Casey Yu-jin Phair made World Cup history on Tuesday in Sydney, Australia.
Fire entered South Korea’s 2-0 loss to Colombia in the 77th minute in the country’s first World Cup match this month. At 16 years old, that officially made Fire the youngest ever to take to the field in a Women’s World Cup final.
The previous record belonged to Nigeria’s Ifeanyi Chiejine. She was 16 years and 34 days old when she debuted in 1999. Phair beat that mark by just eight days.
Born in Korea but raised in the United States. Her mother is Korean, and her father is American. They moved to the US when she was just one month old, and she started playing soccer just a few years later. They settled in New Jersey, where she scored 25 goals in 15 games last fall as a freshman at Pingree School. Phair trained with both the US Women’s National Team camp and the South Korean camp, though the latter won quickly.
Fire scored five goals in just two matches for South Korea’s U-17 team in an Asian Cup qualifier earlier this spring. Not long after, she was made into the first team and eventually made the World Cup roster – making her the first player of mixed heritage to do so in the team’s history. Much of Fair’s family still lives in South Korea, and her father, Shin, estimates that they spend about half their time in the country.
“If there is one thing we want the world to know, it is how passionate she is about the competition and the Korean team, and how committed she is to helping the team win,” Shin said. said the athlete. “At the end of the day, you focus on winning. That’s the mentality. It’s always been like that.”
Colombia led 2-0 before halftime Tuesday and escaped from the game. Catalina Usmi scored first in the 30th minute with a penalty kick, then Linda Caicedo scored again less than 10 minutes later. They held out the rest of the way and shut out South Korea to claim a 2-0 win.
South Korea will meet Morocco next Saturday before playing a final match in Group H against Germany next week.
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