PSG striker Timothy Weah has earned his first senior United States Men’s National Team call-up. The 18 year old is the son of former Ballon d’Or winner George Weah.  The US Soccer hype train will be full steam ahead and Weah must not let the hype derail his career.

US Soccer has long searched for the young player that will propel the USMNT to the next level.  Currently Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic is the player US fans can’t get enough of. Pulisic has been able to live up to the hype and has been outstanding for Dortmund. However, for every Pulisic there are plenty of players like Freddy Adu and Julian Green who have fallen victim to the immense pressure that goes with being the “Savior of US Soccer.” Timothy Weah would be wise to heed the cautionary tales of Freddy Adu and Julian Green.

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Freddy Adu

The 28 year old journeyman was once referred to as “the next Pele” and even did a commercial with the Brazilian legend.  Adu made his professional debut at the age of 14 for D.C. United of Major League Soccer. The prodigy would score his first professional goal that season as well at the age of 14. After several impressive US Youth team performances Adu moved to Portuguese giants Benfica in 2006. US soccer fans were thrilled with the move and many believed Adu would lead the USMNT to greatness. Things never worked out for Adu at Benfica; the American went on to play for 13 clubs in 8 countries after leaving the MLS in 2006. He is currently playing for second tier USL newcomers Las Vegas Lights, don’t hold your breath Adu changes teams as often as Paul Pogba changes his hairstyle.

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Julian Green

Julian Green burst onto the scene at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.  Green came on for the US in their round of 16 match against Belgium and scored on his first touch of the match; cutting the deficit to 2-1. The US would lose the match but US supporters were quick to anoint Green as the next prodigy. That goal in the 2014 World Cup was the last thing that has gone well for Green. The German-American struggled for first team football at German super club Bayern Munich prompting a move to then 2 Budesliga side Stuttgart.  Green helped Die Roten win promotion only to be loaned back to the 2nd division of German football with Greuther Furth.  The 22 year old has lived the reality that is the US Soccer hype train:

“It’s normal, especially in the United States. You get hyped so much and if things don’t go so well, then it’s in the other way. You must handle that if you want to play at a high level.”

Green faces an uphill battle to resurrect his career and play for another elite club like Bayern Munich.

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Timothy Weah

Timothy Weah comes from an impressive football pedigree. His father, George Weah was a pioneer for future African footballers. The Liberian is the first and only Ballon d’Or winner hailing from an African nation. George won the award in 1995 while at PSG and was also the top scorer in the Champions League that season. George had an impressive European career playing for Monaco, PSG, Milan, and Marseilles. The current Liberian President tallied an impressive 134 goals during his professional career in Europe.

Timothy Weah was born in New York City and grew up in America. When Weah was 13 he went on trial with Chelsea.  He joined the New York Red Bull Academy in 2013, but his time with the MLS club would be short lived. While on trial at another European club Weah caught the eye of a PSG scout. Weah joined the PSG Academy in 2014 and made an instant impact scoring a hat trick in his first start in an 8-1 rout of Ludogorets in the UEFA Youth League.  In July of 2017 Weah signed his first pro contract with The Parisians, ensuring that he will be with the club through 2020. Weah came on in the 79th minute of the match against Troyes on March 3rd marking his senior team debut. It was almost a dream debut for the American as Weah found himself with time and space only to send his stoppage time shot straight at the Troyes keeper.  A goal in a debut would’ve been quite a start for the American.

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Weah’s International Feats

Timothy has represented the United States at several youth levels, but is not cap-tied to the USMNT. Weah is also eligible to represent France, Jamaica, and Liberia, though the US and France would have to be the front-runners for his services. As of this moment Weah is firmly committed to the US.  The decision was based on Weah’s fondness of his teammates and his country and “wasn’t hard at all.”

The 2017 U-17 World Cup in India saw Weah achieve something no other US male footballer had ever accomplished before. The hat trick Weah scored against Paraguay in the Americans 5-0 rout was the first ever recorded by a US male at any level during the knockout stages and only the 5th overall. The Americans would fizzle out of the tournament but not forget about Weah’s breathtaking performance.

Weah will look to build off his impressive U-17 World Cup when he suits up for the US against Paraguay on March 27th. USMNT care-taker manager Dave Sarachan called Weah up for the friendly; marking the first time Weah will be involved with the senior squad. The squad is youthful one, with Chelsea’s Matt Miazga and Tottenham’s Cameron Carter-Vickers also getting invites.  Sarachan is very high on Weah:

“He’s a versatile player that can fit at a couple 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’s involvement at the French super club did not go unnoticed by Sarachan either:

“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.”

The Future

Timothy Weah has the ability to be a special footballer for both PSG and the USMNT.  The match against Paraguay should be a valuable experience for the PSG man no matter the outcome.  US fans would be wise to be patient with Weah; PSG has a roster stocked with immense talent and Weah will have to fight for every minute of playing time. Weah can use Christian Pulisic as an example; Pulisic put in loads of effort to get playing time at Dortmund and now he is a match day regular.  Weah has one thing that Adu and Green don’t: a father who knows what it takes to be a Ballon d’Or winner.

Is Timothy Weah a future star or will he end up like his countrymen Freddy Adu and Julian Green?

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