George Weah's son nets hat-trick as USA progress at U-17 WC


Timothy Weah, the son of former Ballon d'Or winner George, scored a hat-trick as USA's Under-17 side reached the quarter-finals of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup for the first time since 2005 after thrashing Paraguay 5-0.

Six days after the US failed to qualify for next year's World Cup, Weah stepped up to star in the big win at the U-17 World Cup in India.

Andrew Carleton and Josh Sargent also scored in New Delhi for the Americans, who will play England or Japan in the quarter-finals at the weekend.

Sitting next to Weah at a post-match news conference, US Under-17 coach John Hackworth was asked whether this win would compensate for the senior national team's loss last week at Trinidad and Tobago, which eliminated the Americans from the big World Cup in Russia next year.

"I don't think anything is going to take away that, and it's a different level," Hackworth said.

"I would say that we talked about it internally when that happened as a team, and I told these guys that the responsibility was falling on them now to give hope to our country and to all the good work that I think we're doing with the national team programs.

"It's easy when you have a bad result for everyone to think so negative and no more so than when you miss a World Cup".

"But hopefully with this performance tonight we've shown our country and the world that we're a footballing nation and we have some potential world-class players like the person sitting next to me."

Weah's hat-trick was the first for the US at a FIFA men's tournament since Freddy Adu against Poland at the 2007 U-20s, and the first for the American U-17s since Adu versus South Korea in 2003.

Weah's father, who is on the verge of becoming Liberia president, was the FIFA Player of the Year in 1995. 

Tim Weah grew up in New York and Florida, and he joined Paris Saint-Germain's youth system three years ago.

He signed a pro contract last summer with PSG, where his father played from 1992-95, and hopes to make his first-team debut this season.

"I know with hard work and dedication anything is possible," Tim Weah said.

"Learning from the great players that we have there, such as Neymar, (Kylian) Mbappe and (Edison) Cavani, I feel that as I train with them and as I develop with the second team, I feel that it's going to come. So hopefully the coach, Unai Emery, is satisfied with what I'm doing so far, so hopefully I'm starting at the end of the season."

Weah put the US ahead in the 19th minute with a left-footed shot from the center of the penalty area after Carleton pushed the ball up field to Ayo Akinola, who one-timed a cross.

Weah doubled the lead with a 22-yard curling right-footed shot in the 53rd.

"I just cut back and my striker instinct told me to hit it," Weah said.

"It ended up being a beautiful strike. ... I don't score a lot of beautiful goals. Most of my goals are just tap-ins."

Carleton made it 3-0 off a pass from Sargent in the 63rd. Sargent then scored from a Carleton pass in the 75th, and Carleton fed Weah for the final goal in the 77th.

American midfielder Chris Durkin got his second yellow card of the tournament and is suspended for the quarter-final.

Source AAP