Bell has named 31 players to his final training squad ahead of next month’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The roster includes the core of Ji So-yeon (Suwon FC), Cho So-hyun (Tottenham), Lee Keum-min (Brighton), Lee Young-joo (Madrid CFF) and Jang Seul-ki (Incheon Hyundai Steel), as well as five new faces.
Among them are three high school players. 안전놀이터 Casey Eugene Fair (Players Development Academy-USA), a member of the class of 2007, and Wonju Eun Kwon (Ulsan Hyundai High School) were selected. The players were selected based solely on their ability and competitiveness, without any preconceived notions.
Kwon Da-eun (15 years, 309 days) is the second-youngest player ever to be named to the A team, behind Ji So-yeon (15 years, 219 days). Casey Fair, who also played for the U-16s, is a 5-foot-9 player who is known for her aggression and scoring ability.
All three were honored to make the national team before they even hit the senior ranks. But Bell’s appointment is not a surprise.
Over the years, Bell has traveled extensively to watch the players in professional and age-group competitions. He has consistently selected younger players, including Bae Ye-bin (Widok University), who was a student at Pohang Women’s High School last year, and Chun Gar-ram (Hwacheon KSPO), who played for the U20 national team.
“The younger players need to grow and develop for the future of women’s soccer,” Bell said. The youngsters have since been consistently called up to the A team and have even made their A-match debuts, bringing a smile to Bell’s face.
Now it’s about competition. Of course, the big picture that Bell has been building won’t change, but the possibility of another ‘surprise’ in the final 23-man World Cup roster can’t be ignored. “Age doesn’t matter as long as you show the ability,” Bell said in announcing the roster.
“We don’t have a lot of time before the World Cup, so we need to give 100% in training and matches. Every player has to work hard every day to make the final 23-man roster.”
The players will report to the Paju National Training Center (NFC) from the 18th to the 23rd of this month, and the final 23-man roster will be finalized after the team’s World Cup qualifying match against Haiti on the 8th of next month, before departing for Australia for the group stage.
With the World Cup just a month away, age is not an issue for Bell.