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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.