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An American becomes the youngest to debut in the Women's World Cup — for South Korea

South Korea's Casey Phair, left, and Colombia's Carolina Arias compete for the ball during the Women's World Cup Group H soccer match between Colombia and South Korea at the Sydney Football Stadium in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, July 25, 2023.
Rick Rycroft
/
AP
South Korea's Casey Phair, left, and Colombia's Carolina Arias compete for the ball during the Women's World Cup Group H soccer match between Colombia and South Korea at the Sydney Football Stadium in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, July 25, 2023.

An American set a couple of records Tuesday in the Women's World Cup, but she wasn't playing for Team USA.

When South Korea subbed 16-year-old forward Casey Phair of New Jersey into its opening match against Colombia in Sydney, various Western media were quick to note that she became the youngest player ever to compete in the Women's World Cup. Phair is 16 years and 26 days old, and when she entered the match in the 78th minute, she beat the previous mark set by Ifeanyi Chiejine, according to The Athletic. Chiejine was 16 years and 34 days old when she played for Nigeria against North Korea in 1999.

Colombia eventually defeated South Korea, 2-0.

Phair's father is American and her mother is South Korean, making the teenager the first dual-national and mixed-race player named to a South Korean senior national soccer team, female or male.

South Korea coach Colin Bell told the Reuters news service that Phair has earned her spot on the national senior team. "Casey is going not as a passenger but as a valuable member of the squad."

Youth is being served elsewhere in this year's Women's World Cup: Midfielder Giulia Dragoni, who was born Nov. 7, 2006, played Monday against Argentina. When Dragoni played for Italy on July 1 against Morocco, she was 16 years and 236 days old, according to Forbes.

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