Warren Archibald, Leroy Spann, Stern John, Khaleem Hyland… and now Levi Garcia.
In the Trinidad and Tobago National Team’s 3-2 win over St Vincent and the Grenadines today, Garcia wrote his name into an exclusive and illustrious list of Trinidad and Tobago standouts, as he became only the fifth teenager to score for the two-island republic in a World Cup qualifying contest.
The 18-year-old Garcia, who plays professionally for AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands Eredivisie, came off the bench to score twice in 20 minutes at Arnos Vale to lead the “Soca Warriors” to a vital 3-2 win.
In the process, the former Shiva Boys Hindu College student and T&TEC winger became Trinidad and Tobago’s youngest-ever scorer in this competition.
But then Garcia has been scooping up records all year.
On 24 January 2016, he eclipsed former Trinidad and Tobago legend Dwight Yorke to become his country’s youngest debutante in a top flight European competition when he made his first appearance for AZ in a 4-2 win over Feyenoord.
And, six days later, Garcia landed another milestone, as he scored in a 3-0 win over NEC to become his country’s youngest marksman in Europe.
Garcia’s performances in the Eredivisie earned him an international call up by Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart and he did not disappoint with a match winning performance as the Warriors edged the “Vincey Heat.”
Garcia is likely to feature again on Tuesday when Trinidad and Tobago host St Vincent and the Grenadines from 7 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
(Trinidad and Tobago’s teen wonders)
Warren Archibald (19):
Archibald got off the mark with a hattrick as Trinidad and Tobago stunned Haiti 4-2 in Port-au-Prince on 25 November 1968, in what turned out to be their only win of the 1970 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The quick, skilful Point Fortin attacker went on to become one of Trinidad and Tobago’s greatest players of all time. Some argue he was the greatest full stop.
Archibald’s international career ended at just 24, after he was one of a string of gifted players banned by the TTFA general secretary Jack Warner for threatening a strike for better working conditions. But he was adored as a professional in the United States.
Leroy Spann (19):
Spann opened his account with a double at the King George V Park—since renamed the Nelson Mandela Park—in a 11-1 romp against Antigua and Barbuda on 10 November 1972.
The midfielder only ever scored once more for Trinidad and Tobago but he remains immortalised for perfecting a move introduced to a global audience by Brazilian wizard Rivelino. We still call it the “Spanner.”
Two of his sons, Silas, and, more famously, Silvio Spann, also represented Trinidad and Tobago on the football field.
Stern John (19):
John scored a record 20 World Cup qualifying goals for Trinidad and Tobago, helped the “Soca Warriors” to the Germany 2006 World Cup and will always be remembered fondly in Birmingham City and Sunderland for helping both clubs win England Premier League promotion.
The Hall of Fame striker got started with a hattrick in a 8-0 spanking of the Dominican Republic at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 23 June 1996.
Khaleem Hyland (19):
It is fairly certain that Hyland will never be a prolific scorer for Trinidad and Tobago. When he scored his first World Cup qualifying goal against Honduras on 28 March 2009, Patrick Manning was prime minister. By the time he got his second, six years later, Dr Keith Rowley was in charge.
But the busy, barrel-chested midfielder already has more than a half century of international caps and will not be forgotten for his multitude of scraps with opponents over the years.
Or for the “Spanner” against England captain Steven Gerrard in a friendly in 2008 and sublime nutmeg on—or “brush” with—United States captain Michael Bradley last November.
Levi Garcia (18):
Garcia hardly put a foot wrong in a stunning 30 minute cameo, as he blazed “Vincey Heat” with a classy double and a “Spanner” that would have made Leroy blush.
What does little Levi have for us next?