May 18, 2021, 07:57:28 AM

Author Topic: Akeem Garcia Thread  (Read 2948 times)

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Offline Tallman

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Akeem Garcia on signing 2-year Wanderers extension: ĎIíve grown with this leagueí
By Dylan Lawrence (hfxwanderersfc.canpl.ca)


Thereís a reason Akeem Garcia has coined the nickname Akeem ĎThe Dreamí 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 Leagueís 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 Ė thatís 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 thatís where I met Derek King. We won the league that year, then (Derek King) left to join Santa Rosa so I also said Ďyou know what, Iím going to play with Santa Rosaí, 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, thatís the type of player I am, I always moved with him. Heís 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 didnít know what to expect Ė I didnít know what to expect. Iím from the Caribbean and to get an opportunity to play abroad (doesnít) come too often so taking the opportunity was really a no-brainer. When I went (to Halifax) of course it was scary. We didnít know what to expect, we didnít know the league and the players. We didnít 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, itís always a dream to play for your country. Someone once told me Ďif you donít want to play for your country, why are you playing?í Playing for your country comes with a certain level of responsibility so I was ready to take that. At a very young age, Iíve 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, youíve accomplished quite a bit in your career so far and Iím happy to see youíve committed to Halifax for another two to three years, whatís 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 youíre 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 Iíll do that and help the team in any way.

So now that youíve 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. Iím 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 Iíve never seen myself before. When I came (to Halifax) I couldnít cook; I had to learn to cook and do things on my own. It was a big change for me but Iím good now.

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

AG: In the Caribbean itís different, you never get time to do anything Ė you know, thereís always someone around. Thatís our culture, you always have someone around, always have someone to talk to and laugh with and itís really nice for me when I come home everyone wants to see me and theyíre all happy that Iím home. So you know, theyíre always around me. Itís not like Canada how you live there and thereís some peace and quiet, but in Trinidad, itís 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 itís all about creating a brotherhood. Weíre 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, itís 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. Thereís one fan that always messages me and says Iím his favourite player and wishes me good luck before every game. For me thatís what itís 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 Ė 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. Weíre 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 thatís 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. Thereís a lot of stories actually, but basically, we just had a (relationship) where Ė 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, weíd learn about each otherís countries as well.

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

AG: He was playing a video game Ė it was, for both of us, our first Halloween Ė 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 youÖ

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

AG: Iíve grown with this league and Iíve 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; Iím hungry to score more, itís not done and Iím not done, thereís still more to do. This isnít 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.  
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.

Offline Tallman

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CanPL.caís 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.caís 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.caís Top 23 Under 23 list. Itís 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 Edmontonís Easton Ongaro as the leagueís all-time top scorer, underlining his status of one the CPLís true danger men in front of goal.

Garciaís 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 Ė 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 leagueís Player of the Year award.

Although he enjoyed a breakout 2020 campaign, Garciaís 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 teamís main scoring threat this season.

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

Having turned 24 only last month, Garcia wonít be eligible for next yearís 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" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/kk1PJnr629M</a>
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.

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
Carlos "The Rolls Royce" Edwards