Casey Phair Is the Youngest Person to Ever Play in the Womens World Cup

Casey Phair
Yonhap News/MEGA

The youngest player in this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup was born in the United States, but she’s not playing with Megan Rapinoe and the rest of the USWNT — she’s playing for South Korea.

Casey Phair, 16, became the youngest person ever to play in a Women’s World Cup when she subbed in during South Korea’s Tuesday, July 25, game against Colombia in the 78th minute. At 16 years and 26 days old, Phair broke the record previously held by the late Ifeanyi Chiejine, who was 16 years and 34 days when she played for Nigeria in 1999.

When South Korea announced its roster earlier this month, coach Colin Bell said he was not “experimenting” by selecting Phair for the team. “Casey is going not as a passenger but as a valuable member of the squad and has every chance of getting into the team,” Bell, 61, told Reuters ahead of the tournament. “I also want to have that competition.”

South Korea ultimately lost their opener, but Phair wasn’t discouraged. “Although today we didn’t get the result we hoped for, we will work hard to bounce back next game,” she wrote via Instagram after the match. “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.”

Keep scrolling for five things to know about Phair:

1. Where Was Casey Phair Born?

Phair was born in South Korea to an American father and a South Korean mother. Her family moved to the United States when she was still an infant. They now live in Warren Township, New Jersey.

Casey Phair Is the Youngest Person to Ever Play in the Womens World Cup

Lorena Bedoya Durango (L) of Colombia fights for the ball with Casey Phair (R) of South Korea during the FIFA Women’s World Cup match between Colombia and South Korea

2. What Position Does Casey Phair Play?

Phair is a striker for the South Korea national women’s team. In addition to being the youngest person ever to play in a Women’s World Cup, she is also the first multiracial player named to the South Korea women’s team.

3. When Did Casey Phair Start Playing Soccer?

Phair started playing soccer in recreational leagues when she was around 5 years old. By the time she was 7, she’d started playing in club leagues in Exeter, New Hampshire, where her family lived at the time. According to The Athletic, Phair regularly competed against older kids — both boys and girls — during that period. After her family moved to New Jersey in 2020, Phair began playing for the elite Players Development Academy club.

4. Why Does Casey Phair Play for South Korea?

Before the World Cup, Phair trained with both the U.S. and South Korean camps, but she ultimately decided to continue on her path with the South Korean team. “Whether it’s with the under-17 team or the senior team, I always feel that whenever I am with the Korean national team I am put in the best position to improve and thrive,” she told The Athletic in July, adding that she feels “at home” with her teammates on the South Korean squad.

5. Where Does Casey Phair Go to School?

Phair attends the Pingry School, a private K-12 institution in New Jersey. She has been playing for the school’s soccer team since her freshman year when she scored 25 goals in 15 games.