Soccer Success Runs in the Family for Timothy Weah
May 12, 2017
TIMOTHY WEAH may have a very familiar name to global soccer fans—his father, George Weah, was one of the best players of his generation—but the 17-year-old is determined to forge his his own path in the sport. The young New Yorker has been turning heads within the youth levels of Paris St. Germain and this October he will step further into the spotlight at the U-17 World Cup.
Weah, 17, was part of the United States U-17 national team that just wrapped up its successful World Cup qualifying campaign. Frequently one of the first substitutes off the bench, Weah fit in nicely with one of the most attack-oriented squads U.S. Soccer has ever assembled. Back in December he helped the Yanks to lopsided wins over Turkey, Portugal, and Brazil, and scored in the Brazil match.
In the recent qualifying tournament in Panama, Weah and the United States romped through CONCACAF before losing to Mexico in a shootout—a team the Yanks had defeated in the group stage. Despite coming up short in the final, the U.S. booked its spot for October’s World Cup in India and Weah is insistent that his team is a contender to win it all this year.
“I believe my teammates and I are limitless,” Weah told American Soccer Now. “We are the best among our age. I think we can go far and I think everyone on this team has the ability to play first-team soccer at our ages right now. We have the level.
“I feel like going into the future, this team has something special. Who knows? Maybe we'll win the World Cup and one day all of us will be on the full national team together and bring the World Cup home to our country.”
Weah tends to be in the spotlight whenever he is on the field given his famous last name. His father, George, won many significant titles in his 18-year professional career, including FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995 and African Footballer of the Year three times at clubs such as Monaco, Paris St. Germain, and AC Milan (where he is in the club’s hall of fame).
Despite the potential challenges that would come from being the son of a legend, the younger Weah enjoys being part of a “football family.”
“I don't find it difficult,” Weah said of following his father into the sport. “I've always enjoyed it and used it to my advantage when I'm on the field playing against other players. My father is George Weah. I have a lot of expectations. But I don't think too much about it. I go out there and play my game and I don't force his game on me. I go out there with a clear head and do what I have to do to get a win.
“He was a little bit of both [a mentor and a coach],” the younger Weah continued. “Anything that was needed or any points to be a better attacker, he pointed them out. But he always wants me to play my own game, be my own person, and enjoy my career from here and into the future. He doesn't really get into that. It's more of a chill thing. When I get home, we don't talk much about soccer. We talk about what mom is cooking or what is on TV. It's just cool.”
Weah’s parents attended the games in Panama, and watched their son score goals against both Cuba and his mother’s native Jamaica.
“I wanted my son to be free and do the things he liked,” George Weah told U.S. Soccer in Panama. “But what he liked to do was go out and play soccer….He's not good because he's the son of George Weah. He's good because he loves the game. He's learning the game on his own. I think that's the best thing to do. Everything he's going to do, the credit goes to him. It's not me. It's just him.”
“Wherever they're going to play, I'm going to be there,” the Liberian national team icon added. “I am going go and see him play in a World Cup.”
Born in Brooklyn, the younger Weah moved to Florida when he was around two but then returned to New York a few years later. He still considers New York to be his home.
"That's where soccer really became a big part of my life,” he added.
Despite holding multiple passports, Weah says he never had any intentions of representing Liberia or his Jamaica. In fact, he was honored to have the chance to both play and score against Jamaica and even teased his mom about it.
“The decision wasn't hard at all,” Weah said. “I knew from the start I wanted to play for the United States of America. I am never going to change. This is my country and I love it here. They treat me well here and I love my teammates. “
Now on the U-19 team for Paris St. Germain (where his father played from 1992-1995 and won the Ligue 1 title in 1993-94), Weah has been with the club since 2014 and has made steady progress through the team’s academy. Last season he won a U-17 title with PSG and he even had a five-goal effort against Shanghai Shenhua at the Al Kass International Cup.
The current United States U-17 team has been scouted heavily by European teams and while most of its players are currently based domestically due to age restrictions, Weah believes that many of his American teammates will follow him to Europe in the near future.
From what he has seen, he believes many have a chance to succeed on a very high level.
“I don't really have a comparison—I think my teammates are better than a lot of Europeans who are playing a high level of soccer with European teams,” Weah said. “I feel that each and every one of these players can be overseas but it's just an issue of passport.
“Each of these players can be very good players and very classy players and future legends.”