Timothy Weah’s goal against Wales in Monday’s Group B opener was notable for two reasons: It was the United States’ first in World Cup play since 2014, and it came in front of his celebrated father, George, the Liberian President and 1995 Ballon d’Or winner, who never played on soccer’s biggest stage.
‘It’s an amazing feeling,’ the 22-year-old Weah told ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday, following Team USA’s 1-1 draw with Wales. ‘I mean, you know, when he was playing he didn’t get the opportunity to take his country to a World Cup and now his son is here doing the best I can, so I know he’s proud.
‘My dad and mom are going crazy in the stadium. I saw them when I scored. I know they’re proud of me and, you know, I just want to make them proud out here and continue to do well.’
George, Timothy and Liberia’s First Lady, Timothy’s Jamaican-born mother Clar Marie, were seen dining together in Qatar this week. Later, George posted photos from the meal on Twitter.
‘Just had dinner with my son Timothy Weah,’ George wrote. ‘Proud daddy.’
And he had every reason to be proud of his son.
Timothy gave the US 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 to Christian Pulisic. The Chelsea player then pushed the ball up field, all while Weah set up the Welsh defense on the wing.
After four dribbles, Pulisic dished off to Weah, who poked the ball in the box beyond the reach of sliding Welsh keeper Wayne Hennessey.
‘It was a big moment for myself, my family, my teammates, the whole United States,’ Weah told GMA. ‘I mean as a kid, you know, growing up and playing football, you dream of scoring in a world cup and in big moments and helping the team and I feel completely blessed and honored to be in this position and, you know, do that, so, yeah, I’m very happy.’
The goal not only impressed George, who was seated in a box at the stadium in Al Rayyan, but Brazilian legend Pele, who was the last man to score against Wales in a World Cup.
‘Congratulations,’ the Brazilian tweeted at Timothy, who had dedicated the goal to the US and his father’s native Liberia.
‘It was a beautiful goal,’ Pele continued. ‘Keep dreaming, dreams come true.’
Referring to him as ‘Papa Pele,’ Weah responded to the soccer great by thanking him for the ‘inspiring message.’
‘Thank you for everything you’ve done for the world and for us young black men,’ Weah wrote, adding ‘Grandes 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, getting a message from one of the greatest to ever do it is an amazing feeling. I feel blessed to even be in the position where he, you know, felt the need to give me that type of encouragement.
‘I love him and, you know, dreams do come true, so whoever is watching 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 about growing up in Rosedale, Queens, a suburban area of the New York borough.
‘Small town boy, came from Rosedale, you know, it’s a very community vibe,’ he said. ‘Shoutout to everyone there. I want to thank them for, you know, always pushing me to be the best I can be. I know I’m representing a whole group of people and representing the community. I love you guys and I can’t wait to come back home and celebrate with you guys.’
As for Friday’s crucial game against England, Timothy seemed optimistic.
The Lille star said the ‘vibes are high’ with his US teammates.
‘Everyone is excited,’ he said. ‘We’re ready for the big stage and the big moment. So we can’t wait.’
The US kicks off with England at 2pm EST on Friday before wrapping up Group B play on Tuesday against Iran.