USA’s Timothy Tarpeh Weah has had his moment in the World Cup, having scored the telling goal in a 1-1 draw against Wales in their opening game. The USMNT showed their spines, holding both Wales and England to draws. They actually deserved to leave with all three points when they played the Three Lions, having dominated most of the game and created several great chances.
They had it all to play for on Tuesday and came up with the goods, beating Iran 1-0 to qualify for the Round of 16 and book a game against the Netherlands.
Whichever way it went, Weah will not soon forget his incredible World Cup goal. He found the back of the net on Tuesday too, but it was struck off for being offside.
“What I remember most is the crowd going crazy and y’know, me with my hands out just running,” he told NPR.org on his best memory of the momentous event. “it’s an amazing feeling.”
Teammate Christian Pulisic, who scored the winner on Tuesday, pushed his way into open space with the ball before Weah accurately flicked it between a defender and the goalkeeper to see it through to the back of the Welsh net.
“I knew what run I was going to make because I saw the outside back a little separated from [the] center back side,” he recalled. “So I knew I had to make that central run. I cut in front of the defender, caught him sleeping a little bit.”
He talked up Pulisic’s pass, claiming the Chelsea attacker put it on a platter for him.
“Christian did an amazing job of splitting the defense with his pass,” he noted.
Weah had a defender right on him when he received Pulisic’s pass, while Wales goalie Wayne Hennessy was rushing toward him.
“My peripheral [vision] is on the goalkeeper,” the Lille winger explained. “So I’m seeing him at the side of my eye. And I’m just looking at the ball and I know I have two options: I can either flick it to the side of [Hennessey] because he’s going to come out and he’s going to get low quick. Or I can dribble [around] him.”
As you can well imagine, Americans were overjoyed with the moment and were ecstatic to avoid defeat to a nation such as Wales. The USA is 16th in the Men’s FIFA rankings while Wales is 19th, yet this definitely felt like an upset.
Weah was especially happy to bring joy to his American fans.
“I saw this video of this high school that was watching the game and they went crazy,” he remarked. “And you know, I just thought about how that used to be me in that same position. You know in school, watching the World Cup, screaming with my friends and to have the tables turned and me being, you know, the person that’s making them feel enjoyment, feel excitement? It’s definitely, definitely something you dream of.”
Tim is the son of former Ballon d’Or winner George Weah, who is now the President of his native Liberia. The 22-year-old was born in New York to George and his Jamaican wife, Clar Weah. As one could well imagine, local betting sites such as FanDuel New York likely teemed with activity before all three of The United States’ group stage games.
The senior Weah set himself apart as the top talent in Africa during the 90s and remains the only African to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award, as well as FIFA’s World Player of the Year award. George Weah played for the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Chelsea, AS Monaco, and Manchester City but never fulfilled his dream of playing in the World Cup.
“It was his dream to play in a World Cup, [to] bring his country here. And he didn’t get to do that,” Tim said of his father. “But I think he’s living the moment through me. And I’m going to do my best to make sure that he enjoys every moment of it.”
The youngster told his father he would end up playing on the world’s grandest stage and has realized this dream, something the Liberian President is extremely proud of.
“I’m very proud,” George told the aforementioned publication, “I’m very happy. My wife and I [are] happy and I think it justified our journey to Qatar. God has a plan for everyone you know, and God’s plan for me was to not play World Cup. For [Tim] that was his dream. In 2010 I took him to South Africa and he said to me, ‘Daddy, I’m going to play World Cup.’ I didn’t know.”
Tim insists he’s staying grounded. It’s easy to imagine how the son of a President who has a bright future ahead of him and who has now put himself on the World Cup scoresheet might get carried away, but the attacker isn’t letting it get to him.
“I’m a very calm soul,” he claimed. “I’ve never let any of that get to me. My motto has always been to play my game and do what I can to make my family proud.”