Timothy Weah says being underdogs is nothing new for the USMNT ahead of Friday’s crucial showdown with England.
The 22-year-old scored in the USA’s 1-1 draw with Wales in their Group B opener on Monday and next meets Gareth Southgate’s side, favorites to win the group. He sees it as a chance to show what they can do.
“I think we’ve always been seen as outsiders in America’s eyes,” he said FOX sports.
“I think they’re wondering if we can play football? This is an opportunity to show the world that we can compete against the best and beat the best.”
Weah’s goal against Wales in Monday’s Group B opener was notable for two reasons: it was the United States’ first at a World Cup since 2014 and it came before his celebrated father George, the Liberian president and 1995 Ballon d’Or winner , who has never played on football’s biggest stage.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Weah, 22, told ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday after Team USA and Wales drew 1-1. “I mean, you know, when he was playing he didn’t have an opportunity to lead his country to a World Cup and now his son is here doing his best so I know he’s proud.
“My father and mother go crazy at the stadium. I saw her when I scored. I know they are proud of me and I just want to make them proud out here and keep doing a good job.
George, Timothy and Liberia’s first lady, Timothy’s Jamaican-born mother Clar Marie, were seen enjoying a meal together in Qatar this week. George later posted photos of the meal on Twitter.
“Just had dinner with my son Timothy Weah,” George wrote. ‘Proud father.’
And he had every reason to be proud of his son.
Timothy gave the USA a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute of Monday’s World Cup opener after 19-year-old teammate Yunus Musah headed the ball to Josh Sargent, who passed it to Christian Pulisic. The Chelsea player then shoved the ball upfield while Weah fielded the Welsh defense down the wing.
After four dribbles, Pulisic laid it down to Weah, who slotted the ball inside the box out of reach of the sliding Welsh keeper Wayne Hennessey.
“It was a big moment for me, my family, my teammates, the entire United States,” Weah told GMA. “I mean as a kid you know when you grow up and you play football you dream of scoring at a World Cup and big moments and helping the team and I feel completely blessed and honored to be in that position to be, and you know, do it, so yeah, I’m very happy.’
The goal not only impressed George, who was seated in a box at Al Rayyan stadium, but also Brazilian legend Pele, who became the last man to score against Wales in a World Cup.
“Congratulations,” the Brazilian tweeted to Timothy, who dedicated the goal to the United States and his father’s home country Liberia.
“It was a beautiful goal,” Pele continued. ‘Dream on, dreams come true.’
Weah referred to him as “Papa Pele” and thanked the soccer star for the “inspirational message”.
“Thank you for everything you’ve done for the world and for us young black men,” Weah wrote, adding “Grande Abraços,” which means “big hugs” in Portuguese.
Timothy was asked about the exchange on GMA.
“It meant the world to me,” he said. “I mean, to get a message from one of the greatest that has ever done it is an amazing feeling. I feel blessed to even be in the position where, you know, he felt the need to give me that kind of encouragement.
“I love him and, you know, dreams do come true, so whoever sees this, all the little boys and girls out there, make sure you believe in yourself and your dreams will come true one day.”
Timothy was also asked if he grew up in Rosedale, Queens, a suburb of the New York borough.
“Small town boy, came from Rosedale, you know, it’s a very community vibe,” he said. “Call everyone there. I want to thank them for always pushing me to be the best I can be. I know I represent a whole group of people and I represent the community. I love you guys and can’t wait to come home and celebrate with you.’
Coming back to Friday’s crucial game against England, Timothy looked optimistic.