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AZ Alkmaar’s Levi Garcia is challenged for the ball during a Dutch Eredivisie match against Feyenoord Rotterdam at AFAS Stadion, Alkmaar, Netherlands on Sunday, January 24th 2016

STEPHEN HART, coach of the Trinidad and Tobago football team, is keeping tabs on midfielder Levi Garcia, as the 18-year-old embarks on a professional career in the Dutch Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar.

Garcia has begun his stint at AZ Alkmaar with a goal in only his second game on Saturday, against NEC Breda. In the process, he became, at 18 years and 71 days, the second youngest player from the club to score in the Eredivisie, behind Michel Vonk (18 years and 40 days) in 1986. 

In a recent interview Hart, when asked if Garcia will be part of his plans for the near future and if his performances will be monitored by the technical staff (including assistant coaches Hutson Charles and Derek King), replied, “we have seen all Levi’s games.” Hart added, “as a matter of fact we try and see all games our players are involved in.” Garcia is yet to play for the national men’s team, but he was a member of the national Under-20 team who failed in their bid to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. 

Another midfielder who may be instrumental in Hart’s plans is Kevin Molino. The Orlando City playmaker is on the mend after sustaining a severe right knee injury last May. 

Hart said, “I keep in touch with Kevin, he is recovering fine and working very hard. 

“However I doubt he will be ready for March, having said that he may begin spot playing as early as March.” The men’s team will be involved in a pair of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in March, against St Vincent/Grenadines. On March 25, both teams will clash in St Vincent and again, four days later, in Trinidad and Tobago. 

However, they will not be participating in the Copa America tournament in the United States, scheduled for June, after a 1-0 defeat to Haiti in the qualifying play-off in Panama City, Panama on January 8. 

As far as any practice games or training camps are concerned, between now and the St Vincent contests, Hart pointed out, “there are no FIFA international dates between now and March, which means we cannot get together officially and clubs are not obliged to release players. However, we will look into what is possible before March 25.”

About the relationship between the technical staff and TT Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams, Hart revealed, “we have all met with the president and he has assured us he will do everything in his power to make our experiences a positive one. 

“I look forward to working closely with him and his team in our (forthcoming) games,” Hart ended.