Name of newly sworn in Liberian President George Weah has been included in a new list of players for the US National Team.
In December, the West African nation of Liberia elected his father, George, a former soccer superstar, to a six-year term.
Tim, 18, has been making a name for himself, as well. On Sunday, the attacking prospect for French power Paris Saint-Germain received his first U.S. senior national team call-up and will report to training camp in Cary, N.C., for a week of workouts and a March 27 friendly against Paraguay at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Although the elder Weah played the bulk of his sensational career in Europe — 1995 FIFA player of the year while at AC Milan, three-time African player of the year — the family had a home in New York. Tim was born in Brooklyn, grew up in New York and Florida, and played youth soccer in both places. He was briefly in the New York Red Bulls’ youth academy and entered the PSG system three years ago.
All the while, he was rising on the U.S. junior teams: under-14s, U-15s and U-17s. Last year, at the U-17 World Cup in India, he recorded a hat trick in a 5-0 victory over Paraguay in the round of 16. No American man had ever done that in the knockout stage of a major FIFA tournament.
In France, Weah had been logging minutes for PSG’s U-19 squad and the reserve team in the fourth division, scoring twice last month. Then two weeks ago, he was included on the game-day squad for the glamorous first team, which is running away with the Ligue 1 championship. Weah debuted as a late substitute at Troyes and entered in the second half against Metz a week later.
His ascension did not go unnoticed by U.S. interim coach Dave Sarachan, who has begun the process of rebuilding the program after the Americans failed to qualify for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
“Tim has obviously been very successful with our youth national teams,” Sarachan said in a written statement issued after inviting 22 players to camp. “More recently 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. He’s a versatile player that can fit in at a couple different 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 is among 17 call-ups age 24 or younger and among five making their first appearance at a senior camp, joining defenders Shaq Moore, Erik Palmer-Brown and Antonee Robinson, and forward Andrija Novakovich.
Other young notables include goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defender Cameron Carter-Vickers and midfielders Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie.
The best prospect, 19-year-old attacker Christian Pulisic, wasn’t selected, but not because he isn’t in the U.S. long-term plans. He is expected to return for friendlies in May and June.
“He’s now feeling confident in playing an important role for [German club Borussia Dortmund] at a crucial time in their season where they’re trying to lock in qualification for the Champions League,” Sarachan said. “They also have a huge match against Bayern Munich on the back end of our match against Paraguay, so when I factored all of those things together, as much as we wanted him here, I felt it best suits the player to continue in the rhythm and form he’s currently in with his club.”
Though he had the flexibility during a FIFA window to summon anyone he pleased, Sarachan named just four regulars: Jorge Villafaña, DeAndre Yedlin, Darlington Nagbe and Bobby Wood. Absences include Brad Guzan, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore.
Injuries have sidelined defender John Brooks and forward Jordan Morris. Forward Aron Johannsson was a late scratch because of a leg injury. Defender Geoff Cameron and midfielder Danny Williams are also hurt, but given their age, didn’t figure into this camp.
Goalkeepers: Alex Bono (Toronto FC), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland, Denmark), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew).
Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Ipswich Town, England), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest, England), Matt Miazga (Vitesse, Netherlands), Shaq Moore (Levante, Spain), Erik Palmer-Brown (Kortrijk, Belgium), Antonee Robinson (Bolton, England), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna, Mexico), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle, England).
Midfielders: Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC), Weston McKennie (Schalke, Germany), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht, Belgium), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain, France).
Forwards: Andrija Novakovich (Telstar, Netherlands), Rubio Rubin (Tijuana, Tijuana), Bobby Wood (Hamburg, Germany).