Weah - A Man Africa is Proud Of
of Weah as he accepts the Arthur Ashe Courage Award
selected for Arthur Ashe Courage Award
Liberian-born UNICEF Ambassador George Weah, Africa's all-time greatest
soccer star who has, at great risk, worked tirelessly to help his
war-torn country, will receive the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage
Award -- given to individuals whose contributions transcend sports
-- at the 12th annual ESPY Awards Wednesday, July 14 at Hollywood's
Kodak Theatre. The event will be televised on ESPN four days later
Sunday, July 18 at 9 p.m. ET.
the honor will celebrate Weah's soccer career, it will primarily
focus on his life off the field, highlighting his commitment to
humanitarian projects all over Africa as an international soccer
star. One example is how Weah has used his name and fame to take
guns out of the hands of children to try and help save a generation
devastated by war.
Congratulations George, this is a tremendous accomplishment for
Africa, by an outstanding Liberia!!!
Africans in a United State
Weah Is a Role Model, Hero to Ghanaian-Born Adu
By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 7, 2004; Page D01
As D.C. United's practice session ended yesterday, Freddy Adu peered
across the RFK Stadium training grounds and immediately recognized
the spotlessly dressed figure approaching the team.
just saw the suit," Adu said later with teenage giddiness,
"and I knew it was George Weah."
unrecognized in the United States, the Liberian-born Weah, 37, is
considered one of the legends of international soccer and among
the most famous athletes in African history. In 1995, Weah was not
only named the best player in Africa, he was honored as Europe's
top performer for his scoring exploits with AC Milan and the world
player of the year.
later, he was declared the player of the century in Africa.
Adu left his native Ghana when he was 8, Weah's mystique followed
him to America.
course, I knew who he was!" Adu, 15, said, when asked if he
was too young to remember Weah in his golden years. "He was
one of my heroes. He's one of the heroes for all of Africa."
admiration for Weah goes well beyond his performances for Milan,
Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco, Marseille and Chelsea. It's his humanitarian
work in war-torn Liberia that has brought equal acclaim. He has
spent millions to help the rebuilding efforts and has teamed with
UNICEF and the United Nations to improve life for an impoverished
nation scarred by a 14-year conflict.
the late 1990s, amid the fighting, Weah -- pronounced WAY-ah --
single-handedly financed the national team's World Cup qualifying
efforts, setting up training camp in neighboring countries, paying
his teammates' travel expenses and purchasing shoes and uniforms.
He was the team's benefactor, star player and coach. The Lone Star,
as the team is known, fell just short of a berth in the 1998 World
Cup in France -- the closest Weah would ever come to the sport's
desire to help his country came at a price, though. When he suggested
in 1996 that the United Nations should move into Liberia, his home
in the capital, Monrovia, was burned to the ground, his vehicles
were stolen and many of his relatives were attacked.
his tireless work continued.
South African president Nelson Mandela has called him "African
Pride," and Liberians address him as "the Godfather"
who also had a home in New York before moving to Miami, will be
presented with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award by ESPN next week in
Los Angeles -- an honor previously bestowed upon Pat Tillman, Muhammad
Ali, Jim Valvano and Billie Jean King, among others.
Weah came to Washington to address United's players about personal
responsibility and helping the needy. After watching the last part
of practice, he walked to the center of the field and spoke for
about 10 minutes.
is a unifying force and we have a responsibility to help all people,"
he told them. "We have to show the love to everyone."
After shaking the players' hands, he spent extra time with Adu,
the club's teenage prodigy. Weah has strong ties to Ghana, which,
like Liberia, is located in west Africa. His parents were born there
and he often visits the country. He recently committed to play for
an African all-star team that is tentatively scheduled to play United
in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, in December.
Weah was introduced to Adu's mother, Emilia, and the two talked
about their Ghanaian roots.
Freddy: "He gave me a lot of advice about everything -- the
way I play, how to take care of myself, to get stronger. It's George
Weah, you have to listen to him."
is friends with Weah's 16-year-old son, George Jr., who is in AC
Milan's youth academy but has played with Adu in the U.S. under-20
training program. "I want Freddy to come play in Italy with
me," George Jr. joked. "He would be a great player."
elder Weah said Adu "is another great talent to come from our
continent. We just hope he gets a chance to go to Europe to develop
his game. I'm not saying he won't develop in America, but you have
more challenges if you go to Europe."
he finished with Adu, Weah turned his attention back to Liberia,
which he says he visits every few weeks.
are grateful that we now have stability," he said. "We
have started the reconciliation process and the country is coming
back. It's one step forward and we are enjoying life. The people
are happy again. For me, I just want to contribute to society."
Notes: Uruguayan forward Claudio Ciccia's tryout ended without a
contract being offered. The club hopes to look at other foreign
players soon. . . . Midfielder Bobby Convey is with the U.S. national
team, which will play Poland on Sunday in Chicago, and will miss
United's match at Kansas City on Saturday. . . . Coach Peter Nowak
missed practice for personal reasons; he'll be back today.