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Author Topic: Akeem Garcia Thread  (Read 6222 times)

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Offline Tallman

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Akeem Garcia on signing 2-year Wanderers extension: ‘I’ve grown with this league’
By Dylan Lawrence (hfxwanderersfc.canpl.ca)


There’s a reason Akeem Garcia has coined the nickname Akeem ‘The Dream’ Garcia.

The Trinidadian forward has had an incredible spell for the HFX Wanderers in their first two years, leading the club in goals scored (13) and is currently tied for most goals in the Canadian Premier League’s short history (13).

Halifax fans will be excited to hear that Garcia has committed to the Wanderers for another two years with a club option for the 2023 season.

Akeem got on the phone with HFX Wanderers Brand Manager Dylan Lawrence to chat about his playing career, his experience in Halifax thus far and to share a few stories.

Dylan Lawrence: Congrats on your contract, Akeem. Can you tell me a bit more about your journey in professional football?

AG: Where it all started was at my school in secondary, I started gaining exposure and I realized I really want to be a professional soccer player, then at 17, I signed my first professional contract with W Connection. I must say, they helped me a lot – that’s when the Trinidad league was really (popular). W Connection helped me a lot with getting experience; we played in Caribbean championships and CONCACAF. After that, I had an ACL injury and I had to stop playing for [almost] two years. So after I came back [from the injury] I joined North East Stars and that’s where I met Derek King. We won the league that year, then (Derek King) left to join Santa Rosa so I also said ‘you know what, I’m going to play with Santa Rosa’, then after that I signed with Halifax.

What was it about Derek King that made you switch clubs?

AG: We worked together at the national under 20 team. He and coach Stephen Hart gave me my first team national debut. His style of play, his coaching, it just suits me as a player. What he wants from his forwards and wingers, that’s the type of player I am, I always moved with him. He’s also just a really good person who attracts a lot of good players and they work hard for him. It was a no brainer to go to a club where he was coaching.

In following Derek King to the Canadian Premier League, was there anything that scared you about joining a league in its first year of existence?

AG: Yeah because we didn’t know what to expect – I didn’t know what to expect. I’m from the Caribbean and to get an opportunity to play abroad (doesn’t) come too often so taking the opportunity was really a no-brainer. When I went (to Halifax) of course it was scary. We didn’t know what to expect, we didn’t know the league and the players. We didn’t have any friends in Canada either. But it turned out well once games started playing.

In the 2019 season you got called up to play for the Trinidad national team. Can you tell me about that experience?

AG: Yeah, it’s always a dream to play for your country. Someone once told me ‘if you don’t want to play for your country, why are you playing?’ Playing for your country comes with a certain level of responsibility so I was ready to take that. At a very young age, I’ve represented my country at the under 17 and under 20 level. Under 23 was where I got my ACL injury (actually). For me, playing for my country was a real joy and I was happy for the club as well; getting that recognition. So it was a really positive and great feeling for me and in my career so far.

At this point, you’ve accomplished quite a bit in your career so far and I’m happy to see you’ve committed to Halifax for another two to three years, what’s the next goal for you in terms of your football career?

AG: For me, I take it one season at a time. Football is a game and you never know where you’re going to end up. I take it one step at a time; obviously, I know the place I want to be in but I take it one season at a time and hope for the best. If scoring is what I need to do (for my team) then I’ll do that and help the team in any way.

So now that you’ve had a taste of living abroad, how has that experience helped you learn more about yourself and what else you want out of life?

AG: Of course, it taught me great responsibility. I’m from a family where they do everything for me. It was new to have a roommate abroad and it just matured me in a way I’ve never seen myself before. When I came (to Halifax) I couldn’t cook; I had to learn to cook and do things on my own. It was a big change for me but I’m good now.

I can empathize with that. How much does your lifestyle in Halifax differ from when you’re back home?

AG: In the Caribbean it’s different, you never get time to do anything – you know, there’s always someone around. That’s our culture, you always have someone around, always have someone to talk to and laugh with and it’s really nice for me when I come home everyone wants to see me and they’re all happy that I’m home. So you know, they’re always around me. It’s not like Canada how you live there and there’s some peace and quiet, but in Trinidad, it’s just noisy.

A lot of your teammates say they have a close relationship with you. Could you talk a bit about relationships and why this is important for you?

AG: For me it’s all about creating a brotherhood. We’re brothers on and off the field and I try to show everyone that off the field if you need anything or stuff like that, we make it as comfortable as possible with no drama. I reach out and see how they are doing and to win the title, it’s not only on the field, you have to fight for each other off the field as well.

When it comes to the community in Halifax it feels like the fans have a good relationship with the players. I know you even gave your boots to a young player. Do you have any fans in particular that keep in touch with you?

AG: The fans are really cool. There’s one fan that always messages me and says I’m his favourite player and wishes me good luck before every game. For me that’s what it’s all about, as I said where Rampy and I are from, we wish when we were younger that a player would give us a pair of boots – of course I was lucky enough to have a family that would buy whatever I need. But you always want to (look up to someone) who motivates you, so for me I will always do stuff like that.

You had the chance to live with Alex Marshall during the Island Games. We saw your connection on the pitch but how was your relationship off the field?

AG: It was a really smooth relationship. We’re both from the Caribbean so similar things happen and we could always have a laugh and talk. Everyone likes banter (in the Caribbean) so it was easy to communicate with him. He came in late so I had to try and make him feel at home because I knew we had a tournament. We have a really good friendship and that’s just how we were.

Are there any fun stories you can tell us about your time together?

AG: I scared him with a mask for Halloween once. There’s a lot of stories actually, but basically, we just had a (relationship) where – if I go out I would offer to bring him back something, or if he went out he would do the same. He would show me Jamaican food and although we share a similar culture, we’d learn about each other’s countries as well.

Could you tell me a bit more about how you scared him?

AG: He was playing a video game – it was, for both of us, our first Halloween – so I bought a mask in the mall and I had it on. I stood by the door and was there for five minutes straight. When he turned and he noticed he just jumped! I have a picture I can share with you…

That’s awesome! Going into these next couple of years with the Wanderers, what can we expect from Akeem Garcia?

AG: I’ve grown with this league and I’ve gained more experience. With the right team, I think this year we can reach the finals (again). From me I think you can expect the same thing; I’m hungry to score more, it’s not done and I’m not done, there’s still more to do. This isn’t a stopping point for me so I want to keep going and help my team in any way and just go for it every day. Hopefully, get a Golden Boot again next year; there are still more goals to come and I will try to be as consistent as I can.  
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Offline Tallman

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CanPL.ca’s Top 23 Under 23 in the CPL: Akeem Garcia tops the list at No. 1
« Reply #31 on: December 18, 2020, 01:43:51 PM »
CanPL.ca’s Top 23 Under 23 in the CPL: Akeem Garcia tops the list at No. 1
By John Molinaro (canpl.ca)


A Golden Boot, an appearance in the CPL Finals, and No. 1 in CanPL.ca’s Top 23 Under 23 list. It’s been quite the year for Akeem Garcia.

The Trinidadian has 13 goals over his two CPL seasons with the Wanderers, putting him in a tie with former Forge FC star Tristan Borges and FC Edmonton’s Easton Ongaro as the league’s all-time top scorer, underlining his status of one the CPL’s true danger men in front of goal.

Garcia’s six-goal tally at The Island Games not only saw him secure the Golden Boot, but it also helped the Wanderers reach their first CPL Finals – an amazing turnaround for a club that finished last place in 2019. With key goals in both the first and second rounds against eventual champions Forge, Garcia was deservedly a nominee for the league’s Player of the Year award.

Although he enjoyed a breakout 2020 campaign, Garcia’s offensive explosiveness was hardly a surprise after he bagged seven goals in 24 appearances in 2019. A change in tactics from Wanderers coach Stephen Hart turned him into the team’s main scoring threat this season.

“This year coach allowed me to focus on one position; he only played me forward this year and not on the wings,” Garcia told CanPL.ca. “That gave me a lot of confidence knowing my role, and what I can do best to help the team.”

Having turned 24 only last month, Garcia won’t be eligible for next year’s Top 23 Under 23 list. But you still get the sense that he is poised to continue to terrorize opposing defenders with his quickness, deft touch and ruthlessness inside the penalty area for years to come.
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.

Offline Tallman

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2021, 01:28:58 PM »
WATCH: A look back at all the goals Akeem Garcia scored at the Canadian Premier League's 2020 Island Games.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/kk1PJnr629M" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/kk1PJnr629M</a>
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Offline injunchile

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2021, 07:29:44 AM »
Tallman- I hope he gets a call for T&T in June.



Offline palos

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #34 on: April 01, 2021, 02:42:50 PM »
Visa issues I think for both him and Rampersad.  Hopefully soon sorted out
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Offline Flex

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #35 on: July 25, 2021, 11:16:51 AM »
T&T's Garcia yet to open league account
... as Wanderers slip to last in CPL
By Nigel Simon (T&T Guardian).


T&T’s Akeem Garcia search for his first goal of the 2021 Canadian Premier League (CPL) continued after his HFX Wanderers struggled again in a 1-0 loss to FC Edmonton at IG Field, Winnipeg, Manitoba on Wednesday.

In a match between two clubs searching to climb out of the basement of the table, it was Easton Ongaro who ensured his side would take all three points with an 81st-minute strike off an assist from Fraser Aird.

Wanderers assistant coach Mesut Mert and Halifax swapped out two players from the starting XI that fell 2-1 to Cavalry on Saturday with Samuel Salter earning a start with his first professional goal against the Cavs as he came into the lineup for Pierre Lamothe, while Joao Morelli was preferred over out-of-form Garcia in the Wanderers attack to start with fellow T&T international Andre Rampersad, 26, captaining the team from midfield.

It was the Eddies that got off on the front foot as they opened the first 15 minutes of the contest with plenty of energy and forced the Wanderers into several sloppy turnovers in the early goings.

Halifax seemed to adjust to Edmonton’s pressing efforts as they pushed their fullbacks higher up the flanks to give their centre-backs more breathing room to build —a tweak that saw the momentum of the match shift their way.

Despite HFX looking the stronger of the two teams at the break, it was Ongaro who would get the best look at goal in the opening 45′ but the Eddies talisman would volley wide on his weaker right foot following a great cross from Shamit Shome in the 29th minute.

Stefan Karajovanovic would find himself in a dangerous position to open the Wanderers scoring account in the 53rd minute with a volleyed effort at the back post — once which Connor James ultimately caught comfortably.

After failing to register a shot on target in the first half, Edmonton’s hopes of finding the back of the net worsened when Tobias Warschewski was forced off through injury just ten minutes after halftime.

With little prospects of offence at either end of the pitch, Alan Koch turned to his bench and got a spark from Aird, who’d scored twice already for Edmonton this season.

After smashing a free-kick past Christian Oxner only to be denied by the crossbar with roughly 15 minutes remaining, Aird would take full advantage of some careless Halifax defending before squaring it to Ongaro for a tap in and the game’s opening goal in the 81st minute.

Mert would turn to 24-year-old Chaguanas-born Garcia off the bench with six minutes left in the match for Jamaican Alex Marshall, hoping last year’s leading scorer with six goals in ten matches could be an impact sub for Halifax.

However, Garcia who led the team to the league final last year was kept quiet over the final period as the Eddies stood firm at the back to secure an all-important victory and move to eight points from seven matches in the fifth spot, three clear of Wanderers slipped to the bottom of the standings with five points, and who were still without head coach T&T’s Stephen Hart who is on medical leave from the club since early July.

Also on Wednesday night, T&T Ryan Telfer, just back from Concacaf Gold Cup duties with the national team watched on as Atletico Ottawa stayed sixth with seven points, one ahead of York United after letting a 2-0 lead slip in a 2-4 loss to Pacific.

At the top of the table is Valour FC, the club of T&T defender, Canada-born Federico Pena with 18 points from seven matches, four more than Pacific FC who have played a match more while Forge is third with 12, followed Calvary with 11.

Over the border in the USA, national midfielder Kevin Molino, also coming off of Gold Cup duties made a 65th-minute second-half introduction for defending US Major League Soccer champions Columbus Crew in a 0-0 draw with Nashville SC to stay sixth in the Eastern Conference with 21 points from 14 matches, nine behind leaders New England Revolution who trashed the injured Joevin Jones-less Inter Miami FC 5-0.

And in another match, former national Under-20 defender Luke Singh was not used off the bench by Toronto FC in their 1-1 draw against New York Red Bulls at BMO Field, Toronto.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

Offline Tallman

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #36 on: August 14, 2021, 04:32:18 PM »
WATCH: Akeem Garcia earns and scores a penalty during Halifax Wanderers FC's 2-1 loss to Atlético Ottawa. It's his first goal of 2021.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/r06ZMSGYtoA?start=55" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/r06ZMSGYtoA?start=55</a>
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Offline Tallman

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #37 on: October 03, 2021, 07:54:53 PM »
WATCH: Akeem Garcia slides in to score the opening goal in Halifax Wanderers FC's 2-2 draw with York United.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/VIBzHspVsWI?start=130" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/VIBzHspVsWI?start=130</a>
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Offline Tallman

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #38 on: April 30, 2022, 04:22:57 PM »
WATCH: Akeem Garcia dispatches a penalty to score his first goal of the season during HFX Wanderers FC's 3-1 win over FC Edmonton

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/PLpCqDoWmmM?start=228" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/PLpCqDoWmmM?start=228</a>
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Offline Tallman

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #39 on: May 11, 2022, 08:14:24 PM »
WATCH: HFX Wanderers' Akeem Garcia scores the opening goal with a well-placed penalty during a 2-0 win over Guelph United in the Preliminary Round of the 2022 Canadian Championship

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/2DqJjQ3OPyU?start=71" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/2DqJjQ3OPyU?start=71</a>
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Offline Tallman

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #40 on: May 16, 2022, 06:20:20 AM »
WATCH: Akeem Garcia drills home a loose ball after it rebounds off the crossbar during Halifax Wanderers FC's 2-2 draw with Cavalry FC.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/BqmZsgZ9cWU?start=79" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/BqmZsgZ9cWU?start=79</a>
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Offline Tallman

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #41 on: June 04, 2022, 09:51:20 PM »
WATCH: Akeem Garcia rolls his penalty into the bottom right corner to give HFX Wanderers a 1-0 win over York United.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/ZK-FYcVFDSw?start=205" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/ZK-FYcVFDSw?start=205</a>
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Offline Tallman

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #42 on: August 02, 2022, 12:40:41 PM »
WATCH: Halifax Wanderers FC's Akeem Garcia came on in the 74th minute and scored a penalty in the 86th minute during a 4-2 loss to York United

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/4aOzDzUf6xk?start=302" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/4aOzDzUf6xk?start=302</a>
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Offline Trini _2026

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2022, 02:15:17 PM »
Is akeem injured ?
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/sh8SeGmzai4" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/sh8SeGmzai4</a>

Offline Tallman

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #44 on: October 28, 2022, 12:11:21 PM »
‘Excited to share my experience’: Akeem Garcia taking a break from football to pursue coaching opportunity in Halifax
Halifax Wanderers Media


After four seasons with the Halifax Wanderers, Akeem Garcia wants to give back to the local soccer community.

Garcia is taking a break from professional soccer to pursue his coaching certifications and work for a local club based in HRM.

“This decision is very tough but something I put a lot of thought into,” Garcia said. “Words can’t explain how much I love soccer and how much soccer has done for me, but I’m not walking away from it, and I’ll still be in the game. I’m happy I can still be in soccer but play a different role.”

Garcia joined the Wanderers in January 2019 from Santa Rosa in Trinidad and Tobago. He scored the first goal in club history on May 4 of that year against Forge FC. With 21 goals in 77 matches across all competitions, Garcia departs the Wanderers as the all-time leading scorer in club history and is second all-time in appearances.

“Akeem’s place in the history of the Wanderers is forever secure, and I will never forget the joy he brought us all when he scored the first-ever goal at the Wanderers Grounds,” Wanderers Founder and President Derek Martin said. “I am so happy he has chosen to stay in Halifax and will continue to inspire the next generation.”

“It was an opportunity of a lifetime, and I’m grateful for the Wanderers selecting me,” Garcia said. “Everything is amazing, the city and the atmosphere with the fans, I’ve been here four years now, so it’s my home away from home.”

Scoring that first goal in club history sticks out among Garcia’s fondest memories in a Wanderers jersey, alongside winning the 2020 CPL Golden Boot Award. Garcia scored six goals in nine appearances during The Island Games as the Wanderers advanced to the league final.

“The first game in Halifax definitely went down as one of my greatest footballing moments – my main focus that day was just trying to win our first home game, so I’m pretty honoured, honestly, to have scored the first goal,” Garcia said.

“The way we came together in PEI and stuck together with nobody giving up and then getting to the finals. I was fortunate to get the Golden Boot, but it was about that team being a family.”

While Garcia is not closing the door on returning to professional football, he will take some time to continue his coaching education and begin a new role at a local soccer club in Nova Scotia.

The Trinidad and Tobago international is hoping to be among many future Wanderers players that come from around the world, embrace the Halifax soccer community, and look to share their experience with the next generation of players.

“I’ve been given a couple of chances to run sessions and come in to work with the youth. I enjoyed it; to see them out there reminds me of when I was that age,” Garcia said. “Now, with everything in Canada, it’s possible for them to reach that goal (of professional football); I want to be able to help them reach that goal with the experience I have.”

And it’s an exciting opportunity for the soccer community in Halifax to have an international soccer player looking to stay in the city and inspire the next wave of players.

“As a club, we have consistently looked for ways to connect our players with the local community, including coaching roles at clubs in our area. We’re happy to see Akeem make this next step in his personal journey with football and the lessons each young player will learn under his guidance,” Wanderers sporting director Matt Fegan said.

“Akeem has written his name into the history of the Wanderers as not only one of our original squad members but with the important goals he scored in his four seasons with us.”

Garcia has already begun taking his coaching courses in Nova Scotia and intends to continue his footballing education alongside his new role in coaching.

“It’s incredible to have this new opportunity, I’m super fortunate, and the club is happy to have me on board. I’m really excited to start and share the experiences with the kids. It still surprises me how much the kids look up to us,” Garcia said.

And as he gets set to start his new journey in Halifax, Garcia is grateful for how he found himself in Canada with a chance to be a part of the Wanderers and make Nova Scotia his new home.

“I’m super grateful for the club and just want to give a huge thanks to everyone at the Wanderers, the staff, the coaches and a special shoutout to Derek King,” Garcia said.

King, a well-respected coach in Trinidad and Tobago, was the Wanderers’ assistant coach in the 2019 season. King, Garcia and Wanderers captain Andre Rampersad were all part of a Santa Rosa side that won the 2018 T&T Super League championship.

“He stuck with me through injuries back in Trinidad and is one of the reasons I’m here, he brought me here, so I want to give a huge thanks to him for playing a big part in my career.”

While Garcia says a possible return to professional football may still happen down the road, for now, he is putting all of his focus into helping future players follow in his footsteps and maybe one day take the pitch at the Wanderers Grounds.

“I’m going to give it 100% as if I was playing,” Garcia said. “I get an awesome feeling helping the kids, and that’s something I want to continue. I want to share my experiences with them.”
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.

Offline Tallman

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #45 on: October 29, 2022, 11:21:13 AM »
Forever the first goal scorer in Halifax Wanderers' history, Akeem Garcia departs the club as the all-time leading scorer.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/LvkrAIjRSzA" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/LvkrAIjRSzA</a>
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Offline Deeks

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #46 on: October 30, 2022, 01:18:54 PM »
Good Luck on Your coaching endeavour. Blessings!!!!

Offline Fyzoman

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Re: Akeem Garcia Thread
« Reply #47 on: October 30, 2022, 02:47:15 PM »
Yo, doh play with this age of technology nah!
I couldn't stop scratching meh head with this one!
25 years old?
Whole five six months in the off-season to get coaching license etc.?
Inspiring the next generation in Canada and not TnT?

I truly respect ANY man's decision to do whatever they feel with their life and career...however, like the  popular hilarious FB observation, "something eh adding up"... and sure enough it doesn't :)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2022, 02:51:49 PM by Fyzoman »
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