July 5, 2023 will be remembered as a special day in Korean soccer history. This is because the name Casey Eugene Fair was included in the list of 23 Korean players participating in the 2023 FIFA Australia-New Zealand Women’s World Cup. Head coach Colin Bell, who leads the women’s national soccer team, chose Pair, who was born in 2007, as a member of the World Cup strike team.
Born to a Korean mother and an American father, she is a dual citizen of Korea and the United States. Her father met her mother while working as an English teacher in Korea, and after moving to New Jersey, USA, her pair were born. The pair, who started her soccer at the age of six, grew her skills to the point where she competed with her boys. She is evaluated as having good physical condition of 178 cm and 68 kg, quick feet and high-level technique.
The pair’s team is the Players Development Academy (PDA), a prestigious youth team in American soccer. Fair drew attention as a top-notch prospect in the United States, the world’s strongest women’s soccer team. Around the same time, Korean football also paid attention to fair. Last year, the Korea Football Association (KFA), which confirmed the existence of a Korean-American prospect, invited the pair to participate in training for the under-15 national team.
Her pair chose to play for her national team in her mother’s country. In April, she was a member of the under-16 national team and competed in the 2024 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Under-17 Asian Cup qualifiers, where she scored five goals in two matches. With her adult-level strength and speed overwhelming her age group, coach Bell sang the pair during final call-up training to prepare for the World Cup. In the strong training and practice matches that lasted for nearly a month, I did my part even among her older sisters, who are more than 10 years older. Coach Bell boldly selected Pair for the final roster for the World Cup.
Fair, who turned 16 on June 29, became the youngest player to participate in the World Cup in both men’s and women’s soccer in Korea. In 2003, at the age of 16 years and 9 months, she broke Park Eun-sun’s record for participating in the World Cup. Park Eun-sun, who is the second senior on her team to participate in this tournament, leads her offense with a pair who are 20 years older than her. In the Women’s World Cup, which opened on July 20, if the pair participate in the first and second rounds of the group stage, they will set a record for the youngest participation in the World Cup in the world women’s soccer world.
There is no problem for the pair, who have multiple nationalities, to wear the Taegeuk mark on the World Cup stage. There is no reason for disqualification under FIFA rules because he did not play in an A match for another country’s national team. 토토 Rather, prejudice in Korea may have been a barrier to entry into the national team. The deep-rooted perception of Korean society as a homogeneous nation has been a hurdle for players born and raised in multicultural families.
Fair is not the first multicultural family World Cup national team in Korean soccer history. There is a precedent in men’s soccer. Jang Dae-il, born to a British father and a Korean mother, participated in the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. However, the fact that Jang Dae-il came from a multicultural family was revealed after a while. Kim Dong-gwang, a representative Korean basketball star in the 1970s who had a US military father, is a similar case. There was a negative prejudice in society’s perception of children born between foreigners and Koreans, and in most cases, they tried to hide it somehow in the process of growing up.
In sports, the ‘Taegeuk mark’ has maintained pure blood or unity for a long time. Just 10 years ago, the national men’s soccer team pushed for the naturalization of foreign players, but faced strong opposition. Faced with a crisis of elimination during the final qualifying process for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, the use of foreign players active in the K-League, such as Eninho and Radoncic, was discussed. But public opposition was strong. The Korea Sports Council also took advantage of such an atmosphere and did not approve the request of the Korea Football Association.
It is not unique to Korea. In France, Germany, and Italy, there are political debates over the selection of Arab immigrants and African players for the national team. French far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen once caused a stir when she described the national soccer team, which consisted mainly of players from migrants and refugees, as “a racial dump that even the French national anthem couldn’t properly sing.” Zinedine Zidane, a second-generation Algerian immigrant and “soccer president,” strongly protested, saying, “If Le Pen wins the general election, I will be willing to retire from the national team.” Le Pen is defeated. This is because the support that Zidane’s dribbling and passing is more effective than any unified policy has arisen from all walks of life. Even Italy, which has a strong sense of racism, is in an atmosphere where adoptees and refugee-born black national team members are appearing recently.