Thu, Mar

Garcia’s Big Dreams.

Levi Garcia has always had big dreams. He once dreamt about playing for this country, he dreamt about playing alongside Kenwyne Jones one day and he dreamt about moving out of Santa Flora, his hometown in South, Trinidad.

To think that this 18-year-old once played on several of the community and school grounds in the country, some of those grounds which have only been boosted with flood lights in the past five years or so, but struggles to boast of a proper pitch, unkept change rooms if any at all, no outfitted space for proper recovery or rehab, for the most, a shop down the road that may sell a soft drink, biscuits, beers or a Gatorade if you’re lucky.

He is a past player with Shiva Boys Hindu College and underwent some training to keep sharp with the Anthony Sherwood Football Academy in Gulf View prior to heading back to Holland before his making his debut there.

And now, this same teenager is competing against and brushing shoulders with some of the biggest names in Dutch football in a country which produced the likes of Ruud Gullit, Marco Van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Arjen Robben and Leo Beenhakker. In fact, Van Basten, a legend, spotted Garcia’s talent during his early trial period over there and acted almost immediately.

It just goes to show, just like Garcia says, that nothing can beat talent, belief, desire to succeed and strong ambition. Put persistence in there as well.

“I can’t believe it sometimes, you know,” Garcia said after his first training session with the Senior Team last week at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

He stepped off the plane following a long flight the previous night and early next morning he was in training with the national team on home soil.

“It’s an honour and a dream come true to play with Kenwyne and the national team. Once you believe, you can achieve,” he said.

Garcia knows all too well about the struggles to perform for little or nothing.

“It’s a struggle. Sometimes there is nothing much to play for but if you want to make it bigger, it is something you have to go through. Sometimes some people have to fight longer than others. I feel fortunate because at a young age I am getting to live my dream,” Garcia said.

“It’s not that hard now that I am out there because I just continue working hard and I enjoy every moment. The only hard thing is maybe the food but the weather isn’t that bad anymore because I am getting accustomed.

“But for the boys like me who come from places like I did, you have to be willing to push yourself more. There was a time when I felt like giving up because that is very easy to happen. But you have to stick it out and grab the opportunity when it comes. You have to say, I want this and even If I don’t get it, I will keep going and going until it happens,” Garcia said.

He hopes to make his international debut today when T&T takes on St Vincent/Grenadines in a 2018 World Cup qualifier at Arnos Vale. But even if he doesn’t, he’s prepared to keep going until it happens. In the meantime, he hopes his story can inspire others on a similar journey.