Weah debut with PSG and possibly US follows dad’s election
RALEIGH, N.C. — Tim Weah’s famous father was inaugurated as president of Liberia in January, the 18-year-old midfielder made his debut for Paris Saint-Germain on March 3 and he could make his first appearance for the U.S. national team next week.
“It’s insane,” he said Wednesday. “It was just like it’s all coming at once, and I’m taking it really well. I’m enjoying the time that I’ve been given, and I’m just here to gain experience and work towards the future and hopefully become a star for this team and for PSG.”
With the U.S. more than a year from its next competitive match after failing to qualify for the World Cup, interim coach Dave Sarachan called in eight players who could make their debuts against Paraguay on Tuesday.
Weah’s father George was the 1995 FIFA Player of the Year and scored 22 goals in 60 international appearances from 1987-2003, though his nation never reached the World Cup. Tim Weah was born in New York during a time his father played in Europe and jetted back home on the Concorde on off-days and for summer break.
Dad lost his bid for Liberia’s presidency in 2005, was voted into the Liberian Senate 10 years later, then was elected president in December. He began a six-year term on Jan. 22.
“It’s really amazing. To be honest, I don’t really think too much about it,” Tim Weah said. “Being a part of the first family and soccer are two different things. I kind of keep my soccer side from that part of being a part of the first family. So I don’t really think too much about it. It’s really like living a normal life, it’s just that my parents are part of the highest part of the state there in Liberia. ... I kind of just keep that part over there, and try to live a normal life here.”
Tim played for youth teams while growing up in New York and Florida, and was with the New York Red Bulls Academy in 2013. He joined the youth system of PSG, his father’s team from 1992-95, in 2014 and signed a pro contract last summer.
Weah had a hat trick for the U.S. against Paraguay last October in the second round of the Under-17 World Cup. Less than three weeks after turning 18 on Feb. 22, Weah made his senior team debut for PSG in the 79th minute at Troyes, and on March 10 he replaced Angel Di Maria in the 70th minute at home against Metz.
“With PSG, he’s playing for a high-profile club who has seen fit to give him first-team minutes, which is a great sign of his progression,” Sarachan said. “He’s a versatile player that can fit in at a couple different positions, and when you have speed and technical ability combined as a young kid, I think he’s an interesting prospect to offer an opportunity to.”
Weah says his father watched both of his games with the PSG first team, and dad plans to watch the match against Paraguay. He says he talks to his parents daily and his mother “is in tune with everything that I’m doing.”
Weah and other young players hope such as Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams hope to impress enough to earn a roster spot when the national team reassembles in May ahead of three exhibitions, when more veterans are likely to be mixed in for games against Bolivia, Ireland and France. Then they will have to show they belong after a new coach is hired, most likely in the summer.
“It’s always going to be ‘George’s son,’” Weah said. “But I feel like growing up, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned not to calculate what people say, just play my own game. I think in the future if I show them what I can really do, they’ll respect me and they’ll be able to say, ‘He’s his father’s son, but he’s also his own player.’
“That’s what I’m looking forward to,” he added. “Growing up, it was pretty easy. I didn’t really take it to the head that my father was George Weah. I didn’t really let that bother me when people said stuff. It was pretty cool.”