The year was 2017 and following the release of FourFourTwo’s ‘100 Best Teenagers in the World’, eyebrows were raised as a relatively unknown prospect was named amongst the top 40.
Listed above the highly touted forward Justin Kluivert and then Fulham star Ryan Sessegnon lay a young man called Levi Garcia, who was plying his trade at AZ Alkmaar at the time.
With Kluivert moving to the riches of Rome from Ajax just one year later, and Sessegnon swapping one part of London for another with a move to Spurs in the Summer of 2019, what has become of the young lad from Trinidad and Tobago?
In what has been a journey-man past three years for the now 22-year-old, he currently finds himself at Israeli Premier League club Beitar Jerusalem FC.
Having started in Holland, he began to create headlines during his meteoric rise at AZ Alkmaar, which was where Garcia signed his first professional contract at the age of 18.
A wonderkid who received heaps of praise from what seemed to be everyone he encountered during his early years, with former US soccer star Earnie Stewart stating:
“Garcia has great speed, a good understanding and a powerful shot in his left foot. We see in him mainly a promise for the future.”
But yet did AZ know that he would become such an important player so early-on, with Dutch football legend and then club assistant manager Marco van Basten becoming a keen admirer of the forward, as he became highly involved in his training during the 2015-16 pre-season.
The left-winger then soon became a record-breaker as he laced his boots for his professional debut against Feyenoord off the bench on January 24, 2016, becoming the youngest Trinidad and Tobago national to make an appearance in a European league, a record previously held by then-Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke.
Going from strength to strength, Garcia made an instant impact in the game after where he scored his first professional goal within one minute of coming on against NIC Nijmegen.
After helping the club achieve fourth place in the Eredivisie that year and accruing one goal and one assist in eight league games, he soon fell out of favour at the Dutch club and played mostly for their second team in Jong AZ before being sent out on loan to S.B.V Excelsior, with varied success.
2016 could then be considered a landmark year for the youngster – a year where his international career began to lift off.
Making his international senior team debut on March 25 during the country's 2018 World Cup qualification campaign, the pacy and tricky winger celebrated with a brace against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as he helped his country claim a 3-2 victory at the Arnos Vale Stadium – becoming the youngest player to play in a qualification match for his country.
However, despite not making an appearance for his country since 2017, the young, quick and full-of-flair forward ventured out to Israel for the very first time, signing with Ironi Kiryat Shmona for the 2018-19 season before making a move across the country to Beitar Jerusalem where he won his very first honour.
Garcia held the 2019-20 Toto cup after a 2-0 victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The future is still there for Garcia, who with his unworldly directness and quick feet could become one of the best players in Jerusalem top-tier history if he realises his potential.
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