Picture this. You’re the son of a former Ballon d’Or winner and a current president of a country. And you’re an American playing at Paris Saint-Germain, one of the best clubs in Europe, with major hype around you.
One might expect the instant game to go to your head, but Timothy Weah isn’t like that. He’s engaging, he’s impressive on the pitch, but he remains humble and grounded, aware of his standing in the footballing world.
He has taken advantage of missing first-teamers to get game time this pre-season, and he’s done well too. He followed up his well-taken goal against Bayern with a run to win a penalty today. It’s the start of a hugely promising career.
"It’s amazing to play on the same pitch with him"
Weah is 18, while teammate Gianluigi Buffon is 40 - it is a fact not lost on him. “It’s amazing to play on the same pitch with him. I was a regular teenager from New York, and I didn’t know much about professional football. I used to watch them on TV. Just to get a ‘congrats’ or a ‘great game’ from him is something I look forward to,” said Weah.
“He’s a leader of men; one of the best goalkeepers and possibly the best I’ve played with. I hopefully can share a winning season with him - Ligue 1, Coupe de France and maybe the Champions League."
It’s those last two words that have come to define PSG’s seasons in the past few years. The boardroom desire that elusive European success more so than anything else, given their dominance domestically.
"I think we’ll go all the way"
Weah’s youthful confidence is clear when he doesn’t mince words about his side’s chances this season. “I think we’ll go all the way - I’m looking forward to it and hoping we do. We have the players to do it. Mbappe is a world champion, Neymar is one of the best in the world, while Cavani is the best striker in the world. From goalkeeper to centre forward, we have the best. We have the ability to break down teams and take the cup. It’s all about luck and how we do.”
Against Arsenal, Weah did well given the limited service. That PSG would be dominated was expected given their inexperienced squad, but he made numerous runs to help his teammates.
He was rewarded after earning a penalty when Sead Kolasinac rashly tackled him in the box. He certainly was satisfied with his performance.
“I felt I was really good in the second half. I was a bit isolated at the top in the first half. It was a beautiful save from Leno, and I was unlucky not to score. But I won a penalty, and that’s something to look at and shows I’ve not only working for myself but for the team,” he said. “It’s hard playing with the younger guys and getting a rhythm. Everyone is new to this huge stadium and to professional football.”
"A coach to take me to the next level"
This is an important year for Weah in terms of development, and it’s vital he has a coach able to work and further his development. He’s made no effort to hide his admiration of new manager Thomas Tuchel. “He’s amazing. I love him as a coach and as a person. It feels like he’s the coach that will take me to the next level. I go to training every day and look to train hard and make him and his staff happy as that’s important to get more minutes.”
Weah’s club career is off to a flying start, but so is his international career. He had a great U-17 World Cup last year, including a hat-trick, and made his senior team debut in March 2018.
A senior goal came by in his first start against Bolivia. Despite the USA’s absence in Russia, there is plenty to look forward to. For starters, they will host the 2026 World Cup, and if all goes well, Weah could be leading the team at his peak at 26. He’s keeping his head low though, maintaining short-term goals.
"We’re building up for next World Cup"
“Right now, we’re just building up for next World Cup. It’s a young team, and it’s all about gelling together and being comfortable. I feel like we have something special with Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie: two Champions League players with their teams. With me being with a CL team too, I’m building myself with a great coach and team. We can really have an impact in the future.”
It is best to reign expectations, but it can be hard too. With a great set-up around him and a humble personality, one hopes that Weah can make it all the way. He has a long way to go, and whether he stays at the club or goes out on loan remains to be seen.
There is plenty of competition at PSG, but there is always room for a break-out. This year might not be his, but if he keeps his head down and continues to do the small things right, the future will be very bright for him.
Timothy Weah is on the edge of the stardom: the next bright talent of USA, and there’s plenty of expectation. As long as he doesn’t let it get to him, he has a great career ahead of him.