TRINIDAD and Tobago and AEK Athens winger Levi Garcia is pleading with the public to “stop discouraging young players.” He said the negative comments help neither the national teams nor the athletes.
Garcia, 23, signed for the Greek club in September and has since made four appearances.
He is also nearing full recovery after suffering a hamstring injury in October.
His brothers Nathaniel and Judah were also recently signed by Indian club Neroca FC.
Speaking with Newsday on Saturday morning, he said very often, many people “don’t have anything good to say” when it comes to young players seizing international opportunities.
He said people often discourage players who go to non-European countries to pursue a professional football career.
“I just want to send a message to young players: Wherever it (the opportunity) comes, go forth and take it. Because the way the football world is made up at the moment, you could go to the strangest places and have good seasons and top clubs and top scouts can see you.
“It’s just a start and an opportunity for a Trini to go there and represent because no scout recently has come from top European clubs to scout Trinis. So what do you want a player to do? Sit down and wait?”
He said though many make such discouraging statements, there are also others who think in a similar manner but do not say anything for fear of backlash.
“The negative comments towards young players doesn’t really help the national team and a youth in any way. Just be happy for somebody, it’s as simple as that.”
Garcia has 27 international caps for TT and was a former national Under-17 and Under-20 representative.