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Angel City signs 16-year-old Casey Phair

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 25: Casey Phair of South Korea controls the ball during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group H match between Colombia and South Korea at Sydney Football Stadium on July 25, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Sajad Imanian/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Angel City announced the signing of 16-year-old Casey Phair on Thursday, marking the second U18 signing by the team this offseason.

The club previously added Giselle Thompson to its young core, signing the defender just days before she turned 18. She’s the younger sister of Alyssa Thompson, who Angel City drafted No. 1 overall in 2023.

Signings of U18 players have become such a strong occurrence in the NWSL that teams are capped at having four players under 18 on their roster.

Phair already has international experience, having become the youngest player to feature in a World Cup in 2023 as a member of the South Korean national team. The New Jersey resident was also the first dual national to appear in a World Cup for South Korea.

After making her World Cup debut, Phair knew that she wanted to take the next step, and she didn’t know how her experience would translate to U17 and then college.

“I wanted to keep getting better and not just peak at the World Cup, then go down and go to college and then have to get back up to a professional level,” she told ESPN.

While Phair had trained with a number of NWSL teams, she told ESPN that she found LA to be the best fit.

“One of the biggest things I liked about L.A. was that it was similar to Korea, where I felt very comfortable in the environment and just meeting the staff and all the coaches and the other players,” Phair said. “They were just so welcoming. They gave off the vibe that they wanted me there and that they wanted to help me. I thought Angel City had the best plan for me.”