Timothy Weah isn’t afraid of the spotlight, and he isn’t afraid of making his own name known. That’s easier said than done for an 18-year-old Brooklyn native whose father not only is the leader of a nation but one of the world’s greatest footballers, too.
As the United States men’s national team prepares for their first international friendly of the new season Friday night against Brazil at MetLife Stadium, Weah’s spotlight shifts from Paris back to the tristate area where his career began.
“It’s great. I always take pleasure in coming back,” he told reporters. “It’s a great honor playing with the national team, and with the matches we have coming up, I’m super excited for what we have. It’s a great challenge for the team, but we’re up for it and I can’t wait for the games.”
Weah, who plays professionally for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) of France’s Ligue 1, was born in Brooklyn and played for Rosedale Soccer Club in Queens before going to the Red Bulls Academy in 2013. He has featured for the USMNT’s senior side three times under current interim head coach Dave Sarachan and scored his first goal on May 29 against Bolivia.
Weah’s father, George, won the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 1995 as the world’s top player with PSG, along with UEFA’s Best Player in Europe award and three French Cups. In December, George Weah was elected president of his home country of Liberia.
Yet, the younger Weah says having his father’s name and pressure to live up to it doesn’t affect him one bit.
“With whatever I do, there’s going to be hate, and they’re always going to say, ‘He’s not as good as his dad,’ ” Weah said. “I just stay focused on my game, and right now the men’s national team is the most important thing to me.”
Weah, a forward, will play against a few of his PSG teammates such as Neymar in an international match, on his home turf nonetheless, for the first time.
“We joke about it,” Weah said. “They’re excited to be in my hometown of New York, New Jersey, and I hope they’re ready for us. We’re going to bring a challenge.”