Liberian striker George Weah is still the only African recipient of the prestigious Ballon d’Or trophy, a superb striker that has featured for powerhouses like Monaco, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain or Chelsea and has scored over 100 goals in Ligue 1 and over 50 goals in Serie A.
But the current President of Liberia, one of the greatest football players from the African Continent, has never played at the FIFA World Cup, failing to qualify with Liberia at the final tournament. He was widely regarded as one of the best players to never feature in the competition, as his national team never produced the amount of talent necessary to qualify.
“Of course I would have liked to have played at the World Cup, but I achieved so much in my career as a footballer that I can’t have any complaints,” said Weah in an interview for FIFA’s official website in 2018
But the current President of Liberia, in office since 2018, after winning a Senate place in 2014, sees the situation quite differently.
“I am very proud to be Liberian. I love the country and I love the people. The only thing that is disappointing, is that so many other Lone Star players never got to play at the World Cup and did not have the personal success I had,” added Weah.
While his career has ended for two decades now, albeit with a one-off appearance in 2018 at his retirement match against Nigeria, Weah, who was named by Pele in the “Top 100 football players of all time”, still watches football and will take even a closer look at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The reason? His son, Timothy, was named in the United States of the America roster for Qatar 2022, as his career has skyrocketed since signing for French club Lille OSC in 2019, after making his first steps in football at PSG, his father’s former club.
A striker with electric pace, who has featured prominently for Lille in the season when they won the domestic title in 2021, Weah does not have his father’s scoring prowess, but has enough talent to be recognized as one of Ligue 1’s top young players.
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 2000, Weah was always going to play football, as his first steps were closely guided by his father. His first clubs were in Florida and New York and transferred in the New York Red Bulls Academy in 2013, before moving to France in 2014, where he joined PSG.
Yet it was not George who really wanted Tim to play football, rather than his mother, Clar, who pushed him the hardest. His father’s citizenship came in handy, though, when moving to France, as it enabled Tim to progress even further, earning call ups to the PSG first team, where he became good friends with Neymar.
His first memories of football as a fan were the ones at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the first-ever to be held on African soil. Since that moment, Tim vowed to try and achieve something that his illustrious father never did: play at the FIFA World Cup.
His performances at Lille caught the eye of national team coach Gregg Berhalter and since his first cap for the USA team, in 2018, Weah became a mainstay in the team, featuring 25 times and scoring three goals.
“I keep in contact with coach Gregg. Whenever I score or whenever I do something great he’s always there texting me and encouraging me. As a player, we are ambitious to be with the national team all the time. Hopefully with the performances that I’ve been having, hopefully I keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully, I can get a spot on the national team,” said Tim Weah for beIN Sports in February 2021.
One year later, Weah has been selected in the USA team for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where he hopes to become a regular in Berhalter’s side. But the young striker remains adamant that his father’s antics in football have not changed him, his work ethic, or the way he is.
Therefore, he always liked to be the chill type, and instead of going out, he always liked to produce his own music, enjoying trap-soul as a genre. According to the official website of the USA Soccer Federation, Weah “has his own microphone set up in his apartment, where he crafts beats, jots down lyrics, and records it all on his computer. Weah is an aspiring Trap Soul artist, which requires a combination of singing and rap. Since he started getting serious at the beginning of 2017, Weah has recorded six songs. His end goal is to one day produce his own music and open studios in Liberia and New York”.
“It’s super-important for me. Music is my muse. Some people like to read, and people like to do other things, but music is my getaway. It just puts me in a different world. It’s an escape for me. As soon as I come home from training, I eat, I rest up and then I’m in the studio writing, just trying to free my mind, just get to a different spot because football can definitely be stressful if you think about it 100 percent of the time. You can tend to lose your head. So, music is definitely my escape,” said Weah in an interview for “Goal”.
Whether it is music or football, it is just clear that Tim Weah is just getting started. But featuring at the FIFA World Cup, something his father was not able to, is just a crowning achievement for a player that did not forget who he is and what he stands for. And Tim Weah is just getting started.