Why U.S. forward Tim Weah decided to stay at PSG this season

Tim Weah scored his first Ligue 1 goal for PSG last month. (Getty)
Tim Weah scored his first Ligue 1 goal for PSG last month. (Getty)

HANOVER, N.J. — U.S. men’s national team forward Tim Weah had a difficult choice to make earlier this summer. The 18-year-old could leave Paris Saint-Germain, which boasts one of the world’s deepest and most expensive squads, to go on loan to a smaller club where first-team playing time might be easier to come by.

Or, the New York native – who scored in his first two competitive games for PSG last month – could stay and fight for his place alongside global icons like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria and Edinson Cavani.

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Back in the New York area ahead of the USMNT’s Friday’s friendly against Neymar’s Brazil, Weah – the son of former Ballon d’Or winner and PSG alum George Weah – explained that the opportunity to continue learning under new manager Thomas Tuchel was one of the factors that convinced him to stay put, at least for the time being.

“I was supposed to go on loan early in the season. I chose not to,” Weah told reporters before the national team’s first training session of the week. “I chose to stay and work on my game, because I feel that under Tuchel, with the players that we have, it’s going to be great for me. My game is going to develop so much and I’m going to mature. I feel that that was the best decision for me.”

It’s already been a whirlwind few months for Weah, who made his Ligue 1 debut last March. His first U.S. cap followed, and in May he scored his first international goal in an exhibition against Bolivia. He also started a 1-1 tie at eventual World Cup champion France in early June, then played big-time minutes during PSG’s preseason as his more decorated teammates slowly returned to full fitness after returning from their post-Russia 2018 breaks.

But after appearing in PSG’s first two league matches this season, scoring once, Tuchel left Weah off the roster entirely the last couple games. Not that the soft-spoken Weah is holding it against him.

“He’s a great person, I love him so much,” Weah said of Tuchel, whose reputation for developing talent – he was fellow U.S. phenom Christian Pulisic’s first manager with German titan Borussia Dortmund – is well known. “With the young guys, he really shows us that he cares about us.”

“He loves his players like they’re his children,” Weah continued. “He’s really there for us and he pushes us to be the best that we can be. He gets angry at us sometimes, but we all know it’s for the better. I can’t wait to get more games under Tuchel. Hopefully next season I’m in a great spot.”

With the European transfer window now closed, Weah will remain in the French capital at least until it reopens in January. He didn’t rule out the prospect of gaining experience via a loan later on.

“I don’t want to rush anything, I’m only 18,” Weah said. “In the future, maybe a loan. Maybe after this year I’ll be a little more comfortable playing professional soccer.”

Doug McIntyre covers soccer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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