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Levi is T&T’s youngest scorer in Europe; teenaged winger strikes against NEC

Eighteen year old Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia lifted another record off legendary compatriot Dwight Yorke today as he came off the substitutes bench to score his first competitive goal for Netherlands Eredivisie club, AZ Alkmaar, in a 3-0 win over NEC at the Goffertstadion in Nijmegen.

Photo: Former AZ manager and Netherlands legend Marco Van Basten (left) gives instructions to Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia. Van Basten left AZ in January 2016 to become assistant coach of the Netherlands national team. (Copyright AZ Media)
Photo: Former AZ manager and Netherlands legend Marco Van Basten (left) gives instructions to Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia.
Van Basten left AZ in January 2016 to become assistant coach of the Netherlands national team.
(Copyright AZ Media)

“I’m extremely happy and touched,” Garcia told the Netherlands media, after the final whistle. “I always pray when I want to achieve something. I did yesterday.

“I really wanted to score. That’s what happened.”

Garcia was on the field for just three minutes when he slipped between NEC’s opposing central defenders to turn a low cross from overlapping AZ left back Ridgeciano Haps past opposing goalkeeper Brad Jones from close range.

Jones, an Australian international, is a former Liverpool custodian.

“I saw Haps come on the side and knew the pass was coming,” said Garcia. “I had to make a diagonal sprint. He came into my feet and I knew it was going to happen.”

Garcia, who made his competitive professional bow for AZ against Feyenoord on January 24, was two months younger than Yorke when the latter player debuted for Aston Villa in the England top flight.

Photo: AZ winger Levi Garcia (centre) in action during a pre-season friendly. (Copyright AZ Media)
Photo: AZ winger Levi Garcia (centre) in action during a pre-season friendly.
(Copyright AZ Media)

However, Garcia was a full year younger than his more famous compatriot when he got his first professional goal in Europe today.

Yorke was 19 years and two months old when he got the first of 141 England top flight goals—123 of them in the Premiership—as he ran on to a through ball and beat Derby County goalkeeper and England legend Peter Shilton with an assured finish.

Ever the showman, Yorke celebrated with a “Roger Milla-esque” dance at the corner flag.

The former Signal Hill Secondary student went on to become the most prolific foreign scorer in the England top flight—a mark that was later overtaken by five strikers, Thierry Henry (175), Robin Van Persie (144), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (127), Robbie Keane (126) and Nicolas Anelka (125).

Yorke won every honour possible in England, including two league titles and one Champions League crown with Manchester United, and is the 15th highest scorer in Premiership history at present.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Dwight Yorke scores for Manchester United against Coventry City on 14 April 2001. (Copyright AFP 2015/Robin Barker)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Dwight Yorke scores for Manchester United against Coventry City on 14 April 2001.
(Copyright AFP 2015/Robin Barker)

Garcia, a former Shiva Boys Hindu College student and senior player with T&TEC FC, Siparia Spurs and Marabella Family Crisis Centre, is cutting his own path now.

The eighteen year old winger, who has represented Trinidad and Tobago from National Under-16 to Under-20 level, said he had great respect for Yorke and hopes that he too can inspire young players who are looking on in Trinidad and Tobago.

“I have so much respect for Dwight Yorke,” said Garcia. “(The youths in T&T) need to see that when you go for your dream, anything is possible. Many people will be very excited.

“That’s beautiful.”

National Senior Team coach Stephen Hart had indicated his willingness to call up Garcia before the 2014 Caribbean Cup, only for the teenager to head for trials in the Netherlands instead.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (centre) steams past Cuba players Yendri Torres (right) and Roberto Peraza during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup in Port of Spain, Trinidad. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (centre) steams past Cuba players Yendri Torres (right) and Roberto Peraza during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Garcia has not been called to the senior squad since, although that is likely to change in the near future.

At present, Alkmaar are eighth in the standings while NEC are fifth.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 15 years experience at several local and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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33 comments

  1. keep up the great work Levi and stay focused and grounded you now start your professional career and have a lot of hard work ahead to reach the top leagues.

  2. Congrats Levi, keep on flying the Red, White and Black HIGH…REPRESENT

  3. Congratulations, Levi! Keep giving it your best! You’re an inspiration to the young footballers of Trinidad and Tobago.

  4. Well done Levi Garcia keep pushing…. Great work Dion Sosa

  5. Well done,let them know you on business

  6. Great news. Remember to keep God in charge.

  7. Well done too him, hope he continues to put in hard work and reap the rewards

  8. Congratulations to the Youth Levi and Big up to Dion Sosa and Special Thanks and Blessings to Anthony Sherwood #HardworkandDedication

  9. a lot of credit has 2 go 2 my good friend anthony sherwood for his 1 on 1 work with levi making sure he was fit and sharp 2 begin preseason with AZ

  10. levi could have played since in dec 2014 if he was eligible AZ was so impressed with him at his trial he scored very highly and they took him after 1 week 2 train and play with the snr team

  11. I’ve never seen a Trinidad and Tobago player adapt to Europe so fast. Only one I can recall is Collin Samuel. But he would been about 21 and playing at a lower level, which is the Scottish league.
    Keep his feet on the ground and Levi can do really well. 🙂

  12. that’s my boy barring inkury he will be a mega star

  13. Well done Levi just keep doing the right things and “The sky is the limit” ….#sincity #mpr #bbrc

  14. This young man will be huge….. Dion Sosa I am sure you all will ensure he keeps focussed…. Proud trini moment

  15. Seems like a very humble young man too. Congrats Levi!

  16. Story updated with quotes from Levi Garcia…

  17. Excellent!! Very happy for him………..