NJ teen poised to become youngest World Cup player in history
This is sacrilege to World Cup fans, but I never want to be a phony, so in full disclosure, I’m not a big soccer fan. I am however a big New Jersey fan and an even bigger fan of young people reaching for their dreams even if they seem impossible. This story combines all of it.
There are 23 players on the South Korean team for Women’s World Cup. One of them is from New Jersey. And she’s barely 16 years old.
Casey Phair is from Warren and as a soccer player, a really, really good soccer player, she has the opportunity of a lifetime. If she plays in either of the first two games she will become the youngest player male or female to play in the World Cup.
If it seems strange for an American girl to be playing for the South Korean team, it’s not. Her father is from New Hampshire but her mother is from South Korea. Also Casey went to development camps for both the United States team as well as the South Korean team.
It was with the latter that she magically clicked, scoring five goals in two games with their under-17 national team back in the spring. Coaches noticed and she was invited to tryout camp for the senior team and she made the cut.
Her father Shane says he’s more starstruck with it all than his daughter is.
To me, it’s like, ‘Wow, you’re 16 and you’re playing in the World Cup,’” he said last week before flying to Australia to meet up with daughter Casey and his wife. “I don’t think she thinks like that. She sees this as an opportunity. She wants to go play.
Who knows how far she’ll get with this South Korean team this summer. But what I’m wondering is how much stronger of a player she’ll be in four years when maybe she’ll end up playing on the U.S.A. team in another World Cup.
Good luck Casey Phair, Jersey is rooting for you!
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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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