DOHA, Qatar — With his first-half goal against Wales on Nov. 21, Tim Weah scored the first goal for the USMNT at a World Cup in eight years. He is the first USMNT player to score in the World Cup since 2014.
Tim Weah has the United States’ first goal of the World Cup on a pass from Christian Pulisic in the midfield, and the Americans had a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute. The U.S. men’s national soccer team is back on the global stage after missing the World Cup in 2018, and Coach Gregg Berhalter’s squad debuts in Qatar on Monday against Wales in its Group B opener.
It is an immediate test for the young Americans, who need a positive result against a Welsh team that features Gareth Bale, one of the best wingers of his generation and Wales’s all-time leading scorer.
Tim Weah can appreciate, better than most, how rare and special it is to play in a World Cup. Weah’s father, George, is considered one of the greatest soccer players ever, winner of both the FIFA Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or in 1995. He won league titles in Italy and France, was the top scorer in the Champions League during the 1994-95 season and helped Chelsea win the FA Cup in 2000. Yet the elder Weah never played in a World Cup, Liberia coming up a point short of qualifying for the 2002 tournament.
In an interview, Tim Weah said:
“My Dad wanted to do it with his country, but he didn’t have the opportunity to do it. Now he’s kind of living through me. I think it’s a blessing. It’s just amazing to be able to represent my family on this stage.”
Having such an accomplished parent – George Weah went into politics after his playing career ended and is now president of Liberia – can be a burden for a young person. Especially when they’re following a similar career path. The comparisons and expectations from outsiders can be crushing. The self-doubt can be relentless. The ever-present shadow can breed resentment. Tim Weah doesn’t seem bothered by any of it, however.
Here are ten facts about the Liberian-American star player & his father:
- Timothy Tarpeh Weah, 22 years old was born February 22, 2000 in Brooklyn, New York, to Liberian George Weah (at the time a professional soccer player) and his Jamaican wife Clar.
- Timothy Weah is a Liberian-American professional soccer player who plays as a winger for Ligue 1 club Lille and the United States national team. Timothy Weah’s card is rated 74, he is 183cm | 6’0″ tall, right-footed United States striker (ST) that plays for LOSC in Ligue 1 with High/Med work rates. He has 3-star weak foot and 3-star skill moves, He does not have a real face in-game. He has been used in 171,936 games with a GPG (goals per game) of 0.540. The best chemistry style for him is BASIC.
- Weah split time growing up between the New York metro area and South Florida, where his mother was his soccer coach. When he was old enough, Tim joined the Red Bulls Academy. When he was 14, he moved to France and played for PSG’s Academy. When he was 17, Tim signed his first professional contract with PSG. He scored a hat trick for the U17 national team at the U17 World Cup against Paraguay in the round of 16, becoming the first American male at any level to score a hat trick in the knockout round of a FIFA competition.
- In March 2018, Weah became the first player born in 2000 to earn a senior national team cap, coming on as a substitute in a game against Paraguay. Since then, he has earned 25 caps, started eight of 14 World Cup qualifiers, and scored three goals for the USMNT.
- He also has won three Ligue 1 titles — two with PSG and one with Lille — and been through the injury gauntlet. He had season-ending hamstring surgery in February 2020 and later missed more time after hurting his quad. He dealt with another nagging injury to start this past club season and missed the two USMNT friendlies in September. He returned to play for Lille in October.
- He is the son of former professional soccer player, Ballon d’Or winner, and President of Liberia, George Weah. In March 2018, he made his senior debut for Paris Saint-Germain and earned his first senior international cap for the United States. George Weah was elected as the 25th President of Liberia in 2018, after serving three years in the Senate of Liberia. Tim has two older siblings, George Jr. and Tita.
- There are no special protocols for Tim Weah to call or text his dad. Communicating with a head of state is actually pretty easy for him.
“I hit him up on WhatsApp,” says Weah, a forward for the United States men’s national team. “If he’s busy, he won’t answer, just like if I’m busy, I won’t answer. My dad is the most normal person you will ever meet. He wakes up and goes to play pickup basketball or soccer.”
- George Weah is the president of his native Liberia but he’s also soccer royalty. He grew up in Monrovia playing with homemade balls but he rose to the top of his sport. He was a world-class striker for AS Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, was the top scorer in UEFA Champions League in 1995 and won FIFA World Player of the Year that same year. He was runner-up in 1996. Despite his storybook life, there was one thing that eluded the elder Weah: He never played in a World Cup. The closest he ever came to delivering his country a World Cup berth was in 2002 when it missed out on qualifying by one point to Nigeria. On Monday, though, he got to watch his son get the opportunity to play for the United States at the World Cup in Qatar. President George Weah and his First Lady, Tim’s mother Clar got to watch the game in a FIFA suite rather than with other U.S. parents, as is custom for attending heads of state.
- Growing up as the son of a soccer legend had its perks. Tim met some of his idols, like former Nigerian national team star Jay-Jay Okocha, who he deems “one of the sickest players technically.” And he has had conversations with former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who coached George at Monaco and mentored his father throughout his career. But while Tim always embraced his family’s legacy, he has never wanted to solely rely on it.
- Off the field, in addition to his love of music and fashion — he has been to Paris Fashion Week and wants to start his own line someday — Weah shares his father’s passion for humanitarian work. He doesn’t have political aspirations but does want to start his own foundation in Africa and build a soccer academy. He says his mother wants him to adopt kids. He tries to visit Liberia every December. “People think of Liberia as barren, no trees, but it’s really not,” Weah says. “There are beautiful beaches, hotels, homes. It’s a vibe. It definitely slows you down. After a hard season, it’s a place you want to go meditate and be one with the earth.”
“It’s a blessing,” Weah says. “It will be an honor to represent my family on the biggest stage ever and represent my country. Everyone will be happy living the dream through me.”