Today we’re taking a look at the youngest players in women’s World Cup history, a record that was recently broken in 2023.

We'll be delving back into the archives to discuss the youngest US women's soccer player, as well as highlighting players from around the world who have not only appeared but also excelled for their respective nations at a young age.

Who is the youngest player in the Women’s World Cup 2023?

There are three 16-year-olds at the Women’s World Cup 2023. Sheika Scott is the oldest of the three, and the midfielder has already seen action for Costa Rica at this year's tournament.

Giulia Dragoni has also come on and played for Italy, but the youngest of the three is South Korean forward Casey Phair. She’s the only player at the tournament born in 2007, and came on as a substitute for Korea against Colombia at the age of 16 and just 26 days old.

Phair’s father is American, and her mother South Korean. She is now not only the youngest player in this year's women’s World Cup, but the youngest female soccer player in women’s World Cup history.

All three of these youngest players in the Women’s World Cup 2023 have either been on the field as substitutes or started games for their countries.

Who is the youngest player in the USWNT World Cup 2023 roster?

Alyssa Thompson, the forward and USA National Soccer women's youngest player at the World Cup, stands as the youngest member on the USWNT 2023 roster, at the age of 18.

Notably, Thompson was the top pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft and has already accumulated 13 appearances for Angel City this season, displaying her prowess by scoring three goals.

The USWNT World Cup roster boasts a perfect blend of veteran expertise, featuring renowned players like Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, along with promising young talents such as Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman, and the remarkable Alyssa Thompson.

Who is the youngest player to ever win a Women’s World Cup?

The Japan squad in 2011 featured 18 year old forward Mana Iwabuchi, who came on as a substitute in every game except for the semi final against Sweden.

At 18 years old, she is the youngest to ever win the women’s World Cup while getting on the field during the tournament.

Norwegian goalkeeper Ingrid Sternhoff was on the roster for the 1995 tournament when Norway claimed the title, but she did not play in the competition.

Tierna Davidson is the youngest USWNT player to win the World Cup, as she was a part of the 2019 squad that won the competition. She was 20 years old at the time.

The 10 Youngest players to play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in history

  1. Jessica Aby

Youngest Age while playing in WWC: 16
Nationality: Ivory Coast
Club Teams: Barcelona FA, Pyrgos Limassol, Logrono, Alaves
Position: Striker
Years Active: 2015-Present 

Jessica Aby has made eight appearances for her country, the first of which came at the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

The Ivory Coast struggled in the tournament, failing to pick up a single point in their debut appearance. Aby came on as a substitute in their second group stage game against Thailand, a 3-2 loss.

She is currently a forward for Alaves, a Spanish team playing in the Liga F.

  1. Caitlin Foord

Youngest Age while playing in WWC: 16
Nationality: Australia
Club Teams: Sydney FC, Sky Blue FC, Perth Glory, Vegalta Sendai Ladies, Portland Thorns FC, Arsenal
Position: Wing Back, Winger
Years Active: 2011-Present 

Caitlin Foord had now made 108 appearances for Australia, but back in 2011 she made her World Cup debut at just 16.

She started two of the three group stage games that year at right back, and then in the knockout rounds started in midfield.

After the tournament ended, Foord was named the Young Player of the Tournament, and went on to represent Australia at the 2015, 2019 and 2023 tournaments.

  1. Kim Su-Gyong

Youngest Age while playing in WWC: 16
Nationality: North Korea
Position: Midfielder
Years Active: 2011-Present

Kim Su-Gyong was one of two 16-year-old North Korean women’s national soccer team players at the 2011 World Cup, and played in the midfield for all three group stage games.

The other was substitute goalkeeper Kim Chol-Ok, who didn’t get on the field, but marked another very young talent on the roster.

  1. Homare Sawa

Youngest Age while playing in WWC: 16
Nationality: Japan
Club Teams: NTV Beleza, Denver Diamonds, Atlanta Beat, Washington Freedom, Nippon NTV Beleza, INAC Kobe Leonessa
Position: Midfielder
Years Active: 1993-2015 

Homare Sawa is the Japanese leader in both international caps and goals scored, and it all started at the 1995 World Cup. Sawa made her international debut at the age of 15, and in 1995 her World Cup debut came aged 16. 

Sawa went on to participate in six World Cup tournaments, amassing an impressive total of 205 appearances for her country and scoring 83 goals. Her remarkable leadership led her nation to victory in 2011, where she was honored with both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards during the tournament. She skillfully guided the team through numerous giant-killings on their path to the top.

The Japanese icon is a member of the Asian Football Hall of Fame, and one of the most influential characters in women’s soccer history. Not only that, she’s also the youngest Japanese women’s soccer player to make an appearance at the World Cup.

Sawa was listed in our Top 10 Greatest Women’s Soccer Players of all time, and deserves a mention whenever talking about greatness in the women’s game.

  1. Kerlly Real

Youngest Age while playing in WWC: 16
Nationality: Ecuador
Club Teams: Deportivo Quito, Quito FC, Galapagos SC, Espuce, Malaga, Cordoba, Valencia
Position: Midfielder

Years Active: 2015-Present

Kerlly Real also plays in Spain, currently a midfielder for Valencia FC in the Liga F.

The Ecuadorian has featured 27 times for her country, including her debut appearance at the 2015 women’s World Cup.

As one of her country's most promising young players, Real started all three group stage games for Ecuador’s debut appearance in the women’s game.

Since then, sadly they have failed to qualify, but Real continues to make her mark in domestic soccer.

  1. Shieka Scott

Youngest Age while playing in WWC: 16
Nationality: Costa Rica
Club Teams: Municipal Pococí, Alajuelense
Position: Attacking Midfielder, Striker
Years Active: 2022-Present 

Shieka Scott is one of Costa Rica’s up and coming young attackers, and has featured in the first two games of the 2023 women’s soccer World Cup.

Having come on as a substitute against both Spain and Japan, Scott became one of the youngest players in the Women's World Cup in 2023, and the youngest to represent Costa Rica in their history.

She plays her domestic soccer for Alajuelense, a Premier Division team in her home nation. She scored her debut goal in just the second game of the 2023 season, having made her debut in the season opener.

  1. Giulia Dragoni

Youngest Age while playing in WWC: 16
Nationality: Italy
Club Teams: Inter Milan, Barcelona
Position: Midfielder
Years Active: 2021-Present 

Giulia Dragoni has picked up the nickname ‘little Messi’ as one of the most promising young female soccer players in the game.

She came through the youth system at Inter Milan, and made the switch to Barcelona in 2022 after making four appearances for Milan's first team.

Barcelona’s impressive academy develops many Spanish talents, but Dragoni became the first non-Spanish player to settle into the women’s program.

Not only did she travel with her country to the 2023 World Cup, but started the opening game against Argentina, in which Italy won 1-0.

Remember the name Giulia Dragoni, she’s going to be very, very good, and is the youngest current women’s soccer player to start at this year's world cup.

  1. Annalie Longo

Youngest Age while playing in WWC: 16
Nationality: New Zealand
Club Teams: Three Kings United, Sydney FC, Coastal Spirit FC, Canterbury United Price, Melbourne Victory
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Years Active: 2006-Present

Annalie Longo came on as a substitute in the 2007 World Cup during a 2-0 loss against Denmark. At the time she was just 16 years old and had made just seven appearances for her country, but has now flourished into a regular.

Longo has now made 127 appearances for the Football Ferns, playing in the 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2023 World Cups. She is a regular in the New Zealand women’s soccer roster, and has donned the number ten for several years.

Back in 2006, she was not the only 16 year old who got on the field for New Zealand. Her teammate, Merissa Smith also saw action as a substitute at the age of 16, but was several months older than Longo.

  1. Ifeanyi Chiejine

Youngest Age while playing in WWC: 16
Nationality: Nigeria
Club Teams: KMF Kuopio, CSHVSM
Position: Striker
Years Active: 1999-2008 

Up until the 2023 tournament, Nigerian forward Ifeanyi Chiejine was the youngest Women’s World Cup player ever.

She played in, and started, all three group stage games at the 1999 women’s World Cup for Nigeria, helping her country qualify for the knockout rounds.

Chiejine was a part of the 4-3 thriller against Brazil during the Quarter Finals that year, a game that eventually ended in a last-gasp Golden Goal from Brazil to break the deadlock and send Nigeria home.

The Nigerian forward played in three World Cups and two Olympic Games. Sadly, she passed away in 2019 from illness at the age of 36.

  1. Casey Phair

Youngest Age while playing in WWC: 16
Nationality: South Korea
Position: Striker
Years Active: 2023-Present 

Casey Phair is now officially the youngest player to play in a Women’s World Cup, at the official age of 16 and 26 days old.

Phair was born to an American father and South Korean mother, and chose to represent South Korea at the international level.

The young striker had been playing for the Korean Under-17s team before she got the call to go to the 2023 women’s World Cup, and it's clear she hasn’t gone out to Australia/New Zealand just to ride the bench.

On July 25th she came on as a substitute against Colombia, making her officially the youngest women’s World Cup player.

Parameters for Ranking

This list ranking the youngest Women’s World Cup player in history is based on the date of birth of each player and their age at the time in which they featured in a World Cup game.

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