My men's league soccer team was short a couple players last night because I and a few others are out of town. This is a really common occurence for men's leagues everywhere, as people have other commitments that take priority over a soccer game. Work, travel, friends, whatever it may be.
You're often left scrambling to find ringers. Sometimes the ringers are good. Sometimes they are bad. Sometimes they are professional wingers who play for one of the best clubs in the world and the U.S. men's national team.
Tim Weah, son of legendary striker George Weah, is an 18-year old who plays for Paris Saint-German and made his debut for the USMNT in March. He was born in New York City and is back there visiting family for a few days. He posted on Instagram that he was looking to play pick-up in Manhattan:
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In our scramble to find someone, we decided to take up Weah on his offer and direct message him the info: it was a seven-a-side game starting at 8:15 p.m. at Pier 40 on the west side of Manhattan. He then said he was down to come, and at this point the group text was absolutely buzzing.
Weah wasn't kidding at all—he showed up to the field with his brother George Jr., a former pro himself, and was already playing a pick-up game before the main event even started. A bunch of guys he was playing with recognized him and he graciously took pictures with the fans.
My friends then asked him whether he still wanted to play in our game. "Of course," he said. So they gave him a cotton, non-dry fit green T-shirt and told him to play wherever he wanted.
I wasn't there, but by all accounts he was the best player by miles and was playing at about 50% speed. Occasionally he would go at a player and embarass them with his first step, but he opted to mostly keep it low-key and set up other guys. He even did his shift in goal, as everyone does, for the last five minutes of the game. My team won the game, easily, and apparently the other team wasn't very happy. They asked one of our players who the heck this kid was—"he's so good"—and they were told that he only plays with us in the summer. After the game, the other team complained to the ref. Apparently it's not chill to enlist one of the top young talents in Europe as a ringer in a men's league?
He was also nice as can be. After the game, he posted to his instagram story about the experience.
My team's official statement on the clear violation of league rules: "We promise not to bring world-class international soccer players anymore."
What a terrible game to miss.