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Tim Weah can’t escape famous name on back of PSG, USA jersey

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WHIPPANY, N.J. (AP) Tim Weah knows he can’t escape the name on the back on his jersey.

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The 18-year-old midfielder is the son of George Weah, the 1995 FIFA Player of the Year and current president of Liberia.

“I use that to my advantage,” Tim Weah said at training with the U.S. national team this week ahead of Friday’s exhibition against Brazil. “With whatever I do, there’s always going to be hate, there’s always going to be people who are going to say, `He’s not as good as his dad.”‘

Weah made his U.S. debut in March, just weeks after making his first senior appearance for Paris Saint-Germain, one of his dad’s former teams. Tim Weah in May became the fourth-youngest American to score, got his first competitive goal for PSG in the French Cup last month, and then scored his first Ligue 1 goal in the season opener against Caen.

His hair newly trimmed, Weah reported to camp as the youngest on the 25-man roster, already viewed as a possible part of a new-look U.S. national team for 2022 World Cup qualifying. He’s trying to join a forming core that includes midfielders Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams (both 19), midfielder Weston McKennie and defender Cameron Carter-Vickers (both 20) and defender Matt Miazga (23).

“You still have the next step. You can’t jump three places,” cautioned interim U.S. coach Dave Sarachan. “I think Tim’s certainly coming in with confidence, and he now knows me, my staff, this team, what’s expected. But he’s still very young, and so we can’t expect him to be a seasoned guy today.”

Weah is with a PSG team coming off its fifth league title in six seasons, on a roster that includes stars Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria. He had the chance to accept a loan for the 2018-19 season but stayed at PSG under new coach Thomas Tuchel, who in early 2016 gave Pulisic his debut with Borussia Dortmund’s senior team.

“Watching Dortmund, seeing Christian play so many games at his age, really made me believe in his coaching tactics and techniques,” Weah said. “He’s really pushing us young guys to make our mark and get out there and do our thing, and that’s what makes him happy the most. And I love him as a coach and I love him as a person. He’s just really pushed me to be a better player, and I can’t wait to see where the season takes us.”

Weah is the rare player who would rather learn in training than seek increased playing time elsewhere.

“I don’t really want to rush anything. I’m only 18 – I’m still 18 and I have a long way to go, and right now is just me being an apprentice,” he said. “Maybe next year, who knows, I’ll take my talents on loan somewhere else and see what that really does for me, but right now I’m content with what I have and I’m content at PSG.”

George Weah endorses that mindset.

“He tells me, `Just wait your turn,”‘ Tim Weah said. “You’re playing with stars. It’s not going to happen immediately.”

Weah’s first league goal was the result of unusual drudgery. With PSG ahead by two goals in the 89th minute, he chased down a back pass to defender Alexander Djiku, who played the ball back to goalkeeper Brice Samba. Weah kept tracking back and when Samba took a touch and failed to clear the ball, Weah pounced and kicked the ball in with his left foot from 2 yards before the keeper could get a second touch.

“I stayed persistent,” Weah said. “I ran after the goalkeeper. And I think that’s the thing that we’ve got to look at, is me not giving up on the play. And I feel like hard work really does pay off, as that goal shows.”

Born in Brooklyn at a time his dad commuted from Europe to New York between games, Weah grew up in the New York area and Florida, then moved to France to join PSG’s academy at age 14. He believes he is part of the group that can reboot the U.S. team, which failed to qualify for the World Cup after seven straight appearances.

“We can only go forward. We’re still young, super young,” Weah said. “We have something big here, and it’s just developing in the right way, us getting used to each other and gaining maturity and I think that’s the most important thing. And once we have that, we’ll beat any team and I feel we can even do that now. But it’s just a matter of time before things start clicking together and we start getting the job done.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Chelsea’s Willian eager to stay in Premier League

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Chelsea and Brazil star Willian has revealed he is eager to stay in the Premier League, even if that’s not with Chelsea.

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Willian, 31, has revealed that contract talks have stopped for now during the suspension for the coronavirus pandemic, and his future is uncertain as his current deal at Chelsea expires this summer.

The likes of Tottenham and Arsenal have been linked with a move for Willian, who almost joined Spurs in 2013 but instead joined Chelsea in a last-second change of heart.

Willian told ESPN Brazil  that he wants to stay in the Premier League and he feels he is now at his peak.

“My wish is to stay in the Premier League, but I’m not ruling out playing in other leagues,” Willian said. “I’m going to play until the end of the season and then see what happens. I’m very used to life in England. I’m not thinking about going back to Corinthians at the moment. My aim is to stay in Europe. I feel that I’m at my peak at the moment. Players improve throughout their careers and I think I’m currently at my peak.”

It is not secret that Mourinho and Willian get on very well, which will intrigue Tottenham’s fans…

“I got on very well with Mourinho, learnt a lot under him and we’ve remained friends,” Willian said. “We still message each other a lot, but I don’t see him often. I haven’t managed to meet up with him since he came back to London.”

His form for Chelsea has been a little erratic this season but Frank Lampard has spoken fondly about Willian time and time again and it is quite clear Chelsea would like to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge for at least another season.

With so many young wingers around (Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount to name a few), Willian can help ease them into the first team but there’s no doubting plenty of Premier League clubs will be eager to snap him up on a free transfer this summer, or whenever the transfer window reopens.

Tottenham would seem like a particularly good fit for Willian. He would link up with Jose Mourinho, the manage who bought him to Chelsea, and his experience would be vital at Spurs as they aim to finally secure some silverware. Tottenham need to prioritize buying new defenders but if Willian is available for free, you can’t turn that deal down, even if he turned Spurs and Daniel Levy down in 2013…

Arsenal would make sense too but you’d have to say Tottenham are the frontrunners given the connection between Willian and Mourinho. Of course, he could stay at Chelsea, but with Pedro also out of contract it does feel like a changing of the guard as Lampard will put his faith totally in new signing Hakim Ziyech, Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi next season.

With $2.7 billion reserves, FIFA has ‘duty’ to aid virus-hit soccer

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FIFA says it has a “duty” to use its vast financial reserves to assist a football industry ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic wiping out games and creating unexpected economic hardship in the world’s biggest sport.

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The spread of COVID-19 has impacted the wealthiest clubs, with Barcelona and Juventus players taking wage cuts; those in smaller countries, with Slovakian champion Zilina entering bankruptcy; and national football federations, with Uruguay furloughing hundreds of staff.

Having amassed reserves it last reported at $2.745 billion, FIFA has the resources to give much-needed financial help to the game at many levels. Now the organization has provided more details around the need agreed two weeks ago by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and his vice presidents to explore a “support fund” for the sport.

“FIFA is in a strong financial situation and it’s our duty to do the utmost to help them in their hour of need,” world football’s governing body said in a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

“FIFA is working on possibilities to provide assistance to the football community around the world after making a comprehensive assessment of the financial impact this pandemic will have on football.”

FIFA is exploring the mechanism to provide the financial lifeline to the football industry with the six regional confederations and member associations to ensure there is an announcement “in the near future.”

“The football community around the world is experiencing, to a greater or lesser extent, serious financial problems on account of the coronavirus outbreak,” FIFA said. “This threatens to disrupt and impair the ability of FIFA’s member associations and other football organizations such as leagues and clubs to develop, finance and run football activities at all levels of the game, including professional, non-professional, youth and grassroots.

“It is foreseen that in many parts of the world a considerable number of persons involved in football including both men and women players will be left in extremely difficult economic conditions.”

FIFA already operates a “Forward” development program to redistribute its wealth to member associations. In the 2015-18 cycle, investment dedicated to the scheme was $1.079 billion, of which $832 million had been approved and committed to member associations, confederations or regions, according to the last published financial results.

Premier League TV schedule: April 4-5

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We have 16 hours of Premier League programming coming your way this weekend and here is your TV schedule for April 4-5

This Saturday and Sunday we will have eight hours of programming coming your way each morning from 6 a.m. ET to 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN on your TV.

With the current 2019-20 Premier League season suspended until April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have a lot of programming treats planned for you in the coming weeks and will keep up fully updated with a TV schedule posted every single week.

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Remember, during the season you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today, Sky Sports News, NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Below is your full Premier League TV schedule and stream links for Saturday and Sunday as we have classic matches, Goal of the Season, Behind the Badge, a focus on Liverpool v. Man City and much more coming up.


FULL TV SCHEDULE FOR NBCSN

Saturday, April 4
6-6:30 a.m. ET: Soccerbox – Matt Le Tissier [STREAM]
6:30-7 a.m. ET: Soccerbox – John Barnes [STREAM]
7-7:30 a.m. ET: Soccerbox – Sol Campbell [STREAM]
7:30-8 a.m. ET: Soccerbox – Ryan Giggs [STREAM]
8-9 a.m. ET: PL Goals of the Season: 2001-02 [STREAM]
9-10 a.m. ET: PL Goals of the Season: 2002-03 [STREAM]
10-10:30 a.m. ET: Classic Match: Liverpool v. Tottenham, Feb. 2015 [STREAM]
10:30-11 a.m. ET: Classic Match: Chelsea v. Man United, Feb. 2012 [STREAM]
11-11:30 a.m. ET: Classic Match: Tottenham v. Chelsea, Jan.  2015 [STREAM]
11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET: Classic Match: Man United v. Arsenal, Aug., 2011 [STREAM]
12-12:30 p.m. ET. ET: Behind the Badge – Watford, Episode 1 [STREAM]
12:30-  p.m. ET. ET: Behind the Badge – Watford, Episode 2 [STREAM]
1-1:30 p.m. ET. ET: Behind the Badge – Watford, Episode 3 [STREAM]
1:30-2 p.m. ET. ET: Behind the Badge – Watford, Episode 4 [STREAM]

Sunday, April 5
6-7 a.m. ET: PL season in review 1998-99 [STREAM]
7-8 a.m. ET: PL season in review 1999-00 [STREAM]
8-10 a.m. ET: Match of the Week, Man City v. QPR, May 2012 [STREAM]
10 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET: Match of the Week, Everton v. Liverpool, Nov. 2013 [STREAM]
12 p.m. – 2 p.m. ET: Match of the Week, Chelsea v. Arsenal, Oct. 2014 [STREAM]

VIDEO: Top 25 moments in Premier League history

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It’s time to take a trip down memory lane and countdown the top 25 moments in Premier League history.

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There have been so many memorable goals, incidents, performances and players throughout the league’s history and back in 2017 we celebrated its 25th anniversary by counting down our top 25 moments.

From Wayne Rooney’s bicycle kick, the arrival of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho, Leicester’s title win and Man City’s dramatic last-gasp success, there are so many wild moments packed into this video.

In truth, it was so tough to narrow down the best moments in PL history to just 25 moments.

Click play on the video above to replay some of the greatest moments in history.