Levi García

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Levi García
USMNT vs. Trinidad and Tobago (48124938623) (cropped).jpg
Personal information
Full name Levi Samuel García[1]
Date of birth (1997-11-20) 20 November 1997 (age 24)
Place of birth Santa Flora, Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)[2]
Position(s) Right-winger
Club information
Current team
AEK Athens
Number 9
Youth career
2011–2014 Shiva Boys' Hindu College
2012–2013 T&TEC
2013–2014 Siparia Spurs
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2012–2013 T&TEC 0 (0)
2014–2015 Central FC 0 (0)
2015–2018 AZ 29 (2)
2016–2018Jong AZ (loan) 17 (7)
2018Excelsior (loan) 15 (1)
2018–2019 Ironi Kiryat Shmona 20 (3)
2019–2020 Beitar Jerusalem 30 (5)
2020– AEK Athens 59 (12)
National team
2012–2013 Trinidad and Tobago U17 4 (0)
2014–2015 Trinidad and Tobago U20 7 (0)
2016– Trinidad and Tobago 36 (8)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 17 May 2022
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 10 June 2022

Levi Samuel García (born 20 November 1997)[2] is a Trinidadian professional footballer who plays as a right-winger for Greek Super League club AEK Athens and the Trinidad and Tobago national team.

García began his professional football career in 2013, at the age of 15, with T&TEC in his native Trinidad and Tobago. After one season with the Electricity Boys, he completed a free transfer to fellow TT Pro League club Central FC. However, prior to making his first-team debut for the Couva Sharks, Garcia signed with AZ Alkmaar of the Eredivisie in February 2015.[3] After spending two years in Israel, García moved to AEK Athens in 2020.

Early life[edit]

García was born on 20 November 1997 in Santa Flora, Trinidad and Tobago to parents Carl and Judith,[4] and comes from a football family consisting of three brothers (Daniel, Nathaniel, and Judah) who have represented different local clubs and two sisters (Carla and Adanna) who are also fans of the sport. In fact, the three brothers would play football in their backyard for hours when younger. In particular, García credits his early football influence to his eldest brother Daniel after he encouraged Levi to become a better player and rented a car or ordered a taxi to ensure that he attended youth training and matches.[5][6]

At the age of 14, García attended Shiva Boys' Hindu College in Penal, Trinidad and also enrolled in the youth program at former TT Pro League club T&TEC. However, after one season with the Electricity Boys, the club suspended its football operations citing financial difficulties.[7] Over the next two years, Garcia played alternatively for Shiva Boys' Hindu College and local youth club Siparia Spurs.[3] In 2012, playing as a striker, García led Shiva Boys to the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) South Zone title and qualified as one of four schools for the FA Trophy. During the competition, Garcia scored one goal in three appearances to help the Shiva Boys progress in the competition before falling to Central FC in the quarterfinals.[8]

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

After spending the previous year in the club's youth program, García made his full professional debut for T&TEC of the TT Pro League, at the age of 15, after making appearances during the club's run-in to close the 2012–13 season. Due to the club's severe financial struggles and inability to pay its salaried players, Electricity Boys' manager Dexter Cyrus decided to feature some of its younger players, which included the three Garcia brothers, in Pro League matches.

In March 2014, García signed his first professional contract with Central FC of the TT Pro League on a two-year agreement.[9] However, prior to his first appearance for the club, he was discovered in September 2014 while playing for Trinidad and Tobago during qualification for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship by Dutch agent Humphry Nijman. After an initial struggle between Central and Nijman, the two parties came to an agreement through mediation involving the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association to allow Garcia participate for a trial in the Netherlands.[10]

AZ Alkmaar[edit]

García has great speed, a good understanding and a powerful shot in his left foot[...] Levi arrives in November to AZ, where he first must ease into our culture and way of playing football. We see in him mainly a promise for the future.

— Earnie Stewart on signing García to a contract with AZ in February 2015.[3]

On 20 February 2015, García signed a pre-contract agreement for three years with a club option for a two-year extension with AZ Alkmaar of the Eredivisie following a successful trial with the club.[3][11] However, he was unable to begin his professional career until his eighteenth birthday due to existing European Union labour laws. After several months of difficult negotiations, Garcia's former club Central FC agreed upon an undisclosed transfer fee in June 2015 with AZ.

Rapid rise to the first team (2016–2018)[edit]

During the club's preparation for the 2015–16 season, García received training and special attention from former Dutch international Marco Van Basten who had served as an assistant manager for the club earlier in the year before stepping away for health reasons.[12] On 24 January 2016, García made his professional and league debut for AZ Alkmaar against Feyenoord after coming on for Dabney dos Santos in the 68th minute with his club leading 4–1.[13] Aged just 18 years and 65 days, García became the youngest Trinidadian footballer to make an appearance for a European club, beating a record previously held by former Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke.[14][15] One week later, he scored his first professional goal in less than a minute after coming on as a 71st-minute substitute in a 3–0 win over NEC Nijmegen to become the club's second youngest ever scorer.[16][17] In his first season at AZ, García made eight league appearances and nine in all competitions having scored one league goal and recording one assist to help AZ finish fourth in the Eredivisie and qualify for the 2016–17 UEFA Europa League.

Jong AZ and Excelsior (2018)[edit]

After having played for Jong AZ for most of the first half of the 2017–18 season, struggling to make first team appearances, García was sent out on loan to S.B.V. Excelsior, another Eredivisie club, for the remainder of the season.

Ironi Kiryat Shmona[edit]

In May 2018, with his Alkmaar contract due to expire at the end of the season, it was announced García would join Israeli Premier League side Ironi Kiryat Shmona for the 2018–19 season.[18]

Beitar Jerusalem[edit]

On 30 May 2019, García signed to Beitar Jerusalem.[19]

AEK Athens[edit]

On 14 September 2020, AEK Athens signed the 22-year-old international by offering Beitar Jerusalem €2.6 million to acquire 60% of García's rights, plus bonuses.[20][21] On 27 September 2020, he scored the opening goal of the 3–0 win of AEK Athens against Lamia on his league debut.[22]

On 13 December 2020, García scored with a direct corner kick in a 4–3 away win against Apollon Smyrnis.[23] On 14 January 2021, García scored with a direct free-kick to give his team a 1–0 away win against Aris Thessaloniki.[24] On 20 January 2021, he came in off the bench and sealed a 2–0 home win against Apollon Smyrnis for the first leg of the Greek Cup round of 16.[25]

On 28 February 2021, he scored in a 1–1 away draw against Panathinaikos.[26]

International career[edit]

García has represented Trinidad and Tobago on various levels of international competition, having been capped for the under-17,[27] under-20,[28] and the senior team.[29]

Youth teams[edit]

He made his international debut for the under-17 team after replacing Brent Sam in the second half of their final match to help the Soca Warriors earn qualification for the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship.[27] During the continental tournament, he made two consecutive starts in a loss to Canada and in a 2–0 win against Costa Rica to advance to the knockout round.[30][31] However, following a 4–2 loss to hosts Panama, the Soca Warriors fell one win short of qualifying for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup.[32]

In September 2014, García represented the under-20 team in central midfield en route to winning the 2014 Caribbean Under-20 Championship and qualifying for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship.[28][33][34] Although he made four appearances during the CONCACAF Championship and impressed several European scouts, the Soca Warriors finished a disappointing fourth in their group with just one win and failed to qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Senior team[edit]

García made his full international debut for the national team on 25 March 2016 against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines during qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[29] García marked his national team debut with a pair of goals in the second half to lead the Soca Warriors to a 3–2 win.[35][36] Garcia's goals made him Trinidad and Tobago's youngest ever scorer in a FIFA World Cup qualification match at 18 years and 127 days old.[37] Two months later, he made an additional two appearances for the Soca Warriors in losses against Peru and Uruguay.

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 2 June 2022[2][38]
Club Season League Cup Continental[a] Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
AZ 2015–16 Eredivisie 8 1 1 0 9 1
2016–17 18 1 2 0 8 1 28 2
2017–18 4 0 2 1 6 1
Total 30 2 5 1 8 1 43 4
Excelsior (Ioan) 2017–18 Eredivisie 15 1 15 1
Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2018–19 Israeli Premier League 20 3 2 0 22 3
Beitar Jerusalem 2019–20 Israeli Premier League 30 5 3 1 33 6
AEK Athens 2020–21 Super League Greece 26 5 5 1 4 0 35 6
2021–22 33 7 4 1 2 0 39 8
Total 59 12 9 2 6 0 74 14
Career total 154 23 19 4 14 1 0 0 187 28
  1. ^ Includes appearances in the CONCACAF Champions League and UEFA Europa League

International[edit]

As of match played 10 June 2022[39][40]
National team Year Friendly Competitive Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Trinidad and Tobago
2016 2 0 8 2 10 2
2017 3 0 2 0 5 0
2018 2 0 0 0 2 0
2019 4 0 6 0 10 0
2020 0 0 0 0 0 0
2021 0 0 4 1 4 1
2022 2 4 3 1 5 5
Total 13 4 23 4 36 8
Scores and results list Trinidad and Tobago's goal tally first.
List of international goals scored by Levi García
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1
25 March 2016 Arnos Vale Stadium, Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
1
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
2–1
3–2
2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
2
3–2
3
25 March 2021 Estadio Panamericano, San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic
28
 Guyana
1–0
3–0
2022 FIFA World Cup qualification
4
25 March 2022 Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
32
 Barbados
1–0
9–0
Friendly
5
3–0
6
4–0
7
29 March 2022 Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
33
 Guyana
1–1
1–1
Friendly
8
10 June 2022 Arnos Vale Stadium, Arnos Vale, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
36
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
2–0
2–0
2022–23 CONCACAF Nations League B

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Beitar Jerusalem

International[edit]

Trinidad and Tobago U20

Individual[edit]

Records[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "40-Player National Team Roster: 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup: Trinidad and Tobago" (PDF). CONCACAF. p. 15. Retrieved 21 May 2019 – via Bernews.
  2. ^ a b c Eredivisie Staff (6 February 2016). "Levi Garcia". Eredivisie.nl. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Lasana Liburd (20 February 2015). "Going Dutch: AZ unveils T&T starlet Levi Garcia". Wired868.com. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  4. ^ Michelle Cox (1 November 2015). "The A to Z on AZ and T&T rising star Levi Garcia". Wired868.com. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  5. ^ Shaun Fuentes (TTFA) (18 September 2014). "Garcia has big football dreams". Soca Warriors Online. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  6. ^ Randy Bando (21 February 2015). "Dutch club AZ unveils Trinidadian teenager Levi Garcia". TTProLeague.com. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  7. ^ "T&TEC pulls plug on cricket, football teams". Trinidad Guardian. 13 May 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  8. ^ Vinode Mancham (1 April 2016). "Caledonia faces Joe Public as FA last-16 round begins". Trinidad Guardian. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  9. ^ Central FC Media Release (5 May 2014). "Central F.C. already planning for next season". Soca Warriors Online. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  10. ^ Lasana Liburd (3 October 2014). "Five T&T U-20s set for Europe; but Central braces for Levi tug-of-war". Wired868.com. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  11. ^ Staff Writer (21 February 2015). "Garcia, 17, to play in Eredivisie". T&T Newsday. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  12. ^ Shaun Fuentes (13 August 2015). "Garcia draws attention from Van Basten". T&T Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  13. ^ Staff Writer (25 January 2016). "Levi Garcia makes Dutch Eredevisie debut". T&T Newsday. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  14. ^ Shaun Fuentes (28 January 2016). "Levi: Debut was dream come true". T&T Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  15. ^ a b Lasana Liburd (24 January 2016). "Levi debuts for AZ; starlet becomes T&T's youngest professional in Europe". Wired868.com. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  16. ^ Staff Writer (31 January 2016). "Garcia scores first goal in Europe". T&T Newsday. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  17. ^ a b Lasana Liburd (30 January 2016). "Levi is T&T's youngest scorer in Europe; teenaged winger strikes against NEC". Wired868.com. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  18. ^ Liburd, Lasana (17 May 2018). "Kiryat kid: Levi Garcia swaps Dutch Eredivisie for Israeli Premier League". Wired868. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  19. ^ Sa'ar, Ofir (30 May 2019). "בית"ר ירושלים הודיעה על החתמת לוי גרסיה לשלוש שנים". Walla (in Hebrew). Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  20. ^ "Levi Garcia joins AEK FC!" (Press release). AEK Athens. 16 September 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  21. ^ "ΑΕΚ: Γκαρσία και επίσημα!". www.gazzetta.gr (in Greek). 16 September 2020. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  22. ^ "ΑΕΚ - Λαμία 3-0: Με λάμψη Μαχαίρα το "2 στα 2" στο πρωτάθλημα". www.sport24.gr. 27 September 2020.
  23. ^ "Απόλλων - ΑΕΚ 3-4: Νίκη με τεσσάρα και VAR". www.sport24.gr. 13 December 2020.
  24. ^ "Άρης - ΑΕΚ 0-1: Με το αριστερό του Γκαρσία και τον τρόπο του Χιμένεθ". www.sport24.gr. 14 January 2021.
  25. ^ "ΑΕΚ - Απόλλων 2-0: "Πέταξε" προς τα προημιτελικά". www.sport24.gr. 5 July 2020.
  26. ^ "Παναθηναϊκός - ΑΕΚ 1-1: Ισοπαλία σαν ήττα και για τους δύο". www.sport24.gr. 5 July 2020.
  27. ^ a b "T&T U-17 slip pass Guyana to finish group unbeaten". Inshan Mohammed (Soca Warriors Online). 29 July 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  28. ^ a b "U-20s sniff CFU final after 4-0 win over Curacao". Inshan Mohammed (Soca Warriors Online). 15 September 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  29. ^ a b "Player Profile – Levi Garcia". Inshan Mohammad (Soca Warriors Online). 24 March 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  30. ^ "Canada eases past Trinidad in U-17 opener". CONCACAF.com. Soca Warriors Online. 6 April 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  31. ^ Michael Lewis (CONCACAF) (9 April 2013). "Trinidad defeats Costa Rica 2-0 at Under 17's". Soca Warriors Online. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  32. ^ CONCACAF.com (14 April 2013). "Panama beat T&T to secure U-17 WC ticket". Soca Warriors Online. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  33. ^ Inshan Mohammed (17 September 2014). "Trimmingham trims Cuba lead as T&T surge into finals unbeaten after 1-1 tie". Soca Warriors Online. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  34. ^ Inshan Mohammed (20 September 2014). "Corbin tricks Haiti as T&T lifts U-20 crown". Soca Warriors Online. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  35. ^ Shaun Fuentes (TTFA) (26 March 2016). "Garcia's double spurs on 'Warriors'". Soca Warriors Online. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  36. ^ Shaun Fuentes (TTFA) (27 March 2016). "Levi dedicates goals to his Parents". Soca Warriors Online. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  37. ^ a b "Trinidad's lonely tulip in full bloom". FIFA.com. 28 March 2016. Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  38. ^ "Levi García » Club matches". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  39. ^ "Trinidad and Tobago – Record International Players". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  40. ^ "Garcia, Levi". National Football Teams. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  41. ^ "U-20s sniff CFU final after 4-0 win over Curacao".
  42. ^ "Corbin propels Trinidad to CFU U-20 title". 11 February 2021.
  43. ^ "Οι βραβεύσεις της «40ης Γιορτής του Ποδοσφαιριστή» (vids)". ΠΣΑΠΠ | ΠΑΝΕΛΛΗΝΙΟΣ ΣΥΝΔΕΣΜΟΣ ΑΜΕΙΒΟΜΕΝΩΝ ΠΟΔΟΣΦΑΙΡΙΣΤΩΝ ΠΟΔΟΣΦΑΙΡΙΣΤΡΙΩΝ (in Greek). 16 December 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2022.

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