USMNT’s Weah joins Lille in permanent transfer

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In search of first team opportunities, Timothy Weah is leaving the club where he arrived as a boy and grew into one of the world’s brightest prospects at his position.

The U.S. Men’s National Team attacker signed a five-year contract with Lille, the club announced on Saturday. The move is a full transfer for Weah, who leaves Paris Saint-Germain after joining the club in 2014 as a 13-year-old.

“For me, LOSC is the best choice to progress and earn playing time,” Weah said in a statement on the club’s website. “It’s a young and ambitious team. I know that Christophe Galtier and his staff are very professional and appreciated by the players. Joining LOSC, it’s not nothing since this team had a great season last year because a second place is a huge performance: playing the Champions League is also a dream that I will be able to achieve. To score goals in my new colors and help this club to win games and why not trophies!”

Weah became a mainstream name in U.S. Soccer households in 2017 at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, in which he scored three goals and was a breakout star along with Josh Sargent.

In 2018, with only friendlies on the schedule, Weah earned his first USMNT callups and this year was potentially going to be named to the Gold Cup squad, only for him to request that he could play at the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. He scored twice and was terrific as the U-20s shocked the tournament by knocking out France. However, despite scoring, the USYNT was knocked out by Ecuador in the quarterfinals.

For his club, Weah has predictably found it difficult to break through. Ahead of him at PSG has been Neymar, Edinson Cavani and of course Kylian Mbappe, leaving the young American to go out on loan to Celtic to fight for minutes.

This is a great move for both Mbappe and the USMNT. Lille is a club with a reputation of raising top young players (Eden Hazard spent many formative years in the northeast of France) and with a second-place finish, Weah will have a chance to compete in the UEFA Champions League, pushing himself against the world’s best players. That will only be good for his growth as a player and for the USMNT to see him grow into a star up top or on the wing.