Wuilker Faríñez Aray (born 15 February 1998) is a Venezuelan professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Venezuelan club Caracas FC and the Venezuela national team.
Born in Caracas, Faríñez joined Caracas FC's youth setup in 2011. On 12 June 2013 he signed a three-year professional deal with the club, being promoted to the main squad. After Alain Baroja left Caracas FC, Faríñez became the first-choice goalkeeper of the club for the 2015 Torneo Adecuación despite being only 17 years old at the time. On 30 August he stablished a new record at the club after playing 689 minutes without conceding a goal.
After great performances during the tournament he was chosen again as first-choice for 2016 Venezuelan Primera División season. In February 2016 he started for Caracas FC in a 2016 Copa Libertadores first stage match against Huracán, and had a brilliant performance only allowing one goal and keeping his team with options to pass to the second stage. Despite his efforts Caracas was eliminated from the competition after a last-minute goal of Huracán in the second leg match.
On December 14 Fariñez was included in the AUFP Venezuela´s Team of the Season, as the 2016 Venezuelan Primera División season´s best goalkeeper.
Faríñez has represented Venezuela at all youth levels, from the under-15 side to the under-20 side. He started the 2013 South American Under-15 Football Championship as the first-choice goalkeeper in the opening match against Colombia and conceded four goals on a 2-4 defeat for Venezuela. Faríñez was an un-used substitute on the next game against Brazil. He returned to the starting line-up for the game against Uruguay in which he conceded four goals again on the third defeat in a row for the Venezuelan team. He ended the tournament playing two games of the possible four and conceding eight goals.
Faríñez was the first-choice goalkeeper of the under-17 side for the 2015 South American Under-17 Football Championship, having a great performance against Brazil saving the team in a lot of occasions and securing a 3-2 come-back victory. He played four games conceding eight goals that proved crucial as Venezuela was eliminated in the group stage on goal difference.
Faríñez started in the opening match of the 2017 South American Youth Football Championship for the under-20 side playing against Uruguay, saving a penalty and keeping a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw. Faríñez started all nine games for Venezuela conceding only six goals, being the less scored goalkeeper of the tournament as they qualified to the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Despite his young age, Farínez was called up by the Venezuela national football team's coach Noel Sanvicente to play in the 2015 Copa América, being recognized for his great talent by the press and signaled as the future goalkeeper of the national team and becoming the youngest player of that tournament. Despite being called for the national team continuously he never made his debut under Sanvicente's era.
He earned his first cap on 20 May 2016 in an unofficial game against Galicia, also being the first game of the team under the lead of new coach Rafael Dudamel, Farínez allowed one goal and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. He made his official debut for the national team on 24 May 2016 when Venezuela faced Panama, he didn't allow goals and became the youngest player in the national team's history to keep a clean sheet. He made the final list for the Copa América Centenario.
He played his first official match for the senior team in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification game against Peru on 23 March 2017, becoming the youngest goalkeeper to play for Venezuela in a World Cup qualification. The game ended in a 2-2 draw with Faríñez delivering a stellar performance. After the match, coach and former national team goalie Rafael Dudamel, said ¨Venezuela has a goalkeeper for the next 20 years¨, with the press acknowledging that Faríñez ¨shined¨. On his second World Cup qualification game against Chile Faríñez again had a great performance despite allowing 3 goals, he saved the team in several oportunities and stopped a penalty kick from Alexis Sanchez, becoming the youngest goalkeeper to do so for the national team.
|Year||Friendlies||World Cup||Copa América||Total|
- Longest consecutive run without conceding a goal at Caracas (689 minutes from 2015).
- Youngest Goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet for Venezuela (at age 18 and 3 months in 2016).
- Longest consecutive run without conceding a goal for Venezuela under-20 (300 minutes from 2017).
- Greatest number of clean sheets kept for Venezuela under-20 in a South American Youth Football Championship (4 clean sheets from 2017).
- Youngest goalkeeper to play for Venezuela in a FIFA World Cup qualification game (19 years and 36 days from 2017).
- Youngest goalkeeper to stop a penalty for Venezuela (19 years and 41 days from 2017).
- Best Venezuelan Primera División Goalkeeper: 2016