Half-Korean player Phair motivated to make S. Korean women’s football history in Olympic qualifiers

In July, Casey Yujin Phair made football history as the youngest player to appear in a FIFA Women's World Cup match at just over 16 years of age. And the half-Korean player is determined to make more history for South Korea and help the country qualify for the Olympics for the first time.

Casey Yujin Phair, forward on the South Korean women's national football team, listens to a reporter's question before a training session at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on Oct. 16, 2023, in this photo provided by the Korea Football Association. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Casey Yujin Phair, forward on the South Korean women's national football team, listens to a reporter's question before a training session at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on Oct. 16, 2023, in this photo provided by the Korea Football Association. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Phair reported to South Korean training camp on Monday to prepare for the second round of the Asian Olympic qualifiers. South Korea will take on China, North Korea and Thailand beginning Oct. 26 in Xiamen, China, with a spot in the third and final round up for grabs.

Women's football made its Olympic debut in 1996 and South Korea have never played at the competition. With China and North Korea, the two teams that have long dominated South Korea, standing in the way, the path to Paris in 2024 appears as rocky as ever.

Phair said she will embrace the challenge.

"I think it'll be great to make history for Korea," she said at the National Football Center in Paju, northwest of Seoul. "And I think that adds more motivation to work harder in training and in the games to qualify."

Casey Yujin Phair, forward on the South Korean women's national football team, speaks to reporters before a training session at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on Oct. 16, 2023, in this photo provided by the Korea Football Association. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Casey Yujin Phair, forward on the South Korean women's national football team, speaks to reporters before a training session at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on Oct. 16, 2023, in this photo provided by the Korea Football Association. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Phair was born in South Korea to an American father and a Korean mother, and moved to the United States when she was two months old. She had been a highly regarded teen prospect in America when South Korea head coach Colin Bell brought her in for the World Cup. With a combination of her size, speed and skill, Phair was one of South Korea's top players at the World Cup, where the team took an early exit from the group stage.

Phair said she was "super excited" to be back with the national team and was looking forward to building on her World Cup experience.

"I think the World Cup was a great experience and a good starting point," Phair said. "And so I hope to work as a team, just to continue to work hard and get better and learn from what we experienced at the World Cup and bring it into the qualifiers."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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