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.