When the United States Men’s National Team walked out onto the field at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, Qatar to open up the 2022 World Cup against Wales, it was a wonderful moment for our soccer history. The first World Cup match for the USMNT since the 2014 World Cup Round of 16, fans of the United States were watching with pride and ready for the players on the field to have their moment.
One of those players was Tim Weah. The 22-year-old winger was getting the start for the USMNT as he made his World Cup debut. The son of world soccer legend and Liberian president George Weah, Tim had started to craft his own legacy. With club stints at Paris St-Germain and Celtic before landing at Lille, Weah was trying to just be himself and have his own career out of the shadows of his world famous father.
He hoped to have his own moment. The USMNT needed to beat Wales to get their 2022 World Cup off to a great start in what was, based on the rankings, the toughest group in the tournament. Wales was in the World Cup for the first time in 64 years, so they wanted to play the spoiler. The USMNT needed a great start to put the pressure on the Welsh and off one of the youngest squads in World Cup history.
It didn’t take long for Weah’s moment to arrive. In the 36th minute, Christian Pulisic received the ball in the middle of the field, and Weah saw a nice hole where he could get behind the defense. Pulisic laid a perfectly weighted ball forward and Weah outsprinted everyone to the ball. With Welsh goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey closing in on him, and another defender on him, Weah used the outside of his right foot to slip the ball from the top of the box into the back of the net.
Goal, United States. It was the first World Cup goal for the USMNT since Julian Green’s goal against Belgium back in 2014. Weah sprinted towards the corner, his arms outstretched in celebration before he slid on both knees to the end line. His teammates poured around him as the American fans in attendance and watching on TV around the world celebrated the goal. The man they call Timo had a World Cup moment that will forever live in American soccer history.
In the stands, George Weah watched. Timo’s goal vaulted him into his own legacy and promoted the world soccer legend and president of a country to a more prestigious position: proud father.
For more Black History Month stories, check out our Black History Month hub. We will be bringing stories throughout the month to highlight some of the biggest moments in Black American and world soccer history.