Weah Not Allowed In Canada For World Cup Qualifier Over Vaccination Status

Tim Weah started and played 73 minutes in the USMNT’s victory over El Salvador in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday. Now he’s been denied entry into Canada for the USMNT’s World Cup qualifier with the Canucks on Sunday, leading many to ask: Is Tim Weah vaccinated against Covid-19?

U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter on Saturday confirmed Weah will not join the team in Hamilton for the showdown between the top two teams in Concacaf World Cup qualifying. The U.S. could clinch a berth to the World Cup as early as Wednesday if results go its way, but it must beat Canada for that to happen. 

Is Tim Weah Vaccinated?

The answer to the question is Tim Weah vaccinated is no with a bit of a yessy aftertaste. He’s vaccinated by the standards set by France, where he plays professionally for Lille, but not by the standards set by Canada. 

Weah has received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. According to U.S. Soccer, he was unable to get his second dose of the vaccine because he contracted Covid, preventing him from getting the second shot in time to be allowed to enter Canada for Sunday’s match. 

“(Weah) had one shot, one vaccination — he got Covid; he was awaiting the second shot,” Berhalter said. “Due to the time of when he got Covid he wasn’t able to get that second shot yet. However, in France, he is listed as fully vaccinated because in France, the one shot plus Covid means you’re vaccinated and you’re OK. As a technicality, it wasn’t acceptable in Canada. This is something we can’t control, the nuances of Covid protocol, and we just have to deal with it.

“This was a nuanced technicality that we were hoping was going to get pushed through and unfortunately it didn’t.”

Canada requires visitors to be fully vaccinated — two shots of vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna or one shot of Johnson & Johnson — for at least 15 days before being allowed entry; there is no loophole if you contract Covid. Berhalter said U.S. Soccer was only made aware of Weah’s vaccine status in the last couple of days. Given how long Weah has been eligible for the vaccine, this one’s on him for not doing it sooner, though it’s possible he wasn’t aware he needed a second shot until recently based on French rules. 

Hopefully everyone reading this is already vaccinated, but if not, please protect yourself and those around you by getting the shots, unless you have a legitimate medical reason. Get boosted too if you’re eligible. Vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective and anyone telling you otherwise is misinformed. (Anyone trying to post vaccine misinformation on our Facebook page will be reported/blocked.)

Weah will be able to rejoin the team for the Honduras match Wednesday in Saint Paul, Minnesota. 

Weah will miss out on a chance to go head-to-head with his Lille teammate Jonathan David. The 22-year-old David is second in Ligue 1 with 12 goals and has 19 goals in 25 matches with the Canucks, including four in World Cup qualifying, tied with teammate Cyle Larin for most in the Ocho. Like Weah, the Canadian striker was born in Brooklyn, though his dad is not the president of Liberia.

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Losing Weah is a setback, especially with Gio Reyna still out injured. Weah played in the last six World Cup qualifiers, setting up Christian Pulisic’s go-ahead goal against Mexico and scoring in a 1-1 draw at Jamaica. His energy and willingness dribble at players on the wings are attributes often hard to find on the U.S. roster. 

Brenden Aaronson provides Berhalter with an excellent attacker to fill in on the wing, though he plays more centrally with his club RB Salzburg. Pulisic will likely start on the left wing with Aaronson on the right, while Berhalter can call on Paul Arriola and Jordan Morris to provide depth on the wings. 

The USMNT will also be without Brooks Lennon for the remainder of this international window. The Atlanta United fullback left the team with a left ankle injury.

This isn’t the first time the U.S. has missed out on a player because of vaccination status. In November, two potential USWNT players declined to join the team on its trip to Australia, where vaccines were required. 

But some fans think they have a workaround for Weah’s vaccination status. We’ll see if Canada buys it.

The U.S. will be playing a World Cup qualifier in Canada for the first time since 1997, a 3-0 U.S. win with goals from Claudio Reyna (Gio’s dad) and Roy Wegerle (twice). The match, played in Hamilton, Canada, is not on TV in English, though we explain here how to watch it in Spanish or via streaming. 

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