic error in allowing Caicedo's shot, aimed directly at her, to slip through her fingers and into the net. Earlier, Catalina Usme had scored from the penalty pot to put Colombia ahead.

The deficit persuaded South Korea coach Colin Bell to press extra players forward in an attempt to get back into the game. That opened an opportunity for Phair to be brought on to get into the attack, and the youngster showed some enterprising touches but was unable to influence the outcome.

"We're taking care of her," Bell said after naming Phair to his traveling group. "She's taken very well to the team. She's selected because I think she can help the team now, like every other player. She is going not as a passenger but as a valuable member of the squad."

Colombia's Linda Caicedo scores goal vs. Republic of Korea in 39'

South Korea will try to reboot its campaign against Morocco on July 31 (12:30 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).

Colombia however, marches forward with optimism and will now like its chances of reaching the round of 16. Caicedo, a cancer survivor who has just signed for Real Madrid, looks to have the potential to become one of the biggest stars in women's soccer over the next few years.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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FIFA Women's World Cup
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